Working on words (after long break)

WCB’s grandfather is having troubles and was in the hospital in pain again recently.  My stepmother (whom WCB lovingly knows as grandma) reported that thinking of WCB and her struggles to be understood (“Up, up!”) was one of the things that helped him through the pain.

I sent them this report in return, and then Daddy-N chimed in with a story of his own.  The following 2 stories should give you an idea of where WCB is in language acquisition – at 15 months old:

Since the last time granddad saw her (about 10 days) she has learned:

  • “Bite” or “bite- bite” (with ALL the phonemes – although the t ends very hissy) – for “I want a bite of that thing you are holding.”
  • to wave when she says Hi
  •  “dAho” – for dog (2 syllables)
  • a very soft breathy “issth” for “fish” (meaning mostly goldfish crackers)
  • “Bah-toh”  – bottle now has 2 syllables, and the sign isn’t used as much – just in time for us to phase out the bottle for the cup…
  • The sign for cup (which gets a staccato ‘uht!’ sound occasionally)- unfortunately because she has both a sippy cup and a snacky cup, some confusion occurs.
  • The sign for “o’s” – Cheerios. (this one is unofficial, but watch this)
  • She also has just this past week seriously started getting the idea of “communication” as a method of controlling her environment – she looks into our eyes, says her sound, and uses a gesture to clarify – and when we get it right she GRINS and even laughs.  Sometimes the sound has nothing to do with the idea ( like when she said “ba” and tugged on my coat collar – I said “you want me to take my coat off?” – GRIN)

Daddy-N then reported:

Another word – and here’s been some confusion –  “hot.”  She doesn’t say it yet, but has been trying to pick up the sign for it. 

In particular, I’ve said “hot” and once or twice she’s patted her head a couple of times with a questioning look.  Seems she’s gotten it confused with the idea of “hat” or maybe “head,”  so enunciation is all important! 

The ‘hot’ sign itself has been confusing because when she tries to copy it, it looks just like her “I wanna eat” sign.  For those not familiar, the eat sign is to put your gathered together fingers to your mouth – usually a couple of times – “eat eat?” The hot sign is directly related – to start with your hand at your mouth (eating something) and then fling it away like it was too hot.  

Last night I worked on it a little more while running her bath.  We start the bath out hot before we put her in it to get the tub warmed up, so her bath won’t cool too quickly.  She likes to reach into the tub and feel the running tap water while I’m doing this, and I warn her it’s “hot!” with the sign.  Our tap temp can be pretty variable, so sometimes she sticks her hand in with no problem, and sometimes she jerks it back with an astonished look on her face if it’s really hot.  So this has been a prime opportunity to teach “hot.”  (It’s never scalding, so don’t worry!)

What I’ve started doing is de-emphasising the hand-to-mouth part, and making the jerking away part really big, shaking my hand hard like something hot.  Last night I finally saw Solvi catching on, and her “hot” sign is beginning to look noticeably different from her “eat” sign.  After I thought I had the temperature perfected and put her in the tub, she immediately looked at me alarmed and gave me a pretty good approximation of the “hot” sign!  I guess when it’s really important, you get better focus!

Anyway, I guess I’m fixated on this particular word with her a lot because I do most of the cooking and she’s often underfoot or demanding to be up on the stool where she can watch.  That’s a situation where that word is more important than at bath time, for sure!

I really like the baby signing – I’ve even caught her doing some odd things with her hands while making sounds at me – I think she’s trying to make up her own signs!

So that’s where we are – I know I’m way behind posting over here – and I have a lot of posts running around in my head!  Works pretty busy, but the sleep Saga is improving – so hopefully we’ll see more writing!