Over the past three weeks or so, Luke has been using some sign language. I have been using it since he was about five months old, and within six weeks of using the signs, Luke began to recognize the meaning of some of them. That was a wonderful thing for us, to say and sign "milk" and see a big smile flash across his chubby little face.
It has only been in the last few weeks that Luke has begun to actually use the signs himself to communicate with us. It started with what appeared to be clapping while in his high chair. (To make matters confusing for me, Luke learned how to clap and ask for "more" in the same week!) I wondered if he was asking for "more" food. When I said, "Do you want 'more'?" while using the sign for "more" he smiled and kicked his legs. This was the first time Luke used a sign to ask for something he wanted or needed. It was a great moment for both of us!
That weekend, while baking Christmas cookies with our family at Grammy's house, Luke used all three of our most commonly used signs ("milk", "more", and "eat") in sequence, although he was not actually asking for any of those things. I believe he finally realized that he was capable of using his hands to do the things I have been doing for months, and he was just practicing. I confirmed by asking him and signing all three signs. He looked at me and realized I recognized his signs, but he did not smile or get excited, leading me to believe he was simply practicing.
Over the weeks that followed, Luke has continued to use his signs, although it is somewhat difficult to interpret at times. I do my best to confirm what he is saying, but we continue nonetheless. I am now introducing a few new signs, including "potty", "all done", "get down", "bath", and "play". We shall see how things progress.
Here are a few of the signs Luke can now recognize and/or use himself:
Bed or Sleep