My little girl.
She chose me.
The boys said Dada first.
She says Mama. Not mamamamama babbling, just Mama. And I don't care if she knows what it means or not, it is still music to my ears.
Communication starts with a cry, when the needs are simple and straight forward. A wet diaper, an empty tummy, a need to hear mama's heartbeat and snuggle in her chest. But as the needs grow so must the communication. We have been given a forewarning that hearing complications/communication set backs are in our near future. Fiona has extra small ear tubes and collects a lot of fluid in her ears. Thankfully, we haven't really dealt with too many ear infections, however, the fluid is keeping her from hearing clearly. A stumbling block that, if not fixed, will greatly impact her ability to speak correctly.
Tubes are probably in our future, but for now we are working on a different kind of communication. Sign language.
We did this with our boys just with a few basic words. And every fear I had about it setting back their verbal communication was put to rest as they talked just as much as they signed. Actually, I think the only two signs they really caught on and used were more and all done.
I was contacted by babysignlanguage.com a few weeks back, right as I was thinking it was time to start really introducing signing to Fiona. For any parent interested in using sign language with your baby, this website is a great resource for learning signs, what with video tutorials and printable flash cards. All for FREE. ( Free is the key word now that I am doing the stay-at-home-my-babies-kisses-are-my-paycheck thing)
It meant a lot to get a personal email from them, and by personal, she talked about Fiona specifically. I knew, from my obsession with the blogging community, that signing with special needs kids is an awesome thing to do, and she enlightened me even more on that. It allows them to communicate a lot faster and better and can cut out a lot of frustration. A lot of these kids are really smart and imaginative, but just lack the ability to speak whats in their head. (For you special needs/Down syndrome parents out there, this is a little informative letter she sent me about how signing can help our kids).
So we are starting out slow. 8 words. 3 more words then they suggest to start off with because 4 of these words I already knew and have been using. I still do the sign for all done when ever I say that to the kids.
And this is what I love about the person who runs this. Like their Facebook page, and you can communicate to them directly. They didn't have the sign for bottle, because most people use the word milk. But I don't say, " Fiona, do you want your milk?" I say, " Fiona, do you want your bottle" So I wanted to know bottle, I asked her on FB and she is adding it.
Its going to be a little while til she starts picking up the signs and doing them herself, especially since we are still working on that fine motor in her hands. But she is already really curious when I sign Mama, and she smiles when I take her hand and help her sign it back to me. I don't think we are too far off from the understanding of what Mama means.
Another reason I think Fiona is going to love to sign... she loves her hands. This happens frequently through out the day. She will be throwing a fit because shes hungry, irritate with her shoes (which seems to be a lot lately) or just bored, and in the midst of failing her arms around, she'll catch a glimpse of her hand and get completely distracted. She goes from a screaming failing mess, to this slow-motion inspection of her hand.
Ah, what is this thing with five wiggly appendages that keeps moving by my face? I feel like I've seen it before but I better get another look.
O Fiona, I love you.