Friday, December 19, 2008

I Saw The Sign...

... and it opened up my eyes... to the undeniable confirmation of the fact that Oliver is paying attention, soaking it up, learning all the time.

Since he was about six months, we've been using baby sign language with him despite zero response or seeming interest. I have felt pretty silly simulating milking a cow, drawing my hands outward from my nose like whiskers of a cat, and tapping my fingertips together while I said the corresponding "milk," "kitty," "more". But low and behold, he got it.

Last week it was questionable if he was really using the signs as intended or if it was a coincidence. The sign for milk kinda looks like the same as the "I'm fascinated with my hand and the way it can move" gesture he had done all along while staring at his moving fingers. And the sign for finished kinda looks like "I'm throwing my hands in the air because I can and it's fun."

But this week, he's really been using the signs in context. I'd say "Milk" is the big winner with "Finished" as a close second. "More" is usually the spoken "eeehhhhhheeee, eh, eh, eh" whine/grunt instead of the more-civilized fingertip tapping. And I haven't seen those kitty whiskers surface (but I had kinda dropped that one anyway to focus on the more action-oriented ones). It really is pretty amazing, though, to see him milk the cow around bottletime and to synchronize the all-finished sign with his spitting out of whatever bite he has in his mouth.

I'm not a fanatic by any means. I mean, I don't see the importance of tracing an elephant's trunk in the air to identify the African mammal. And can't see enough distinction between the signs for cold and afraid to really bother, but now that I've seen the power of this little sponge and the help that the signs can provide, I'm sorry that we didn't tackle more sooner.

I'm going to try to introduce "diaper" and "eat" soon so he can get those into his vocabulary, too. And since we eat a lot of bananas around here, that one seems apropo. The signs for mom and dad and grandma and grandpa would be sweet, but again they are all so similar (and a little weird -- tapping thumb to forehead is dad). I'm sure there are others that would be useful (especially now that I've taken some time to poke around on the web for more examples), but I have full faith that the boy will be speaking complete sentences by the spring (right?), so we'll just wait it out.

I don't have any good pictures of him signing, but again, poking around on the Internet, I found one of a boy signing "book," which (again, low and behold) is exactly what Oliver was doing last night when it was time for a book after his bottle. I kept going, "Book? Do you want to read a book?" Each time doing the sign for book that I know, which is putting the palms of your hands together, then opening them up with the pinky sides still touching. Oliver just kept doing this cute kinda gesture that we thought was indecisiveness, like "I don't know if I want to read a book." But, duh, this wrist rotation with the hands held together is probably a little advanced for the boy, so what you see is the babies turning their hands inside out and up, but away from each other. Wow. The kid is brilliant -- or maybe he was just signing "where?" Hmmm.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Grey Ice - Part Two

I went back to the scene of the mishap over lunch with my trusted iphone in hand and was able to capture my tragic mis-steps. Classic.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Milestone: Bipedalism

Well, almost anyway. I'm guessing he'll be walking on his own in the next couple weeks -- even before his first birthday. What a superstar!

Eric has this theory that every time we travel or put Oliver in totally new situations, he changes dramatically -- "a new baby" as Eric puts it, so likely by the time we come back from our cruise in January he will probably also be skipping and doing the do-se-do. Actually, I do give the theory some credence, so I'm sure I'll have lots to post when we get back.

I've been a bit remiss with the posting, especially with the milestones:

I mean, the kid is practically off jarred food. He's a good eater and even likes his vegetables. Like most of us, though, he leans towards the carbs: crackers (of the graham or club variety), mac 'n' cheese, cheerios, cheezy-poofs, egg noodles, etc.

He is in size 18 months jammies. Despite his genetic origins, the kid is kinda tall and all of the feet in his 12-monthers have holes in the big toe area. OK, I'll admit, this might be partially due to the claw-like nature of his untrimmed toenails. You try taking the clippers to a bucking kangaroo.

And, get this: The kid appears to be fluent in Vietnamese: "Nngng Gngung". Since I am not, in fact, fluent in Vietnamese (and neither are you for that matter) this claim cannot be confirmed or denied.

I'm sure there are loads of other things I'm forgetting to chronicle here, but I'm doing the best I can, dammit.

Oh, in other news, Oliver is starting daycare in January when we get back from the cruise.

Grey Ice

Why didn't I bring my phone with me on my bagel run so I could have snapped a photo?

Anyway... so I'm doing my morning bagel run (no, I cannot be deterred, even by several inches of snow and ice, plus I’m recovering from the stomach flu so I need my carbs, right?). And the alley that I usually walk down beside the ‘L’ tracks is pretty ice-packed, so I opt for walking directly under the tracks, which is typically ankle-twisting gravel, but in this case it seemed like traction-safe terrain with unblemished snow that I was enjoying walking on – tromping on, to be exact. Gotta get bagel.

Then I get to a part that looks like ice-covered asphalt – that grey color when black is made opaque by the ice. So I tread a little lighter, stepping gingerly with my right foot and “crack! Splash!” I’m ankle-deep in a pond. OMG! So again, I’m not deterred and instead of trying to back out, I plow forward four more steps through this pond of ice and slush. OMG! OMG! I announced with every step. And of course there were witnesses: “Don’t worry, I did it just last week,” one woman told me. Nice of her to say, since I sincerely doubt it.

Luckily, I was wearing my winter boots with jeans still tucked in them from the ice/snow removing session with my car on the street this morning. I’m not sure the boots are intended to be waterproof to full submersion, but so far, they are holding up OK. Just to be safe and with dry socks in mind, I think I’ll take them off and settle into work for the day.

I’m still grinning about what an idiot I am. On the way back, I especially enjoyed seeing my four-holed patch of ice. If only I’d brought my phone with me, I could have snapped a photo.