Talking to a toddler can feel super awkward. Long waits as my grandchildren try to respond to my questions are hard for me, but learning how each one of them thinks is a fascinating way to start my life with them. It helps to start listening before our babies know how to talk. Babies create their own sign language. With Carter, a late bloomer age 18 months, we are all becoming expert at reading his signs. He marched into my kitchen yesterday and pointed at me. Both his sister and I thought he wanted pretzels. We gave him pretzels. We were right. Last week Carter pushed a toy stroller around the dinner table. When I looked in the empty stroller and asked, “Where is your baby doll?” he marched out of the room and went to find the doll. It was on top of a shelf. He screeched until I found it and gave it to him whereupon he put baby doll into the stroller and marched around the table again.
Carter doesn’t speak in words, yet. Conversations without words can be interesting too. Watching what he does tells us a lot about what he is thinking. His signs make us hope he will be a good daddy when he grows up.