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Archive for the ‘sign language’ Category

Three separate issues that fall in the “one step forward, one step back” category:

Toilet training really is ridiculously frustrating for those that have it dragged out. We’ve been at it for a year! I followed all the advice of “don’t push it” and yet it is terribly annoying to take a step forward and a step back with such inconsistent consistency! Big moment today … Patrick thought he heard water running in the bathroom, so went to investigate and there was Nicholas on the throne, saying, “I don’t need help, Daddy, I can do it all by myself!” What a proud moment! On the flip side, though, two hours later his pull-up was wet – arrrgh!

Sleep – going well. Although he often fights it, we haven’t experienced anything as horrendous as we did in September. Almost every night he comes out at least once for either a drink of water or a visit to the bathroom. He’s taken to saying, “I come out of my room for only ONE reason!” What a little negotiator he is already! Every night he falls asleep reading a book, which is exactly how I still fall asleep, too.

It’s interesting to see how independent he can be one minute (going toilet by himself) and reverting to infancy in the next. There have been a few times over the last couple of weeks where he has commented that he wants to be a baby. I suppose he recognizes that babies don’t have many responsibilities. Today he even asked me if he could please drink “lechita” again (our word for breastfeeding). Well, it’s been 9 months since he weaned off, so this came as a bit of a shock!. When I explained the lechita is all gone, he was adamant that he could still smell it! Fascinating! I wonder if it is a memory or a real smell for him.

Sign language – something we haven’t done for ages, with any consistency. There are certain signs we still use regularly … out of habit and because I like being able to communicate across a room without yelling, especially when he needs to be disciplined. “Sit down” and “stop” are very effective tools in certain situations! Today he asked me to show him how to sign “OK” – he could do the K all by himself (what a shock!) but needed help understanding how to make the O. I thought it would have been the other way around – go figure! Always surprising us!

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Aha … and so it begins.  Mum was visiting earlier this month and heard Nicholas say “poopy” as he was sitting in his high chair.  Without hesitation, she swooped him up, ran down the hall, removed his diaper with one fell swoop and deposited him on the potty.  Much to everyone’s surprise, he finally used it!!!  I don’t know whether it was the excitement of the whole process or what, but he was really pleased with himself, even though it was the tiniest of tinkles!  We made a huge deal out of it, and he’s been using the potty rather steadily ever since.

We’re being careful not to overdo it, though.  We offer the potty with every diaper change (not in between yet, unless he asks for it, specifically) and respect his wishes if he says “not” (remember this comes out as “no-te”).  The introduction of the “royal potty” has been fun – it rewards him when he sits down or actually uses the potty, with a little royal entrance “ta-da-da-da-da-da” sound.  He’s still a bit chubby, so when he squirms around, it also sounds off, because he’s triggered the sensor!  Oh well, he’s getting the point, little by little.  I have training pants on hand in case he’s ready for them, but I don’t think we’re quite there yet.  Pity, because our cloth diapers have finally started to fall apart (not bad, after 5 years of use) and we’re having to replenish our stock (thank goodness for craigslist!).

At the swimming pool the other day, he stopped still, stared at me with such a look of concentration on his face, signed “potty”, and said ever-so-quietly, “bum burp”.  I was laughing too hard to do much about it as he headed back into the pool.  Thank goodness he just meant that he had passed gas, and nothing more!

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April 2008 – Nicholas’ first story: a week or so after my mother had flown to England on holiday (and we had seen her off at the airport), Nicholas spotted a plane in the sky. He’s always had great hearing and has pointed out planes when he heard them, but this time he pointed and said “plane”, then he signed/said “Nana” and then he waved and yelled “Bye Nana!”. He went on to tell this story for quite a few weeks and even now sometimes pulls it out for old times’ sake.

May 2008 – his second story consisted of only 5 words and some actions:

  1. “HI!!!” (waving fiercely)
  2. “Fire tuck!” (signing fireman)
  3. “Lights” (signing lights)
  4. “Honk!”

Here’s the story with a few more words. We were having dinner downtown with Wendy (from Nelson). As we were waiting for her, Nicholas saw a fire truck stopped at the traffic lights. He became very animated and frantically waved to them, yelling, “HI!!!” (encouraged by Nana). They waved back and the driver turned on the lights. Nicholas was tickled pink! Another truck came by a few minutes later and was also stopped at the lights, so Nicholas waved to them, too. They waved back and the driver tugged on the horn! WOW!!

Nicholas told this story every day, multiple times each day, for many weeks! Every now and then, he will tell it again, but he hasn’t had another story, since, quite so succinct as this one.

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Nicholas continues to mix spoken words with signs. Today, during breakfast, we were watching Signing Time! (Zoo Train) and he apparently really liked the sign for Panda Bear (using the letter P, draw a circle around your eye), but he couldn’t quite figure out how to hold his hand. So, for the first time ever, he held out his hand to me and asked, “Help?” I was thrilled to see his interest and quickly worked his little fingers into the letter P. He couldn’t really hold them there, but he tried. And he showed the sign to Daddy when we picked him up from the train.

What a treat to know that he’s still interested in some signing, even though his words are coming along quickly now.

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Chiro, massage, and naturopath all had their crack at me, but it was acupuncture that finally did it! After I explained the symptoms, he decided which spots he would use and put a total of 11 needles in me. They didn’t hurt – they’re so thin – just a bit of a pinch as they went in. After he had put them in, he left the room and I promptly fell asleep! I had a wonderful 20-30 min nap. He tapped into the energy of the heart. Not that there was anything wrong with my heart, but the heart energy was obviously clogged up somewhere along the way and he managed to unblock it. That night, I fell asleep as though I’d never had an issue at all and slept right through the whole night, waking up so refreshed! And it’s continued ever since. I went back for a few more appointments, but I don’t know if they were really necessary. That one session cleared the blockage, whatever it was, and it’s all behind me now. Wow!!! Thank you, acupuncture!

And I’m not the only one getting some good restful sleep around here – Nicholas went through about a week of being sick and barely sleeping (remember those horrific nights at my mum’s in March) and then happily settled into a steady pattern of going to bed around 8pm and sleeping right through to 7am! Yay! Sometimes he wakes up a bit earlier, but he’ll just lie in the crib, happily chatting and singing to himself, for a while at least, before he starts asking for “chita”.

Oh, and somewhere in the last month he started talking, too! He’s picking up words quickly, especially all the ones that have to do with sports. If it involves a stick, bat, ball, puck, birdie, net, etc., he’s all over it! While he really enjoys music still, his first love is clearly sports!

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Kids develop at such different rates when they are this young, so I wasn’t completely surprised to hear some of Nicholas’ peers talking in full sentences recently, when he can say very few words (except, of course, his absolute favourites … baseball and basketball). Imagine my surprise, though, when I stumbled across this article about a 17-month-old girl who can not only speak many words, but actually READ them! People are often impressed by Nicholas’ ability to communicate in 3 languages (English, Spanish, and ASL), but that really takes the cake!

His words have really started to form in the last week – he’s made a huge effort to mimic us, even if he doesn’t have all the consonant sounds yet – he almost always gets the right number of syllables and vowel sounds. “S” is a very difficult sound for him, as well as “F” and “T”. He’s much better with “L” now, though, as he’s been working overtime on the word “ball”. I know repetition is the key, but my goodness I’m tired of hearing that word!

Tooth #13 broke through last Thursday. My last post was a week ago, when I commented on how peaceful it had been to have 2 nights of full sleep. We had one more – 3’s a charm – and then went into 4 nights of horrific sleep. After the first night (Wed), we noticed that his first canine had finally popped through the gums (top left) and assumed that was the source of his discontent. I don’t know for sure now if that’s all it was, or perhaps combined with a cold because he’s been coughing like crazy, but he had 4 nights of fitful sleep, waking me up every 1-2 hours to cuddle or nurse (the cuddling was new – in the past, only nursing would put him back to sleep). Three of the four nights were, of course, while we were visiting my mum to celebrate her retirement and birthday. Our first night back home, he slept right through the night again. Mmmm, sounds like he’s waking up (1:30am) – let’s see if he can settle himself back down again. Oh, well done, little man – that only took 10 seconds! I think he knows to look for his water bottle – I wish I had a video monitor so I could watch at moments like this – such a Curious George!

We visited our favourite Naturopath doctor to have him checked out – this cough has been quite nasty since last week – everything is clear (ears, lungs, etc), but she reminded me to use Vicks on his feet at night and Castor Oil on his abdomen (to stimulate his digestive system which powers the immune system).

Tomorrow Nicholas and I are the presenters at a Baby Talk session (the same one we used to go to ourselves when he was new) to talk about using Sign Language with babies. He’s added “basketball” to his all-day conversation and even managed “I love you” the other day for the first time! I have tried to teach him the one-handed sign, but his fingers can’t get around it, so I tried the three-word sign instead – success. I’m so pleased that he can communicate so well, although I am noticing that he is dropping the signs to opt for the words sometimes (if he can say the word) – perhaps because other people in his life don’t do the sign language with him. When I prompt him to show me the sign, he always does, but spoken word is possibly starting to take over. I hope not because I would really like to keep up with learning ASL with him – I’ll have to make a real effort, because I’m sure it’s easy to get lazy once he’s speaking.

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Wow, I can’t believe that I just typed that! He’s been 19 months old now for just over a week and I am continuously blown away by how quickly he’s growing and maturing.

Mr Independence wants to eat by himself (he is getting really good with the fork), walk without holding hands, and has a nasty habit of running away without stopping when we yell “stop” or “danger”. Very scary in a parking lot! He sees something he wants and off he goes, without paying any attention to anyone around him. Any suggestions on how to curb that particular activity are greatly appreciated!

Nicholas basically stopped growing at 9 months old when he was 30 inches and 25 lbs … until just this last month when he’s suddenly gained 2 inches and 3 lbs! For all my complaining about how quickly he was growing out of clothes in the first 9 months, he’s more than made up for it by wearing the same size (18-24 months) for the last 10 month and is now slowly moving into 2T (although they are still a bit long for him in the legs).

His sign language continues to develop well- it’s really amazing how his little brain files away information and spits it back out when he’s ready to use it. Yesterday, when I was strapping him into his car seat, he started wiggling his fingers at his mouth and making a funny sound. I didn’t quite get it at first, because it clearly wasn’t “food/eat”, but also wasn’t duck because he wasn’t saying “quack, quack”. I turned to look out the front window … and there was a telephone pole with 5 crows on it. He was signing “bird” and trying to say “tweet, tweet” for the first time! Yay!

The other really big moment yesterday was when he put 4 signs together in the correct order to make a full sentence (usually I have to guide him to get it right) – Mummy … please … want … milk. I was so excited!!!

I was really concerned last week that nursing was coming to an end (not by either of our choice) – he would be nursing and would look up at me with such sad little eyes, signing “milk, please” with great fervour, as though I could turn it on. It was very upsetting for both of us. Luckily I could switch him to the other side and he could manage enough to satisfy himself, but I was really worried that our nursing time was coming to an end. It may just have been my stress level that week (I had some huge deadlines for Feb 29th) or perhaps he was needing more than usual (he has been in this growth spurt, after all). Anyways, this week seems to be back to normal – once during the night (4-5am), once when he wakes up (7:30), and then about 4 times during the day.

He recently started spending one full day at daycare, so now he goes for 4.5 hrs on Tuesday and 8.5 hrs on Friday. He adapted to it without any hesitation or fuss. I am so blessed to know that he enjoys being there, because it allows me that time to properly focus on my work. In fact, when I tell him that’s where he’s going, he practically runs to the door and sits down to have his shoes and jacket put on.

We’ve just had Elaine, Angela, and Ewan to visit with us for a few days. Unfortunately, they were quite ill with a flu bug, but by the end of the visit they had perked up quite a bit and the kids were playing really well together. Nicholas was very taken with Ewan and kept giving him kisses … not always when we would have liked, though, like when he kept waking him up.

Which reminds me of an instance at Granville Island last weekend … we were walking around the market when Nicholas suddenly went running off toward a young child (4-5 yrs old), yelling “baseball … baseball”. He didn’t receive any response from the child, other than a look of “who are you and why are you yelling baseball at me?!?”, so he reached his arms out wide and gave him a great big hug! We were all so amazed … and quite a little crowd collected to watch the interaction – it was so pure and honest and sweet. The little boy moved along with his parents and Nicholas took off in another direction, but it was a wonderful moment firmly emblazoned in my memory. Since then, Nicholas has been giving out lots of hugs and kisses to kids he likes – thank goodness he’s moved out of the “I like you, so I’m hitting you on the head” phase.

No new teeth have erupted, but he loves having his teeth and tongue brushed.

I’m hoping to meet with an agent next week to talk about getting Nicholas into commercials/film/TV because he responds so well to the camera.  It’s a great way to put aside some money for his future education.  I am adamant, though, that I will NOT do it if he doesn’t enjoy it.  We’ll see what he thinks about it.

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