As Iris gets older, each new phase becomes my favorite, but I think I will look back on this age as one of the most exciting. Before our very eyes, she is learning to communicate new words and ideas every day. It’s incredible! I’m realizing a newfound interest in the science of childhood development, leading me to read What’s Going on in There, a book on brain development from birth-5yrs old, written by a neurobiologist mom who studied her own 3 children as they grew up. What a great way to combine work and parenting!
For a few months now Iris has been babbling very expressively, moving her arms and emphasizing “words” as if giving a presidential speech. We’d respond as if understanding, but really have no idea what she was trying so hard to say (kinda how we feel about president Bush’s speeches). Suddenly at 13 months she is becoming a little person, expressing her needs and pointing out fascinating things to us through new sign language and speech every day. (though… we still don’t get president Bush…)
Dad is one of the main attractions. She talks about her dad even when he isn’t in the room – a few minutes before he usually comes home, she’ll point towards the door with her thumb to her forehead to sign “daddy”, as in “when is daddy coming home?” or she’ll hear the shower turn off in the morning and give me the “daddy” sign, as if to let me know he’s in there.
Iris’ first communicative words:
- Dog – pronounced “daw” and signed with hand patting her leg, she loves pointing to dogs around Greenlake, to her stuffed animal dog, and especially to get me to read Doggies, a book by Sandra Boynton that requires us to demonstrate 10 different types of doggy barks.
- Milk – her favorite sign, for awhile her only sign, and the one with the most immediate gratification. How could I say no to that?
- Daddy – sign, sometimes with verbal “dada”, combined with HUGE smile when he comes home
- Hi – verbal. Peeking around a wall at us to say “hi!” adorable!
- Fishy – sign while saying “fshyfshyfsh”. Pointing to the aquarium at the zoomazium, the fish page of one of her books, daddy’s shower curtain, or even the fish on another baby’s shirt!
- Bye Bye – verbal, with a wave, and sometimes long before our guest was planning to leave (oops!)
- Cat – sign. inspired by the Halloween balloon with black cat at Ian’s house, along with their live cat, she now signs “cat” while pointing to live cats or cats in books
- Rain – sign along with “shhh” sound. How could she not learn this word after it rained every day of November?
- Bear – sign and “ba” sound. Points to Pooh bear on the picture on the wall or the stuffed animal, or the bear on the car window decal.
- Dance/music – a clear favorite for Iris. If I dare let the music stop, she will walk over and point to the cd player, give a little dance, and do a version of the sign for music (which she learned at Tchaikovsky for Tots symphony last week).
- Belly button – saying “be bu”. This is her latest fascination, she loves poking my belly button, or her own, or daddy’s… so we got her the book Where is Baby’s Belly Button, which she wants to read over and over again, flipping up the flap that is baby’s shirt to reveal her belly button underneath.
- Book – sign. Iris loves books, and will bring books of any size and shape to me from across the room. Even daddy’s heavy computer programming books!
- Shoes – sign. Iris loves trying to put on my shoes or her own (or even daddy’s), and in the morning she’ll point at my slippers next to the bed, then go get them and bring them to me, and try to put them on my feet.
- Diaper change – I’m amazed that she is starting to do this sign, since she often protests and rolls over when I try to change her diaper.
- Thank you – sign. Yes, our little bully (oh, should I call her “assertive”?) might actually be learning some manners. She’s starting to sign “thank you” (hand to chin) in response to my ‘thank you’ to her. very sweet.
Sandy says she’s even verbalized the word “water” to him a few times now, pronouncing it very clearly. I haven’t personally heard it yet, and find it hard to imagine that she can already pronounce a word that complex. Then again, I’m sure there are many more words and ideas forming inside her brain that just haven’t found their way out her mouth yet. I can’t wait to hear what’s next!