What those women probably AREN'T thinking of is a fourteen-month-old who knows his own mind but doesn't have the words to express it -- one who has big-boy wishes but baby limitations -- one who thinks big but has a really underdeveloped sense of self-control when it comes to managing his frustration.
In short, boy has been a toot lately.
Now, before you chide me for slandering the child, let me assure you that I know it's not his fault. I really do. He's just over a year old, for Pete's sake. I know that he's only just entering the age range when we can help him learn to deal with disappointment (like mommy saying "no" to his repeated requests to forego dinner for more time outside). I know that it's probably even more frustrating for him to not be able to tell me what he wants -- all he can communicate reliably is "please," so usually he keeps saying, "uh, uh, uh" and signing "please," and we have to figure out what it is he's asking-for-slash-demanding. Here's a short list of what he uses that sign to request:
- Please pick me up
- Please give me a bite of that
- Please read me this book
- Please read me another one
- Please put me down
- Please give me a bath
- Please make this toy do that cool thing that I can't get it to do
- Please can't I nurse just a LITTLE BIT?!
- Please open this door I just closed
- Please let me into the kitchen cabinets -- you're standing in front of them and I know you don't want me to get into them but I HAVE TO
- Please give me the remote to chew on
- Please turn your iPhone onto that preschool game app you downloaded that makes all the animal noises and does the names of colors and shapes
- Please do that funny thing you just did again (and again and again)
You see our dilemma. It's a lot of pressure for one little single-syllable word. Clearly, this is the time to teach boy a few more signs, like "eat," "drink," "open," "close," and "iPhone." (You know, the basics of life.) Which means *I* need to learn those signs. I thought we were doing well with "more" and "please," but these days I can tell that there's a gap we could be filling.
I'll be dusting off my edition of "The Joy of Signing" this weekend. (That's what it's called. Really.) Stay tuned.