(Click for a larger picture.)
Early on, we began attempting to teach Josiah how to communicate by using baby sign language. It had worked well with my brother and his kids, as well as a few other parents that we knew. In fact, the reason we start early — at around six-months, even though babies usually don’t start signing until they are around eight- to nine-months — was because we had seen such success with other familes.
The first sign Josiah picked up was that for the word light (this is done by holding your hand up to the light, pinching all of your fingers together, and then opening your fingers at the light — like a blooming flower). Josiah has always loved looking at light (as long as it’s not the bright sun) and making the sign for light.
Soon after, Josiah figured out that he could use his hand to wave to people — that was a pretty fun discovery, as it introduced even more “interactive” communication into our lives.
Josiah learned those signs around seven-months… And that was it.
We tried our best to teach him more: signs for hungry, thirsty, more, all done... With the possible exception of using the sign for hungry a few times, Josiah just never seemed interested.
Were we (or are we) concerned about this? No, and I’ll tell you why… Since we’ve been trying to teach Josiah to sign, the whole while he’s been trying to talk to us. In fact, what worries us is that Josiah is going to become an uncontrollable extrovert — but that’s another story! So, during our stint at a formal education for our son, our son has been trying to tell us that he doesn’t really need signs.
Now, at just over nine-months, Josiah can say these things:
- Baba (bottle)
- All done (maybe)
- Indy (our dog’s name)
- EIEIO (as from “Old McDonald Had a Farm”)
- Book (I’m not quite sure if this is a legitimate word yet)
Of course these words are the ones he says with some regularity. He says all sorts of things throughout the day that surprise us. I know that other babies pick up words this quickly as well (one or two real words is common between nine- and twelve-months), but we like to think that Josiah is possibly a little smarter than the rest (we are proud parents after all).
Baby signs are great. I’d recommend them to anyone. As for Josiah? Who needs ‘em?!
(As for crawling? Well… That’s another story too.)
By the way, the photo at the beginning of this post is from Josiah’s “nine-month photo session.” It was taken by Todd Messenger, who is documenting Josiah’s first year with a photo session every three months.