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Thursday, April 24, 2008

15 months

Today BB is 15 months old, and it was a day for many firsts:
  • blowing kisses to S as he left for work
  • playing hide and seek with me and BJ (kinda; she mostly just ran around giggling with a blanket over her head)
  • trying to sing the alphabet song
  • peeing in the potty (!!!)

As for the last item, at first I didn't even realize she'd done it. On Thursday nights, I bathe both the kids together since S has to work late and I'm on my own for the bedtime routine. For some time now, BB has taken great joy in sitting on the little potty whenever she can, particularly before bathtime. Quite often she will pee on the floor next to the potty as soon as she is undressed, and tonight was no exception. As I cleaned up, she proceeded to plunk herself down on the training potty and grin at me while I mopped the floor.

I didn't think much of it, but when BJ went to sit on the potty as he does every night before bath, he exclaimed, "Mommy! There's pee-pee in the potty!!!" Sure enough there was -- and I know that it wasn't there before BB sat down. No wonder she was so pleased with herself!

She's getting to be quite independent these days, wanting to do as many things for herself as she can. Today, she wanted to clean herself up after snack, and she was so happy when I gave her the wet washcloth and let her wipe her own hands.

She also has tons to communicate, though she's still not saying many words. Lots of signs, and she's extremely persistent about making sure we understand what she's trying to tell us. Which can lead to some extreme frustration. At naptime, she fussed for almost 45 minutes until I finally figured out she wanted to have her "10 Little Ladybugs" book in the crib. When at last I put together that she was signing "bug" and "book" over and over, I grabbed the book from the other room and showed it to her. She clutched it to her chest with great relief and slumped to sleep almost immediately.

I was torn between feeling proud for figuring it out and terrible that it had taken so long!

Thankfully, there are also pleasant moments of satisfaction when I puzzle out what she's thinking. She discovered the star pattern on her feeding spoon during snack today, and she sure was happy when I made it clear that I understood her sign for "star" had to do with the utensil on her tray -- so much so that she kept doing the sign over and over, just so I could say to her, "Yes! I know! There are stars on your spoon!"

I keep meaning to jot down a list of the signs she is using. This is probably incomplete, but here are the ones that come to mind, in no particular order:

  • more
  • eat
  • drink (she's just recently introduced this as a different sign, and for her it looks like the sign we've been using for "Daddy." Not sure why!)
  • milk/nursing
  • watermelon
  • all done
  • bath (which also means "bathroom")
  • go/turn/wheel/merry-go-round (turning hands like "wheels on the bus")
  • hat
  • bunny
  • frog
  • gorilla/monkey
  • cat
  • dog
  • fish
  • dinosaur
  • book
  • sleep/bedtime
  • toothbrush/brushing teeth
  • wind
  • rain
  • swing
  • bug
  • moon
  • stars
  • flower
  • bird (used for all sorts of different birds, from ducks in books to finches at our feeder)
  • chicken
  • airplane
  • pig (which to her also means "cow")
  • ball
  • shoes

She's saying: mama, dada, bye-bye (adding in the "i" sound very clearly this week; until then, it had been more "buh-buh"). "Ch!" means chair and "brrrr" means car. A particular screech means "cat" (especially when done with the sign). "Da" for yes. "Ssss" can mean snake or please or cheese, depending on the context. She'll combine the sign for bug with a buzzing sound to say "bee" -- and she is very interested in the bees who visit our lavender, so this is something that she says often. Occasionally she will say "nana" for banana.

I think she's trying to say her brother's name -- though with his ever-changing identity, it won't be surprising if that one takes a while. (Especially since when she does try to say it, and I encourage her by repeating it, he inevitably replies with, "No! I'm ____!" Filling in the blank with whomever or whatever he is that day. Today it was "Blue" from Blues Clues.)

And boy has she perfected shaking her head for "NO!"

She's changed so much in the year since these pics were taken.

At 3 months, she was in her "fingers are fabulous!" stage

Of course BJ wanted in on the photo shoot:

Here she is holding S's hand. She's definitely sweet on her Daddy, perhaps even more so now.

Happy 15th month, BB -- you are amazing!


Maria said...


One question-- how did you teach all of those signs? I learned some basics for my son, but I only know a dozen or so, so those are the ones he knows too. Can your recommend a book? DVD? Anything? Fortunately, he talks some too and looks to be a future talk-o-holic, but signing really is helpful while he learns to say words!

Jen said...

Hi Maria! Thanks for your comment. We started with the "Baby Signs" book by Linda Acredolo when my son was about 6 months old or so. Neither my husband nor I knew any sign language to speak of before embarking on the adventure of baby signing, but we've both learned a lot.

With BJ, we did lots of signing for about 6 months. He was talking at 6 months, and by a year he had 10 words and 14 signs. Then the language explosion really took off (and he's not stopped talking since!)

With BB, she relies much more heavily on the signs, so we've been introducing more and more as we can. We just teach ourselves and add new signs as ones get mastered, trying to add ones that will be of interest given whatever the child is doing. If we don't know the sign, we'll look it up. There are some great resources on the web; just today I was looking up "potty" at

We don't do much screen time around here, but I have borrowed a few "Signing Times" videos from the library. I like them well enough, though I think that the focus on true ASL is a bit difficult for babies. Still, it can give a good starting point, and the kids like it -- BJ especially.

As you may know, there is some controversy in the baby signing movement about what signs to teach and how much to adapt. With both kids, and especially with BB, there has been a lot of adapting. BB will make up her own signs, as she did with "drink" just this past week, and we try to watch for that and reinforce it. If the sign has meaning for her, and I can figure out what it means, I'll use it. So I guess my biggest recommendation would be to really watch for what the child is doing and not to just focus on the traditional signs.... try to incorporate them whenever you can. Reading books and signing can be tricky, but that works really well for us. Once you start looking, you might be surprised to see that he is signing more than you realize!

Maria said...

We don't do the screen time much either, but almost all of the sign I have learned came from the Baby Einstein DVD. The Boy probably knows 8-10 signs (ASL) and 15-20 words already. I sign the words I know and he learns them quickly. I guess i need a book! LOL! Thanks for the tips!