Signs

As I’ve mentioned (probably many) times, while Vincent has always been hyper-verbal, when it comes to Aidan, now 19 months, not so much. He says “Hi,” “Bye-bye,” “Cat,” and, occasionally, “Daddy.”  Yes, there’s a vital word missing here.

He also has learned and uses consistently some sign language, especially the sign for “more.” He uses that to indicate more of just about anything. He puckers his mouth when he wants a kiss. He shakes his head, “No,” and bobs his entire body to say, “Yes.” I taught him “I love you,” in sign language by pointing to myself, crossing my arms, then pointing to him while I say it. His version is to point at himself with both hands, hold his arms, uncrossed, to his chest as if he’s hugging something, and then push both his hands at me, while he says, “Unh…unh…UNH!” I like his version very much.

His range of sounds is really quite expressive.

A low grunty “uuhhh” functions as his default word/words. If he says this while rubbing his head or patting his knee, he’s saying,”I bumped my head, ” or “I hurt my knee.”  If he says it while pointing at the faucet or the fridge, he’s telling us that he wants a drink or something to eat.

Whenever he says it, what we’ve come to understand is that he is using it intentionally, trying to tell us something. It’s not a cry, or a whine, or other form of complaint. He’s talking to us.

Having a conversation with Vincent is one of the great joys of my life. He’s creative, funny, thoughtful. I’m one of six, so I know better than to burden Aidan with expectations, but there’s knowing and knowing, and he’s been more than a little confounding until now. And I’m a poet, a reader, someone who prizes words; it’s hard not to long for him to start using some himself.

But discovering this, his grunty little sentences, is a revelation. Aidan may not be speaking much yet, but he is indeed learning language structure, and he is communicating. And if you’re paying attention, understanding him is the easiest thing in the world.

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4 thoughts on “Signs

  1. It’s really great that you’re “getting” Aidan, rather than freaking out that his developmental trajectory is different than Vincent’s. I have a cousin who barely crawled until he was past 1 year, and his poor Mom was worrying terribly. Then one day he just stood up and started running circles around the other kids his age!

    They’re all different, kids are, and it’s really special to have parents who cherish them as they are.

  2. I don’t have kids, but I have watched this type of situation with my niece and nephew. My niece, who is one year older than her brother, was way ahead of her age when it came to language, while her younger brother didn’t talk at all. In fact, she talked for him. Their parents were worried about this until a doctor told them to wait until their daughter went to school. Now that is in school, her brother yaps up a storm!

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