Wednesday, December 29, 2010

still waters run deep

Okay, so I don't post as often as I could, right? Little things happen here and there every day that either astonish me or crack me up. Often, they blitz out of my mind with the changing of the next dirty diaper duo. But sometimes I get set to share something, and I realize that it's not going to make an impression on anybody who doesn't have any 19-month-olds around to understand exactly what I mean. And in a couple of months, I'm going to have lost all frame of reference myself.

But I wanted to write this one down, so I need to explain a little bit of background:

Noah doesn't talk yet. Not really. He says a bunch of consonant sounds that are his words, but there are only 15-20 of those that I've nailed down as consistent words. (Things like "na-na" for banana, "bah" for bib or ball--or blocks or box or bye!--you get the idea.) 20 words isn't too bad, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not a lot. He still depends on his signs though, and uses them pretty consistently. Yesterday he even started using the sign for "daddy" even though I haven't used it with him in at LEAST 6 months. Crazy!

I digress... As far as their comprehension, both the babies are pretty good at following one-step concrete directions--sometimes even two-step ones--but their grasp of the abstract is... well, a bit lacking for obvious reasons. We know they understand more and more all the time, but we don't know how much.

Anyway, about a week ago we came back from a visit to Gemma and Granddad's. We brought back a picture of them which Scott posted on the fridge. Noah noticed it, and had fun pointing out Gemma and Granddad. He then pointed to the other prominent picture on the fridge, the save-the-date for my brother Michael and his fiancee Danielle. They're getting married next week and we're flying to see them. He had NO clue who they were (he's seen them twice, most recently 7 months ago), so I said, "That's Uncle Michael and Aunt Danielle". He pointed, but... I mean, really--how was he supposed to know who they were? But you're supposed to talk to your babies, so I figured I might as well say their names.

Okay, fast forward a bit. A few nights ago, I was rocking the kiddos in their room before putting them to bed. We heard a plane fly overhead, and Noah signed "plane" (with sound effects, of course). I said, "Yes, that's a plane." Then, because you're supposed to talk to your babies, I figured--what the hey, I may as well explain more even though he's not going to understand. So I continued, "We're going to go on a plane. We're going to get on it and fly in the sky to go see Michael and Danielle."

He BURST out sobbing, and signed that he was scared. I shushed him, bewildered--SURELY this child had no clue what I was talking about. He knows airplanes as things he waves bye-bye to in the sky--how on earth could he have the concept that they're big enough to carry people? I figured he had misunderstood somehow. So I explained again, "No, it's okay! It's a plane. Mommy and Daddy and Noah and Lily are going to go on a plane. We're going to fly in the sky and go see Michael and Danielle."

BIG sobs, and more professed fear. I was pretty amazed at this point. I mean, his idea of what I was talking about had to be pretty limited, but he understood a lot more than I had given him credit for.

...and now the REAL story I was leading up to:

Today, I was helping Noah wash his hands at the sink when he pointed over to the fridge. But he wasn't pointing at Gemma and Granddad--instead, he pointed to Michael and Danielle, signed "airplane" and then "scared".


How in the world did he remember those names and put all that together??!! I have no idea. But I'm going to start reading Dickens to him tomorrow.

And the morals of this story are:

1) We may be in for a real meltdown on our plane trip next week.

2) You really never know what your kids understand. Seriously!

3) If you EVER plan to have children, TEACH THEM TO SIGN!!! I can't believe how much of a blessing and a window into their little minds it has been!


Vicki said...

This is really amazing, Lisa. Danny and I just read it together. What a testament to teaching signing. It has enabled so much communication between all of you that would never have taken place! We miss you all!

Hewitt's said...

Amazing! Yes, signing is great! I'm excited that Elijah is starting to sign! I just ordered the next DVD in the baby signing dvd's (soooo much better than the signing time!)