Writing

I’ve wondered for a while whether Daisy would end up reading and writing before her speech came on. She is so interested in books and this blog shows how many of her words have come from her reading stories. Often at night time, ill read her a story and find her ten minutes later ‘reading’ the same or another book to her teddies.

She is certainly aware that some shapes convey meaning: she’ll trace the letters of logos on a t-shirt or on ky car or on shop signs. I prepared a lot of letter / phoneme cards and phonics matchibg games but she seems to prefer finding writing in the wild, as it were. 

And she got very excited on Father’s Day because she’d recognised a “D” on a World’s Best Dad medal. 

Which isn’t surprising: the sign we use for her name is the fingerspelling of “D” which looks like, well, a D.

But today, she was on my laptop and I typed her name and she spent ages carefully finding and pressing the right letters to copy it. Correctly, I might add. And this afternoon she found my post-its and board pen and unprompted, unsupervised wrote this

And to me – as a very proud and biased Daddy – looks like a very clear and carefully crafted ‘D’.

Shoes Off

A simple quick post here.

Daisy knows and has known the BSL sign for shoes for ages. It’s familiar, secure, both used and understood. 

Admittedly, her dominant hand slips of her secondary hand, wrist, forearm, elbow and half way up her upper arm, but the meaning is clear.

She also much prefers being barefoot – possibly something else inherited or learned from me. I took her to the park yesterday and as we approached she tugged my arm and did the shoe sign in reverse. Her secondary hand over her primary one, slipped off and away. A very clear “Can I take my shoes off, please, Daddy?” question.

I have no idea how to actually formally sign that question but she found a way to ask it!

The Ghost Game

Is four too young to introduce a child to the conventions of the Gothic fiction genre?

Daisy has recently discovered the joys of the torch app on a mobile. She’ll turn it on and illuminate stuff and zoom in on it to inspect it – careers in the police or science – possibly both in forensics- beckon perhaps. 

She’s also become taken with the idea of torchlit baths with my phone propped up in the corner! The other day, I was giving her a bath like that – the first time she did it – and my wife walked in. First thought wasn’t “Oh, the bulbs gone in the light,” it was “Oh for heaven’s sake, what are you two up to now?” as she turned the lights back on.

Anyway, in addition to torchlit baths, I’ve also shown her that she can make the light red by putting her finger over it. Instantly fascinated. And as the bath runs, we now have the Ghost Game: she’ll cover the torch and I’ll approach going “woooooo!” and as I get nearer she’ll whip her finger off, brandish the white light at me and I’ll shrink back á la Peter Cushing. And the the cycle continues. And she swaps roles, being the ghost as well. 

She is so going to thank me in ten years when she reads The Red Room!

And now she’s started signing for the game by using the actions of the ghost – accompanied by a “WoooOOOoo” – which is pretty much the ghost sign in BSL.

Good!

I have waited so long for this sign. For Daisy to use language – signed or otherwise – for communication rather than transaction. Currently, pretty much all her language is about transaction: getting stuff she wants done. 

It’s because of this that – in the tumbleweed moment at our meeting with the Educational Psychologist when she asked what outcomes we wanted – I asked that “to express her feelings and emotions” be used at her desired EHCP outcome. 

And, as is typical of her, after months of using the sign and modelling it – particularly with the help of The Fox And The Star, which tells us that “Even when the rain fell, Fox felt fine…”, suddenly she uses it spontaneously and entirely appropriately in a completely different context. In this case, whilst getting into the bath. One foot in, one foot out, she looked at me, looked at her hands and very carefully, very deliberately raised her thumbs. 

A minute later, the ‘good’ sign was linked to other signs: bath good, daddy good, Daisy good….

This morning, I asked if she was good and she shook her head. In fairness, it was very early and she did appear to be in a somewhat grumpy mood. But, when she found my laptop and we put Frozen on, we had another little happy squeal, a finger pointed to the screen and the “good” sign returned!

And it is the cutest sign ever!

Poop

It’s one of those difficult milestones for Daisy: does she know when she has been to toilet?

How do you know this when the child in question is non-verbal? She had never come to us in the past distressed because her nappy was full but that doesn’t mean she didn’t know….

But now we can confidently say “yes” to this question.

When she has gone, she will sometimes come up to us, point to the nappy and blow a big fat raspberry to say that she has gone! Ppphhhtthhhhpppp! Not really a word, not a sign, but certainly enough to make herself understood.

If asked then, “Have you done a poo?” she will reply “Yes,” and always be right. Sometimes she makes the noise but, when asked, say “no,” which generally means she’s had a good fart and wanted to share that news!

Six Word Sentence

Oops that’s just me…. hang on…

This is one of Daisy’s favourite places. With the recent summer Sun, it’s one we’ve spent a lo g time in.

And last week I asked Daisy what she wanted to do after lunch and she signed “Daisy”, “Daddy”, “Swim”, “River”, “Tree” and “Dog”.

Whilst it’s very much dominated by nouns, it is easily translated to “I’d like to swim with Daddy in the river next to the tree where the dogs swim”. Which is a very accurate and detailed description of the above scene!

Beauty And The Beast

Image result for Beauty and the beast

We took Daisy to see Beauty and the Beast on Saturday 3rd June: a last minute last weekend of the half-term treat. Personally, I thought it was an unnecessary re-make: the additions to the story were ineffective and the new songs dull. And I didn’t like the clompy way Beast walked: I much preferred the fluid menacing grace of the cartoon. And Emma Watson very much underwhelmed…. but hey ho. This isn’t a review of the film. And Daisy loved it, really engaging with the narrative – especially in the fight scenes – watching very intently as Gaston fought Beast and whooping with a lovely “Yay!” and fist bump when Gaston fell to his grisly death! Much to the amusement – or possibly irritation – of the people around us.

However, coming back to language, when we went to see the film, I walked Daisy into the cinema earlier in the day so it was familiar, introduced her to the sign for cinema and I signed “Beauty” and “Beast” pointing to the pictures on the poster…

And on Monday, we were driving towards the cinema again and heard an excited squeal from her. When I turned around, she signed the Beast sign as clear as you’d like! Literally forty-eight hours after she’d last seen it and, before Saturday, we had never used the Beast sign as a proper noun, only as the generic “animal” sign.

Spider-Man

Another balloon-based post…

We have a card shop where we live. It sells balloons… cheap ones out the front to tempt in toddler pester power!

Well we passed it today and Daisy wanted a balloon. Quel Suprise! 

And yes, maybe, perhaps a little bit, I could be seen as guilty of gender stereotyping – but I know what she likes so assumed she was pointing to Peppa Pig or Frozen … until she signed very clearly the sign for “spider”. 

Now, I’ve known that she’s known the sign for spider for a while.

And she has come across Spider-man on various Learn Colours With Heroes type videos on You Tube but they’ve never been signed. Maybe I’ve used the verbal word “Spider-man”. But she’s not seen any Spider-man films or cartoons so she’s got no awareness of the origin story. And he looks more man than spider. 

But,  somehow, from just this balloon

she recognised that there was something spidery going on and that she possessed an appropriate sign.

And used it.

Thank You

For the eighteen months or two years that we have been signing, we’ve said “Thank you” in shops and when playing and taking turns. She knows the sign but needs to be prompted to use it.

Yesterday – in McDonald’s in Salisbury – I asked an attendant for a balloon. It had been that long a day. Balloons were required. Needed. Needed now! And, when the lady went to collect one, I prompted Daisy to say “Thank you”, which she did. And for the first time in these last two years, the lady attendant signed “Thank you” back.

The first time.

In two years.

We normally get an “awww” or “ahhh” but not a single person has ever just signed back, as if it were a normal thing to do. 

So, thank you to that lady in Salisbury McDonald’s. Thank you.