I’ve just been looking at some old journals and reading about how my daughter was able to let me know what she wanted right from being a small baby. A friend with older kids had advised me: “Write down what she says. You think you will remember but you don’t.” But it isn’t just about words. There are other ways of communicating too.
I’d taught deaf children in a nursery and I was used to noting down how their communication developed, so it was second nature to do the same for my daughter. We used “baby signing” as well, and she used that to help her when she couldn’t yet say the words.
She stares into my face, eyes wide, tongue moving.
I say: “Shall we sing a song?”
I start singing.
Is she hungry?
I show her the bottle.
She stops crying and smiles.
She goes and stands in front of a box of instruments at Gymboree playgroup.
Then she signs: “More more more listen”.
I go to the microwave to warm up her food.
She signs “cold” so I know I don’t need to heat it up.
I tell her she can’t bring the drumstick with her to play with.
She asks “Shei?” (shaker?)
She wants me to go out of the room so she can dance on her own.
She says tactfully, “Mummy back in a minute!”
We’re making bread.
She says “Apron! Mummy apron too!”
Then, when we get the bowl out, “Fyour in”.
2 and a half years:
I say: “I’d like some sandals like yours”.
She says “But you’re a big person and you need sandals that suit your feet”.
She says “When can I have an i-pad?”