Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'Communication' or 'What Have I Done!?'

A few months ago, I though it would be an awesome idea to teach Henry some baby sign language.
My reasons were simple:
1. It'll be so cute!
2. I'll know what he wants!
3. All the other moms are doing it!
4. It will make me look like a Good Mom!!!
5. Sigh. I really want to be a Good Mom.

So, I learned the signs for a few simple things to get started: book, diaper, milk, food, more, all done. And then, for a couple months, I would remember about every other day or so to do the signs with Henry, and he would look at me and wave his arms, and that was it.

AND THEN HE GOT IT!  In a whirlwind of baby genius he learned ALL food related signs. And then, he started to realize that he could CONTROL HIS SURROUNDINGS THROUGH COMMUNICATION.  Nothing has been the same since. I live with a baby dictator.

Some days, I seriously want to kick myself in the face for teaching him how to tell me what he wants. He is totally in charge now. He wakes up from naps signing for food. When he is sick of one food, he starts signing for food again, just to see what the new food will be. Sometimes, he signs for food RIGHT after he has finished a HUGE meal. I know he's not hungry. He just wants to see what else I'll give him. Sometimes, he signs for food with one hand, while pointing to the cabinet where we keep the Cheerios with his other had and says 'chhh, chhh, CHHHHHHH'. Clearly, this means he wants Cheerios. Only Cheerios. No other food will do. Did you hear me? NO OTHER FOOD WILL DO. If I give him a food he doesn't like, he makes noises like a cat hacking up a hairball while signing for food.

(Side Note: When he puts something gross in his mouth, I say "Eww, no Henry, icky, Blech!" The hairball noise is his version of 'Blech.' Awesome, Rachel. Great sound to teach him. You're going to looooove listening to that every time you feed him a vegetable.)

And, of course, if a delicious food runs out, get ready. He will do the more sign with such ferocity, I worry he's going to get carpal tunnel in his little baby wrists. It does not matter if there are still other, very lovely foods on his tray. He wants MORE. Of THAT food. Obey him now.

When he wants to nurse, he signs for milk, and begins to crawl into my shirt. He cannot be stopped. (And yes, he is 13 months. And yes, he is still nursing some. And yes, I am conflicted about it. So please, refrain from giving me your opinion on this issue. Unless of course, you want to tell me that I am a Good Mom. That, of course, is fine.)

When he is done eating, WATCH OUT! He waves both arms around in a total butchery of the sign for all done, and screeches maniacally.  DO NOT ATTEMPT TO OFFER ONE LAST BITE. This is a total affront to his character and unspeakably rude of you. Did you not see the sign?? He. Is. All. Done.

So for a while, I of course responded immediately and with enthusiasm to all of his requests.

You guys. Come one. Of course I did!! I love Henry! I feed him when he is hungry, I cuddle him when he is sad, I believe in meeting his needs! And, my baby was communicating!!!  It was so important to reinforce his efforts to communicate with me! My baby was so smart! He knows signs! And, he is so darn CUTE doing those signs with his sweet, chubby, little baby hands!

But now? Those sweet baby hands are holding the puppet strings, guys. And I am dancing around like the village idiot.

So, tonight I looked up  a few more signs.  No, wait, please, and thank you.

Tomorrow, I'm staging a coup. I'm outing the Baby Dictator and introducing a Momocracy.

Don't worry, Henry. I'm a benevolent monarch.


  1. You're a Good Mom (with capital letters). I would totally be your kid.

  2. Ha ha! Love that you're introducing the benevolent Momocracy. Don't worry, we're still nursing at 14 months, too, and there's no end in sight. So I think you're totally a Good Mom, despite having never actually met you. ;-) The only sign my babe has started using is "milk," despite my attempts to teach him others. I guess you can see where our priorities are. Heh.

  3. I can't wait to hear how the Momocracy goes over. You are a great Mom! I nursed both kids well after a's so good for them.

  4. You make me laugh- sorry!! Mine both adored baby sign language- and totally abused it, too. We have a VERY strong Momocracy here and even though they try to revolt every once in a while, it's what they need. Sorry about nursing- Addie stopped at 6mo and Alden at 11mo....

  5. You are such a Wonderful mom Rach! Note the "happy baby" comment in the next post!