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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Signs of Sleep 

I traded e-mails with my old neighbor from Louisiana, C---, this morning, and relayed to her one of those stories I missed blogging over the past week. She was curious about how we're teaching Celeste some rudimentary signs, and I noted that while she isn't learning a full language (in this case ASL), just scattered signs. However, those modified ASL signs correlate to English words that she can hear and understand but can't say herself yet, and thus being able to point at the table and say BABY or WATER or BOOK helps her get what she wants without much confusion or frustration.

For example, this afternoon when I got home, Evelin said that Celeste would probably be ready for a nap within the half-hour. Sure enough, after a little while, Celeste was looking a bit glassy-eyed and her play activities were slowing down, so I asked her if she wanted to go upstairs to take a nap. Remember this is a girl who generally doesn't like to sleep, but she knows when she's knackered.

She smiled and made her little full-body thump that correlates with yes. (Simply nodding is a bit subtle for her.) On the way up the stairs, I asked if she wanted her blankie, and she started tapping her chest — YES PLEASE. As of right now (and she'll probably make me regret typing it), she's been asleep for 20+ minutes.

She's also learning to use her signs as conversation starter. For example on Friday night, when she awoke at about 3:00 a.m., I went in to try to soothe her back to sleep. She wasn't having it, however. But instead of just crying, she started pulling out tricks. She asked for a book, and then rolled herself into a sitting position.

[ASIDE: Mind you, she's only just figured out how to get herself from laying down to sitting up; yes, she figured out how to walk before she figured out how to pull herself to a standing position, and she figured out how to pull herself to standing before she figured out how to get herself into a seated position. We expect her to figure out crawling around 2008, probably just after she starts bicycling.]

Anyway, once she was seated, Celeste started pointing to the pictures of cats and dogs on her bedsheet, making the sign for each animal and saying their noise. Point to dog; slap leg; bark. Point to cat; put hands to mouth; make purr/raspberry.

She knew exactly what she was doing. There was no way I couldn't pause to praise and encourage her for both the sitting and the talking about doggies and kitties. After a few minutes however (and it was dark, so I couldn't be 100% sure she was pointing at cats when she said CAT or dogs when she said DOG), I did lay her back down, give her a new pacifier and lay her blankie over her and encouraged her to go back to sleep.

I think it worked for about half an hour.

Actually, the end of last week up to last night (and here's another thing I'm going to jinx by blogging it), she was sleeping terribly. Last night, despite the occasionally noisy trick-or-treater, she slept through to about 6:30 a.m. For the five or so days prior, however, it was sleep until midnight or 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. then up for an hour or two — either for the entire period or waking in 20-minute intervals. A leap is possible (my standard excuse), but she's also pushing through the last two one-year molars. Right now she has 1112 or so teeth (I'm not sure how far along that last lower molar is), but she's also flinching a little around the eyeteeth during brushing so there may be one or two more on their way ...

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