Lukas has been polishing his communication skills lately. We hoped he would take to ASL, and it would seem that our boy is aiming to please. In addition to the spoken words that he is adding to his vocabulary recently, ('dada', 'mama', 'nigh-nigh', and just this evening I swear he said 'light') Luke has began in earnest to speak to us using sign language.
Mrs. LIAYF and I have been using certain basic signs with him for several months now, with Lukas catching on rather quickly at five months old to the sign for 'milk' (of course!), and a few months ago to the sign for 'sleep.' We attempted to teach him several other signs, which he seemed to understand well enough but gave no indication that he would ever imitate. That was until recently. In the last, maybe two weeks, our Luke seems to have made a mental switch with several other signs.
You might even say a light bulb turned on in his head! Tonight Lukas discovered that if he signed 'light,' dada would respond by turning on said light. He then used that particular sign over and over, pointing and then signing 'light' at each light he saw in the house until I flipped that light on and off several times. This was a fun new game!
He has made other ASL signs in the past two weeks including the signs for 'more,' 'all-done,' 'hat,' 'bath,' 'keys,' and 'change' (as in change diaper). This quick progression of signs has also come at a time when he's become increasingly frustrated in his attempts to communicate exactly what he wants. He points and grunts, and we reach for several objects until we finally find the one he is asking for. If we can't figure it out quickly, he may utter exclamations of irritation (as if saying "come on, how hard could this be?? I'm saying please hand me the banana for cripes sakes!") or even cry if he's tired and and the end of his patience level.
We understand that tears and frustration are common in a child this age. They have clear likes and dislikes (Lukas, for instance, will select a specific book each night if given 2-3 to choose from). They comprehend a good portion of what is being said by those around them and will often follow directions. However, they know more words than they can speak. This is precisely why we decided early on to teach him ASL - we hoped it would reduce the terrible-two-tantrums by giving him a way to talk to us before he could form the complicated words. In any case, we are glad he's figured out a better way to talk to da-da and mommy than just by grunting and pointing!