Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Sweetest Words I Never Heard-- Joey Signing Mama & Unconditional Love

I had a great email conversation with a fellow mom.  We "talked" via email about how there is so much more to communication than "talking" or "speaking."  In fact, communication includes body language and facial expressions as well.  She had such a great point.  So many times Joey might not be able to verbally "say" what he is trying to "say," but we often get the point! 

Here is a video progression of trying to get him to sign Mama.  The phrase Mama has been a bit of a point of contention.  Joey has been saying Dada clearly, precisely and constantly for what seems like forever now.  It was his first word and for a long, long time it has been his only word.  Then he started saying, "Hi, Dada!"  While I was impressed and equally perplexed that he could put two words together, I was also getting increasingly annoyed that it's all about Dad! 

Then I get annoyed at myself for getting annoyed that Joey can't say Mama.  I mean really-- what is wrong with me?  Why do I feel so entitled to hear him say Mama.  Why can't I just be happy with what he is able to say at this point in his life?  Is it an ego thing?  What exactly is it about parents that we want to hear our children say Mama or Dada?  Ultimately, it doesn't really matter.  Being able to say Mama isn't going to help him get more food, more milk or more of anything that an almost-two-year-old wants.  

Instead, I've decided it's more than just wanting to hear him say Mama.  It's actually not an ego thing.  It is a connection thing.  It's that after everything I feel he and I have lived through together (c-section, gestational diabetes, heart surgery, eye surgery and more), I just want to know that he and I have this connection and that he knows in his heart who I am and that I will always be there for him.  I want him to look at me and think, "Hey-- that's the lady who takes me to all my appointments, who tries to teach me sign language, who feeds me, who tickles me, who bathes me, who reads to me, who takes me to the library, who snuggles with me, who dries my tears."  

Isn't that what we all want our children to recognize?  And isn't that what's really so bittersweet about parenthood?  That so much of what we do is thankless, but priceless.  So much of it can never be truly quantified in any number or dollar sign.  That we do it because we love unconditionally.  We love without boundaries.  We love without requirements.  We love without putting expectations on our children.  We love them for who they are and how God made them. 

In turn, we hope that others can love us the same way. 

In the meantime, Joey has made some incredible leaps and bounds with his sounds.  We are hearing n's, b's, v's, l's, o's, a's, i's and much, much more.  He is now consistently waving hi and bye.  

And over the past ten days or so I can say he has started signing "Mama" with meaning. From the American Sign Language:

Make the sign for "Mother" by placing the thumb of your hand against your chin.  
Your hand should be open (a "5" shape).

Note: there are several variations of the sign "MOM."   
An interesting method I've seen is to place the tip of the thumb of your right "A" hand on your chin then open the "A" hand into a "five" hand.
Some people wiggle the fingers while signing MOM.
Some people use a double tap on the chin.

Last week at the swimming pool I was telling a group of ladies that I thought he had started signing Mama and then out of nowhere he signed it right in front of them!  As we all clapped and I got teary he started clapping proudly for himself as well!  This week he did it again at the doctor's office and then again today at the Buddy Walk office. 

The best part is how proud of himself he is when he does it.  He smiles from ear to ear and wildly claps for himself.  The other best part is how he does it in his own very Joey-like way.  He simply places his hand up to his mouth so sweetly and so gently it moves me to tears every single time.  Here is a video progression of be trying to get him to do it camera. 

Hope you enjoy!  Hope you also get to both give and receive some unconditional love today.

And..... the big finish!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Lily will NOT sign mama either ! If I ask her to sign it she does daddy every time. Way to go, Joey !!


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