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Yes, Cora at ten months has said her first
word. In more than one way.

First, she’s been saying Mama and Dada for a month or so now,
but just last week she pointed at Maddie and said, “Meh
Meh!”, which is what Maddie’s been trying to get Cora
to call her for a long time now. Maddie and I both looked at each
other, delighted, and both recognized it for the deliberate speech
that it was. And I have to tell you, seeing your kid’s face
light up as her baby sister yearns for her is priceless.

Second, we’ve been working on sign language with Cora for the
past several weeks, and she finally got the hang of it. First
signed word? “More.”

Tell me any other baby who knew a different word first.

Cora’s got “more” down
pat now, and I’m already beginning to regret teaching it to
her. She’ll tap the tips of both hands together several times
and vocalize loudly to make sure you’re looking, then grunt
and point at what exactly she’d like more OF. Because woe be
unto you if you offer more mango when she wants more yogurt! My
favorite is when she wants more of a way of eating; she’ll
make the sign for “more” and I’ll offer her
something on a spoon, at which point she’ll push it aside,
make the sign for “more” again and slap her empty tray
emphatically, demanding more finger food she can serve herself. Lay
out some Cheerios or pieces of cheese on her tray, and the irate
braying ceases, the little fists immediately cramming handfuls of
gouda into the little despot’s mouth as she settles back down
into the depths of her chair, guarding her cache of snacks warily
(don’t tell her I said this, but an image of Jabba the Hut
comes to mind – you know the scene where he’s eating
the little frogs out of the water bowl).

And Cora’s quickly come to understand the vast uses of the
word “more”; she’s made the sign to me when
I’ve pulled her away from nursing before she thought she
should be finished, as well as asked for “more” when
reading books together. I love seeing the connections being made in
her head.

Of course, the more Cora learns, the more frustrated she gets at
not being able to communicate even better: she’s working on
“finished” but can only do the sign clumsily with one
arm, and I’m not sure when she does it if she’s banging
for more food on her tray or saying “Stop with the chow
shovel, ma!” If I don’t pick up on
“finished” right away and get her out, her stress level
escalates rapidly and soon no one in the room is happy.

So even as she works on her signs, I work on understanding them
faster. Communication is, after all, a two-way street.


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