Observations and arguments.

Pre-verbal communication

The Boy has always been quite good at communicating his needs, even before he could point. This he did by shouting in the general direction of the object he wanted to hold or view more closely, with increasing volume and urgency as Mommy and Daddy handed him objects other than the one he wanted.

On the plus side, when you get it right he is rarely less than appreciative. He practically beams with glee (when he doesn’t giggle outright.)

Current hand gestures include pointing (an enhancement to, rather than a replacement for, the shouting), waving, patting the top of his head (a reference to THE SNOWY DAY–“Down fell the snow, plop! On top of Peter’s head.), and shaking a pointing finger scoldingly (a reference to GOODNIGHT GORILLA–“All you animals back to the zoo!”). He also can sign “More/Again” quite clearly by pointing a finger at his opposite palm, which mostly means what it’s supposed to mean:

– I’d like more (oatmeal, milk, oranges, bananas, lasagna, etc.)
– I’d like to repeat that experience (read the book, watch the video, go down the slide)

but now sometimes means:

– Can I watch TV?

The newest hand gesture is an upwards point with crooked elbow that is nothing less than an amateur theatrical “Aha!”, indicating he remembers something similar that he saw or heard previously in another location.

E.g. He points at the image of a giraffe’s head on the side of his Fisher Price zoo train (the one that plays a tinny microprocessor rendition of “If I Could Talk to the Animals”). I say “giraffe.” He raises his hand beside his face with his finger pointing gently upwards and lets out a quiet “Mm?”, which in this case means

“There’s a giraffe in GOODNIGHT GORILLA!”

Then, when reading GOODNIGHT GORILLA he points at pretty much each animal or object on the page, followed by this upward-pointing “aha” gesture, which means

“I saw that on the video of GOODNIGHT GORILLA!”

And, often, he follows up with gesture #3: “More.” Which of course in this context means:

“Can I watch the GOODNIGHT GORILLA video?”


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