As any mother or father knows, the worst part about having babies is the self doubt.
Am I doing this right, am I doing that right? How should I discipline? What should I feed them? Should I have a feeding and sleep schedule or go with the flow? Should I teach music, signing, massage? Do they need to be socialized? Read to? TV watching or more Pretend play?
Questions, questions, questions... that is all we do.
Am I any different? No.
As a signing instructor and a mother. I was so proud of my now 2 year old, Geran, signing so young (4 months) and signing so well by 8 months. He was amazing at it! He loved communicating with everyone and did so daily and consistently at such a young age. I was so proud because I had taught him something I was so passionate about.
And now with my 9 month old, Nashville, well, he is so fickle with signing. I question myself and self doubt myself. Do I give him enough attention? Am I working on it enough? Will he understand as well as Geran? Is he getting enough pretend play and language development? etc...
Nashville signs a few words, but it seems he signs when he feels like it. He is much busier than my last, which I realize, as an instructor, this is one of the signs that he will be a late signer and maybe not as interested as communicating with adults as my first one was. But still I question. So natural as parents to question everything we do.
It is important to value his temperament and his character, especially in the first 3 years. It is hard not to compare the two and want them to 'at par' with each other.
But here my 9 month is pulling himself up on furniture, walking down furniture, taking a step from one side of the chair directly behind him to another. Today he stood (flat footed as always) and bend down (holding nothing) and picked up a toy and stood up again! Geran was not that coordinated by this age and here Nashville is far exceeding Geran physically, but not signing as much... typical? Yes.
Still I wish my 9 month old would use more than 4 signs and use them consistently. I know to be patience and flexible, but that doesn't mean I want to be.
Oh well, all in good time. I need to learn to appreciate the process. Tonight when my Nashville was tired and cranky... he signed MILK so clear to me, I was surprised and then he signed SLEEP. Isn't that amazing enough for me at 9 months?
With love to my boys...