sign of the times

It’s been a long, long while since I posted anything on this blog. Why? Well, I’m not sure. Perhaps the severe winter weather we’ve been, well, weathering, temporarily froze my inspiration. In any case, I hope to start posting some stuff on a somewhat regular basis (don’t you admire the certainty of that language: “hope to start…” and “somewhat regular”).

We are currently in a fun stage of development with our son Theo, who is now 15 months old. Yes, there are tantrums from time to time (read: flailing limbs during diaper changes) and the word “no” (or shall I say, “NONONONONONO!!!”) has become a mantra of sorts for Theo.

Eric snapped this one mid-meltdown

Eric snapped this one mid-meltdown

However, aside from the more trying moments, I am loving this time. Here are a few highlights.

1.) Signing!

A few months ago, it seemed that Theo was frustrated a lot of the time. He would gesture and howl and emphatically attempt to draw our attention toward… something we usually could not determine. I talked to a friend with older kids, and she suggested sign language as a way for Theo to learn to communicate his thoughts and desires before he is able to use words for these things. It had been my intention to incorporate sign language months ago, but it wasn’t a real need yet, so I kinda let it fall by the wayside. However, as the need for communication increased toward the end of Theo’s first year, we started to introduce some signs. The results have been so encouraging! Theo learns the signs (if it is for something he actually cares about and has interest in) within a day or so after they’re introduced. It has alleviated his frustration and provided a strong bridge of communication between us. It is also super duper cute! Here is a list of the signs we basically have down at this point:

1 bath

2 car (most frequently signed)

3 eat

4 shoes

5 ball

6 banana

7 bird (another most frequently signed)

8 more

9 bye-bye

10 hat

11 book

12 all done

signing "bird"

signing “bird”

Theo signs “car” approximately 30 times a day, and often climbs up to our big window to look out at the cars parked on the street, while passionately shaking his fists up and down. If Eric and I are talking and the word car happens to be spoken, Theo looks up at us and immediately starts to do the sign. It is neat to see him make connections, notice words and find a way to take part in the conversation.

Birds, along with cars, are another one of Theo’s biggest interests. As we drive or walk around Calgary, Theo is always noticing birds, and pointing them out to us. Sometimes he notices designs that resemble birds, or even just sees trees, and starts to say and sign “bird”. When Theo signs “bird”, he also says “bir!!!” (exclamation points warranted, believe me), which leads us to the next fun aspect of development:

2 Words!

Theo is acquiring a spoken vocabulary, which is something I have looked forward to since he was born! Though he said “mama” many months ago, that was pretty much it for quite a while. Now there are all kinds of words popping up each day! Admittedly, most of them start with a “b”, and sound a lot alike… but Theo uses them within context and he knows darn well what he is saying (and we do, too!). Here is a list of words we’ve noticed as of late:

1 bear (“beh”)

2 bird (“bir”)

3 bath (“baa”)

4 banana (“ba”)

5 ball

6 apple (“puh”)

7 Dada or Pa

8 no

9 lamb (“namby”)

10 spoon (“poon”)

Sometimes Theo sits in his car seat in the back of our car while we are driving somewhere and sings “nononono” to himself (or us). It’s cute, though of course all that no-ing gets a bit tough to handle at times. At this stage, Theo is more than capable of letting us know when he does not want to do something, or if he does not like us interfering with what he is doing. While I know there’s much talk about the “terrible twos” and so on, my goal is to keep in mind that this stage is a natural part of development. Theo is learning that he is a separate person, and that’s a good thing.

Another good thing is the way that Theo is learning to identify and make animal sounds, which leads us to our third fun thing.

3 Imitations and Animal Sounds!

The age of imitation has begun. Sometimes it is downright hilarious! If I attempt to deter Theo from rifling through the trash can (he’s drawn there like a bee to honey) and say “yuck”, Theo makes a guttural sound in the back of his throat; his version of “yuck”. If I give him a kiss, he clicks his tongue to make a kiss sound. If Eric waves his hand in front of his face while changing a diaper, Theo does it, too. He’s learning about the world and forming reactions to it, mostly based upon what he sees modeled in our behavior, which is both exciting (his capacity for learning is so immense!) and a little scary (read: those moments when I have “sharp words” for another driver, or the occasional potty-mouthed utterance).

Animal sounds are another fun development as of late. Theo loves to roar like a lion, snort like a pig, bok (“bah-bah-bah”) like a chicken, woof like a dog, and meow like a cat. He also does a pretty spot-on horse impression.

All that to say, our son is a budding genius. Have a good day!Image

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