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Paul Thomas: Things to Remember, Month Fourteen

There have been some serious developmental leaps and bounds going on around our house!

4 weeks ago Little Paul could say "hi" and was taking a few steps between furniture and/or people. Just a few short weeks later he is walking everywhere (and starting to run!) and has picked up several new words including Mama, Dada, Mommy, Daddy, Doggy, Laurie (his daycare provider), Bubba (the doggy at day care), Bye, and Baba (bottle). Besides his oral language he's also, somehow, without much prompting from us, picked up some baby sign language!

His first signed word was "more." (Surprise surprise, the little boy who LOVES food learned to say "more" first.) This one I'd been working on with him and Laurie at day care had been using it with him too. The "technical" baby sign is tapping the fingertips of both of your hands together however one of the things about baby sign language is that you're supposed to use whatever works for you- it's based on American Sign Language but because it's not meant to be a permanent form of communication you can be more flexible about the gestures themselves. LP prefers to tap his fist to his mouth, meaning "more" and/or "hungry."

A week or so after he started using "more" Paul and I noticed that he was looking at a baby signs book that he has and making hand gestures. I'd read him the book a few times, showing him the gestures for each page and had occasionally used the signs during the day but only when I remembered to use them, which to be quite honest was very rarely- he's always been so good at communicating his needs to us that I hadn't really felt like I needed to focus on teaching him to use sign language.

The next night Paul and I noticed that once again he was gesturing with his hands while looking at the book and so I got down on the floor next to him to see what pages he was looking at. As I read the pages to him he was making the appropriate gestures! We were floored.

When I dropped LP off at day care the following morning I asked Laurie if she'd been working on other words with him. She said that she'd noticed he was gesturing but didn't know what the signs meant and figured we'd been teaching him. Apparently the few times I'd showed him had stuck in his little (big!!!) brain and he'd just figured out what it was all about!

Here he is saying "sleepy."

And "all done."

And my personal favorite, "milk." Check out the picture of the baby in the book saying milk too.

It seems as though in the past two weeks his communication has just taken off. Between the sign language and the words he knows we almost always know what he wants. This past weekend he brought me a diaper and when I asked him if he needed his diaper changed he walked over to the changing table and lifted his arms up. Sure enough he'd pulled a poopy-pants Paulie and needed his bum cleaned.

At bed time he'll tell us he's sleepy and then walk over to the changing table to have his diaper changed and his pajamas put on. I tell him to kiss Daddy goodnight and he walks into the living room, gives Paul a kiss and then walks over to the stairs to head up to bed.

If we're going somewhere and I tell him to put his coat on he'll come over to me and put his arms out to slide into his coat sleeves, saying "bye" the whole time.

He's still pretty mischievous about certain things and doesn't listen very well when we say "no," preferring to test us repeatedly until we put him in his pack and play to remove him from the situation (usually this is opening the spice cabinet and throwing all of the spices on the floor). He definitely knows he's being naughty though!

LP has figured out how to climb on and off his riding train on his own and climbs down from the couch instead of just flinging himself off the edge before one of us can catch him. He's starting to stack blocks, is trying to put puzzle pieces in place, and loves to say "hi" to people on the phone.

Oh and he loves it when Daddy uses the trimmer to cut his hair- it tickles!

Little Paul has started imitating us a lot more lately. He'll brush his teeth, put on chapstick (imitating Mommy and her chapstick addiction) ,and brush or comb his hair (with a mouth and chin full of animal crackers here!).

I know that children change the most in the first few years of their lives but I had NO idea how quickly! In just a few weeks he's started walking, talking, signing and following directions. I'm pretty sure next week he's going to start writing the next great American novel, right after he cures cancer and starts his run for the presidential campaign of 2048.


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