Sunday, September 26, 2010

Interpreting Signs

My beautiful daughter woke up screaming last night.  Highly abnormal.  My wife went in to rescue her and she was wailing.  She brought her into the bathroom and she kept crying out for Daddy.  I went in to sit with her to try to figure out what happened.  

She was sitting on the potty and I was sitting on the stool next to the sink.  Big ole tears are still damp on her cheeks.  She signs "eat" and "sorry" to try to say what was wrong.  I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time.  I turned my head and snickered.  This helped her loosen up a little bit. 

Now admittedly, these things take some interpretation.  "Eat" is pretty clear.  But "sorry" is what she does when she's hurt.  The DVD's for Baby Signing Time she learned a bout six months ago covered "hurt."  But when she learned "Please," "Thank you," and "Sorry," hurt disappeared.  It taught her that when you hurt someone you say "sorry."  Given the large amount of things that when signed by a baby look like hurt, I'm not really sad that she's found a better way to communicate.  Seriously, "ball" and "more" while she does them more correctly now looked identical to "hurt" at the beginning.  (That said, most of her signs take interpretation.  Horse and Hat looked the same.  Frog and Bird too.  Oh, Cat and Outside also.  Then there is water and her made up sign for pacifier as well.)

When she had a bad case of diaper rash a couple months ago, every time I'd wipe her butt she'd wince and sign "sorry."  I'm pretty positive she thinks "sorry" and "hurt" mean the same thing.  Not that she's telling me to say I'm sorry.  She tells us all the time when she's hurt by signing it.  In fact she has even told on me before using it.  I yelled at her one day and accidentally smacked her ankle on the side of the crib as I put her down.  It wasn't a daddy of the year moment.  When my wife came in to take over at that point, she looked up and signed "sorry" and pointed at me and said Daddy.  Holy crap, my child just told on me.  I was embarrassed and proud at the same time.

Back to the "eat" "sorry" conversation.  I had been asking her if she had a bad dream.  She wasn't understanding me completely but said uh-huh.  My wife rocked her a little bit and put her back to bed.  She did wake up later the same way and for the first time in nine months laid down in bed with us for an hour or two. 

Nightmares I guess.  I'm not sure what spawned it either.  Here are my interpretations.

One:  She had a dream where she ate something hot or was eating and something hurt her.  Simple and probably wrong.

Two:  (We'd been to the petting zoo at the Hairy Man Festival yesterdayShe got to feed goats, rabbits, chickens, pigs, donkeys and cows.)  She could have dreamed she was attacked by the animals while she was feeding them.

Three:  (Over dinner my wife and I discussed why people don't eat lions, sharks and other larger predators with the same commonality as cows, chicken, salmon etc.  Basically we aren't going to domesticate something that would just as soon eat us as we would eat it.)  I think she may have taken our dinner conversation to heart and had a nightmare about lions and tigers or what ever eating her.

My vote is for number three.  That little sponge mind may not be capable of fully communicating back, but she understands a hell of a lot more than we give her credit for.  If it's true, I feel horrible, I gave my child nightmares.  Then there's my favorite book to read her...I know and Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.  I guess either way, I gave them to her. 

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