I have something I want to tell you, something that I kind of want
people to know, but I'm also just a little embarrassed to admit: I'm
teaching my baby American Sign Language [ASL] vocabulary. I know, I know, how annoying. But I have an interest in language acquisition and child development, so I feel justified in this particular project. BUT I SWEAR TO GOD, I AM NOT A HELICOPTER PARENT, OKAY. I just happen to teach my baby signs. And use cloth diapers. And read parenting books...pretty much to the exclusion of all other types of literature. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go do some flashcards with my baby and drill her multiplication tables. She taps out the answers with her fist against the table, OKAY?
So, anyway. ASL. And parenting books. Before I had a baby, I told
myself that I'd be a pretty chill parent; I wouldn't get too worked up about
growth charts, and developmental time tables, and all that helicopter
fuel. I'd just let my baby grow in her own time, like the little
snowflake she is. And most of the time I manage to maintain this
attitude, but ever so often, I do succumb to what I can only describe
as a parenting reflex: that urge to compare your kid to the timetables
(and other kids, cough, cough) and feel reassured that she is developing
normally (ahem FASTER than the other kids).
Back to those parenting books. I'm reading Brain Rules for Babies
(Shut up, OKAY) and the author started to suggest that through vigilant parenting, it is totally normal for a baby to be saying multiple-syllable words by the time she's seven
months old. I might add that this is right before a section in which he cautions parents not to compare their child to another, nor push a child to reach milestones before she is ready. Anyway...of course I was shitting my pants, because my little
snowflake is seven months old, and only saying vowel sounds, AND OH MY
GOD, I NEED TO START INTERVENTIONS IMMEDIATELY SHE WILL PROBABLY NEVER LEARN TO SPEAK AND IT IS TOTALLY MY FAULT FOR NOT TALKING TO HER EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY. Ahem. So anyway, this was rattling around in the back of my mind, humming along at a low level of anxiety, and then yesterday at lunch, I was feeding Stella mashed avocado and she
brought her two little hands together in front of her and looked right at me.
More, she was signing. Then she did it again. And again. And once
more. The whole table saw. And all agreed that I was not delusional. She was signing.
So, Stella is seven months old, and she has two signs, More and Milk,
and I am feeling rather sheepish, for of course all babies are individuals and develop at their own rate, and Stella is just fine. Language skills coming along just dandy.
No, she's better than fine. Sh's seven months old and SHE CAN SIGN MORE AND MILK. AND UNDERSTAND WONDERFUL AND CAT AND UP AND OMG SHE IS A LITTLE PRODIGY AND A PROBABLY A GENIUS AND OBVIOUSLY A PROXY FOR ME SHE IS SO SMART AND IT IS BECAUSE OF OUR PARENTING AND I AM SO AWESOME. Ahem. Anyway, she can sign. And she loves avocados.
This photo may or may not contain avocados