I'd like to thank whomever invented sign language and whomever thought it would be a good idea to teach it to babies and toddlers. THANK YOU!
And to any of you parents that don't think it works or aren't sure that it is worthwhile, you're just being silly. It's the BEST BEST BEST LIFESAVER in the Universe when you are the mother of a child who's vocabulary is non-existent.
At a year and a half, Ada can already sign:
Brush your teeth
and maybe a few more I can't remember off the top of my head.
That might not seem like a lot, but when you are communicating with someone who can't say any words, it's awesome, enlightening and worth every minute I spent learning and repeating the signs.
Not having been around many children or watching them grow up since I'm the youngest sibling and within a year of my cousins, I really don't know when to expect her to start talking like a little person does. I guess I just figured it would be at 8 months or something and she'd be quoting Shakespeare at her first birthday party. Obviously not. So this is working for me as a temporary band-aid. I hear that babies with older siblings start talking/walking/etc sooner because they are more motivated. I get that. And maybe that will be the case when we have another one and I won't be so desperate to translate what he/she needs. Hopefully experience with the first one will help reduce that learning curve too.
Until then, I'm happy that she is signing. I'm also glad to see that she waves bye-bye when people leave, is slowly mastering blowing kisses, and gives occasional high-fives. That's all BIG in my world.
I'm grateful for the things she is starting to say and the potential they hold: A-duh, Da-Da, Ma-Ma, Bubba, AHHHH! EKKK! and that's about it (unless you count panting at dogs and barking). I think she's starting to get it and I hear that once she does, we won't get her to shut-up ever again. But I've heard that extreme with each milestone and my kid just seems to be on the "slow and steady wins the race" track. She took her time learning to crawl, same with walking, still hasn't really started running -- walking fast or with spurts of energy-- and is still taking her time.
For all of that, I am thankful.
Moral of the story: Save even a tiny portion of your sanity by teaching your toddler to sign -- even if it is only More, All done, Milk, and Food, you'll be so happy you did and save so many unnecessary tears from being shed.