Saturday, November 08, 2008

Baby Charades

Rachel is a closet talker. She has words. She just doesn't use them.

She much prefers signing to talking.

Sometimes this is nice. Sometimes it's plain frustrating.

Take yesterday, for example. She had been playing nicely by herself and I thought I should check on her so I looked up from what I was doing and there she was, standing as still as a statue, her little fist clutched in the sign for "potty" right in front of her sullen little face.

She had had an accident.

I told her that signing is good, but signing doesn't get my attention, so she has to say "Mama!" and then show me the sign once she has my attention. I told her, further, that she could say "Mama, potty!" and I would know exactly what she wanted.

This intimidated her, I think, because she can't say potty yet. She spent the rest of the night refusing to say anything at all. Every time I asked her to use her mouth she'd pinch her little lips tight so that no sound could come out.

While she was having her pre-bedtime nursing session she tried to communicate with me. again It was just like playing charades.

She tugged on her ear.

"Your ear?" I said.

She nodded. Ouch.

"Baby girl, don't nod while you're nursing, ok? It hurts Mommy."

She tugged her ear again.

"Ear," I said.

Then she smacked me, hard.

"Rachel, don't hit mama."

She shook her head. Ouch.

"Rachel, don't shake your head while nursing, ok?"

She tugged her ear and then smacked me again.

"Rachel, don't hit mama."

She reached up and grabbed my ear.

"That's mama's ear."

She hit me again, this time bopping me in the nose and sending my glasses flying.

"Rachel, stop it! Daddy will you come and tell your daughter how to behave?!" I growled.

Andrew came to my rescue and reprimanded Rachel. He told her that if she had something to say she should come out and say it...and not hit mommy.

She grabbed her ear and pouted.

"Oh!" I cooed. Enlightenment had struck, "Does your ear hurt?"

She nodded.

"I'm sorry, baby doll," she's been a little under the weather this week so I'm not surprised, "But can you say wawa* or owie when something hurts next time instead of hitting mommy?"

Sheesh. Most babies just tug their ear all day long. Not my baby. I guess she figured that hitting hurts so if she hit me, I'd know that meant "hurts." Then if she could somehow get me to connect hurt with ear I'd know she had an earache.

The problem, though, is that ear-tugging while nursing right before bedtime means "tired," so it took a while longer for us to communicate. And she hadn't been tugging it all day, either. Just right before bed.

Sometimes I love her charades, like when she comes and tugs on my hand to make me come play with her, but it's so cute when she talks!

She was better at using her words today. She kept coming up to me and putting books in my lap and then would run over to sit on our "reading chair."

"Weeeeeeeeeeeed!" she commanded over and over all day long.

How could you resist an order from such a pretty princess?

Today we read: Colors, B is for Books, I like Bugs, Bloomer the Bunny, Little Ladybug, See Me Go, I See You, What do I need? and Friendly Snowman, and a few others...all multiple times.

It's amazing the variety you get when you hide Clifford's Birthday Party.

She's also taken to saying, "Yee-ah!" when she nods her head. It's rather adorable.

It's also adorable when she totally guesses instead of trying to say things. Like yesterday when she wouldn't say "mama" for some reason and just pushed her lips together and signed random things at me.

"Say mama, Rachel."

She signed more.

"Say mama," I tried again.

This time she signed please.

"Oh, come on! You know how to say mama! Just say mama!"

In response she folded her arms, all the while smiling slyly.

What have I gotten myself into?

*Wawa is the Arabic for owie (as I learned on Bridget's blog) so we've been using that to describe our owies. Rachel has yet to actually say it.


  1. She's at such a cute age right now. She reminds me a lot of Sydney, my youngest, who does more nodding and shaking of her head than speaking, even though she can.

  2. Hee. Excellent. I know what's coming with my niece then, cause she's already a wicked and very cute tyrant at 9 months.

  3. Oops. Sorry. That was me.

  4. Just think, if you had not taught her to sign then you'd be guessing at everything she wanted and remember that signing is a language that you taught her, according to Rachel she may believe that she is speaking and you are not listening. And remember as parents you can get very good at charades (just not with your spouse ha-ha).
    Love ya. :)

  5. Dad has a point about her thinking she's speaking. At least you know she's smart. She probably practices talking when you're not around and can hear she's not forming the words properly. One night, she'll succeed and the next day, you'll start hearing full sentences from her since she's no longer ashamed of her imperfect English.

  6. She actually does practice when we're not around. Andrew has caught her saying "Rachel" to herself...and I've caught her saying more than that.

  7. I can totally relate to the charades. My favorite is when Emmy sees candy ("nandy") and pantomimes putting it in her mouth in a very exaggerated way and says, "Yum!" Oh, they're so fun!

  8. I love it when they start to communicate. My first child spoke in sentences when she was not even two! Then the boys came, and I expected that to happen, but it didn't. The all speak in due time.....

    The twins have their own language.