Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign (or Words Words Words!)

Baby Einstein has been dethroned at our house! The new champion is Signing Time (www.signingtime.com), a series of DVDs that teach American Sign Language in small packages of related signs with singing, animation, and plenty of pictures of kids doing the signs. Nessa loves these: the most frequent thing we hear out of her these days is "more signs, more signs" which is her way of asking us to play whichever Signing Time DVD we currently have checked out from the library. She is picking up not only some of the signs, but the related words as well. Which ones she actually remembers often come as a surprise, because they aren't always the ones she'll use every day.

This is part of the ongoing language explosion at our house. Nessa uses a new word almost every day, usually when pointing to the object. (Yesterday's word was "slippers", said as she pointed to the ones she was wearing.) Yes, our daughter waited until she could talk to start learning signs--so much for the conventional wisdom that learning signs will help a child communicate before being ready for words. :-) She now uses words and signs somewhat interchangeably, but probably uses words more often.

Nessa can put together sentences as well. We have heard "I touch baby" and "Give me the book" and "I want (insert food item)". She only does this occasionally, but it happens often enough to prove it isn't a fluke.

Nessa can say all of her letters and the numbers from 1-10 if she is repeating them after someone else. She recognizes some letters when she sees them, and recognizes numbers, as she vividly demonstrated in the grocery store the other day, pointing to the big numbers above the checkout lanes and saying them. She's can't yet say her ABC's or count on her own, but we'll give her time. :-)

Nessa can name most of the farm animals in her puzzles and say what sounds they make, usually together: "Cow moo!" "Pig oink!" "Sheep baa!" She knows most of her shapes. Her mouth still has a little trouble with triangle and rectangle, but she can say heart and star and diamond. ("Di-mond!") We're working on colors. She can repeat them, but we're not sure she associates the color with the word just yet.

We're also working on "Please", "Thank you" and "You're welcome". As with any child, these are sporadic, but we know she knows them all and how they're related. When we can get her to say "Thank you" she usually doesn't wait for "You're welcome"--she supplies it herself. "Tank oo I welcome!"

This is an exciting time to be a parent. Watching Nessa learn, do or say something new every day is fun, and seeing her smile when she makes a new connection in her mind is a joy to behold.

No comments: