Sign Explosion!

I posted this in our family blog, but it seemed like a good idea to put it here too. I want to remember this day!

I’ve been signing to Jonas for many months, and after a few random signs (he had his own version of the sign for “milk” which he used for about three weeks, then abandoned) I’d started to wonder if he’d ever start signing back! Since he is language delayed, however, I tried to keep in mind that he would start processing the signs as soon as he could – he’s just going at his own pace.

Finally, it happened – my sweet little guy started to sign “milk” (which we use with the spoken word “nurse” or “nursies”, to mean breastfeeding) to me! It was clear and unmistakeable. My mom even got to see him do it when we visited her for my cousin’s wedding. She’d taken Jonas out for an early morning walk, and I got to enjoy a few more minutes of rest (pure bliss for a SAHM!). When they got back, I was still asleep, but woke up to the sounds of their happy playing. I came into the living room, and sat on the couch, where Jonas was sitting on Grandmama’s lap. He grinned over at me and signed “milk,” and reached out toward me. Melt my heart!

Within a few days of that, he started using the sign for “finished,” but mainly would use it to echo me. (Scene: a messy highchair. Me: Jonas, are you “finished?” All done? “Finished?” Jonas: vigorous nod, waggly eyebrows, sign “finished.”)

And then, out of the clear blue sky, Jonas picked up “more!” I must confess, after my enthusiasm for signing during the time we were taking our sign language class, I’d started to peter out a bit. I don’t sign every other word I speak these days (LOL) but with his interest in the first two signs, I thought I’d add in a few more of those survival words again and see what happened. Here, you can see it for yourself:

Then in the last two days, he’s added “eat” and “cup.” I’m so astonished, I can’t even tell you. 🙂 I’m going to slow down a bit – not add any new signs for a while, and reinforce the signs he does have. He is funny, today he came over to me with his favorite book, pushed it into my lap, and signed “eat?” I asked him, “Do you mean we should read the book? You want “more” book?” and he just nodded. So, I think he is still learning which sign to use in certain situations – but that’s not unlike babies who learn the word “Cat” and call every four-legged animal a “cat” – generalization of language is pretty normal at this age.

And, just to make me feel better, earlier today he was getting rather cranky. I asked him if he wanted nursies, and he frowned at me and signed “eat”. Given the generalization with the book, I thought he was mixing up his signs, so I did big elaborate signing & speech, “Do you want NURSIES? Or EAT?” He again signed “eat” and took off toward the kitchen! LOL – I guess sometimes he does know exactly what he means!

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MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

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