Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Beautiful Landscape and.....a Tantrum?!

This is the view from one of our local playgrounds.  Often, as we play here, we get the chance to see a train drive by (plenty far away to be perfectly safe!) and hear the gratifying "toot toot" of its horn. This is often the highlight of our trip for my 18 month old, who LOVES trains right now.

Normally, it's "out of sight, out of mind," and once the train passes we go back to playing and having a great time.  On one recent trip, though, Mr. L. was more obsessed with the train than usual.  After the end of the train passed, he stayed seated in the mulch where he'd plopped himself and pointed in the direction of the train track.

Without the blessing of early communication that Signing Smart has brought to my family, this might have been the beginning of the end.  This situation could have quickly turned from enjoying the train to pointing to whining to full on melt down and tantrum.

Luckily, we have been blessed with the gift of communication, and I was given a window my little one's mind - in a way that is well beyond what he is ready to share verbally. Here's how our conversation went:

Mr. L: signed TRAIN (which is always accompanied by a verbal "choo choo" right now).  

Mommy: Oh, the TRAIN is ALL-DONE now, buddy, it went BYE-BYE.  Let's go back to playing.  Do you want to slide?

Mr. L: TRAIN ("choo choo")

Mommy: ALL-DONE.  The train went by.  It's ALL-DONE now.

Mr. L. MORE ("mo")

Mommy: I'm sorry bud, I can't make more train.  It's ALL-DONE for now; it went BYE-BYE We'll see one another time.  

Mr. L: ALL-DONE ("ah duh")?

Mommy:  That's right bud.  It's ALL-DONE for right now.  Let's go play.

This time, my re-direction was successful.....mostly.  He did get back into playing on the playground equipment, but there were a few more times that he stopped and asked about the TRAIN ("choo choo.")  After one final request in the car on the way home, he seemed content to wait for another day.

Signs are such an important part of the way that I communicate with my boys that it's hard to play "what if."  "What if" we didn't give this awesome gift to our boys (and ourselves)? "What if" I had to rely only on what Mr. L. was able to verbalize? In this instance, I probably would have surmised that he was talking about the train we'd just seen. The rest....I'm not sure.  I do know that we would not have been able to have as complete and in-depth of a conversation as we did.  I do know that many tantrums spark as a result of frustration when a little one is unable to communicate his or her thoughts successfully.  I do know that I'm glad I don't have to find out the hard what what the answers to those questions are.  Signing Smart saved my day once again! :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

National Grandparents Day

I decided that celebrating grandparents for just one day wasn't enough, so I've been shining a light on them all week long via my Facebook page!

This post is dedicated to some very important men and women in the lives of little ones, big kids, and even some fortunate adults.  Even those who are not lucky enough to meet these special people are, none the less, touched by their legacy.  Whether right next door or thousands of miles away, grandparents hold in their hearts enough love for as many children, grandchildren, and even younger generations as they get the chance to know.

During my time teaching the Signing Smart curriculum, I've had the pleasure to meet a few of my pupils' grandparents.  Many more, I didn't get the chance to meet in person, but I did hear about them in bright-eyed stories shared by moms and dads during class.

Thank you to all of the grandparents who have shared stories of wisdom, passed along traditions, and loved all those who came after them the best way they know how!