On Monday, I dropped Claire off at preschool for the first time in over a week after our vacation (more about that later). As I carried her in, she smiled at her teachers, saw that breakfast was being served, and rubbed her chest. “Please? You want some breakfast, huh Claire?” her teacher said. And that’s when it hit me…
It only took us three months, but we finally figured out that they’ve been teaching her baby sign language at preschool. And suddenly, what I thought were just funny things she likes to do with her hands, maybe pieces of songs from circle time (she loves the motions to Happy And You Know It and Itsy Bitsy Spider), became words with meaning– meaning we’ve been missing all this time.
Meanwhile, my mind flashed to what the last few months must have been like for Claire: More, please. Eat, please. Up? What is wrong with my parents? Do I live with idiots? My teachers understand me just fine! How many times do I have to say “more” to these morons before they refill my milk? She must have thought we were incredibly dense.
Now, though, it’s like a whole new world has opened up. This morning she pointed to a book and signed “please.” So I read it to her. Crazy!
Now I’ve got some catching up to do in the baby sign language department, because Claire is way ahead of me.
I must say, I’m super impressed with her preschool teachers– it absolutely makes sense to teach baby sign language at a special needs preschool where a lot of the kids are either nonverbal or speech-delayed. This puts all the kids on a level playing field for at least the bare minimum of communication.
Meanwhile, there’s at least one other area where I have to catch up with preschool: somehow, after a year of struggle, her teachers and her feeding therapist have gotten her off of bottles, the bottles she has preferred exclusively over any other type of bottle or cup since the NICU, and she now drinks from a sippy cup for them. Well, the jig is up now, Claire, and you’re about to switch to sippies at home, too. No more washing and reusing the same 12 disposable nipples that we nabbed from the NICU and have been reusing all this time, over 18 months now. How do I sign “sippy time”?