Finding the Words

I was sitting in The Duchess’s nursery watching her explore what the world had on offer.  She was hunching over a pile of her books and I said:

“Why don’t you change IgglePiggle’s nappy?”

Her eyes snapped up to meet mine and she waited to hear the instructions again.

“Find IgglePiggle and change his nappy.”

She turned around, a toddler on a mission, and marched over to her changing bag.  She searched through the disorganized contents and found her changing mat, unfolded it, and carefully placed it on the changing pad that was lying on the floor.  She turned again and scanned her soft toys for the red padded feet that match his trademark side mohawk.  Clutching IgglePiggle, she toddled over to the doubly stacked changing mats, put him down, and crouched in front of him.   I beamed and let out a loud laugh.

How is that she has become this little person that can now comprehend instructions?  When does that happen?

The Duchess is 13 months and while she is an absolute sponge when it comes to taking in the meaning of words, she hasn’t yet found the way to form many of them herself.   While she’s still waiting to find the words I decided that I’d teach her basic sign language – American sign language, not because I’m trying to revolt against the Brits, but because I don’t know basic British signs and I do know American ones from some time with mommy acquaintances years ago.

We started with “please.”  This short clip shows you the motion.

It teachers manners.  It helps her to communicate what she’d like.  A good first word to sign, yes?

And when she pulls at my trousers, stares up at me with her big brown eyes, points at a book and rubs her little chest it is undeniably adorable.

But she also learned “please” around the time I was cutting out her evening nursing session.  My supply was getting low and I knew that what I could give her wouldn’t satisfy her.  In the vein of our normal routine, I dimmed the lights and quietly read her a book, and then turned her on my lap.  But instead of offering breastmilk, I put the cow’s milk to her lips.  Her cries made the betrayal clear as did the repetitive cycle of offering her the milk, her seeming acceptance of said milk, and then the subsequent throw of the milk across the room.  Post throw, she would turn towards me and put her hand on my chest and then, choking on her sobs, would sign “please.”


Maybe communicating is over-rated.


4 thoughts on “Finding the Words

  1. Deborah

    awww…. that would be torture! Is British sign language very different from American? I thought I heard in a sign language class that many signs were universal no matter what language. However now that I’m thinking about that if it is true, it does strike me as strange that we call it American sign language.


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