Somebody asked about what baby signs we're using, so we thought we'd post a little about the sign language we're trying out. Most kids who have spent some time in a baby house are a little speech delayed - they just haven't had somebody working with them one on one like a parent does. One of the ways to get them thinking linguistically and expressing their needs and wants, even if their little mouths are having trouble forming the words, is to use sign language along with spoken English.
We didn't use baby signs with Sam or Ben, so although we were familiar with the concept we hadn't ever actually tried it out. Before we left for Kaz (during those endless months of waiting) we started researching baby signs so we would be prepared if we wanted them in country. We got a book from Borders (there are dozens out there, if you're interested just go to a book store and page through them until you find one you like. Or just get the one that's on sale). We read it through and then photocopied the signs that seemed most useful so that we didn't have to bring the whole book with us (the luggage weight limit rules our lives!). There are also tons of baby sign sites on the Internet if you want to do some research without laying out the $15 for a book.
The signs are just ASL signs, although sometimes a book will simplify one or two of the more complicated motions for little hands. The signs we've been using are:
- All done
Today was the first day that Sasha has actually signed anything to us (Mama) and it was such a thrill! She was obviously very proud of herself as she put her little fist to her chin and said "Mama" and we are really encouraged that pairing the signs with the English words is helping to make some connections.
We've been collecting photos from our strolls around Karaganda. Here's a shot of my favorite mode of transportation here - the kid sled! We've seen very few strollers here, but tons of baby sleds and they just make so much sense in a place covered in snow for a good part of the year! The sleds either have bars to push them, like this one, or they're towed with a rope, either way they're always loaded up with a (usually sleeping) toddler or baby in a gigantic snowsuit.
And did you check out the heels on the mom?!? Seriously, I have no idea how they do it, but most of the women wear boots with heels while walking around the snow-covered streets of Kazakhstan. Steve and I have near-death experiences every day on icy stairs and sidewalks while wearing our gigantic boots... those women have a sense of balance that far exceeds ours.
Papa came out ahead in today's visits - he got to kiss Shura's "hurt" hand after she "pinched" it in a cabinet, "burned" it on the heater, and "hit" it with the balloon (see yesterday's post for an explanation of the "Sash pretends to hurt her hand and needs a thousand kisses" game). We're just tickled pink that she's coming to us when she's in need of comfort, mock or no. Yesterday, Mama got to do all of the comforting, but it was great to see her go to Papa a couple of times today when her hand needed kissing.
And Papa got his first Sasha kisses today! It was a very sweet day all around.
Prayer requests: Please pray with us that Sasha would continue to look to Steve and me for comfort, cuddles, and consoling when times are tough or she's hurting. We are so encouraged by the really healthy steps toward trusting and dependence she's already taken and please continue to pray that she will continue to look to us, not just as cool people to hang out with, but as Mom and Dad.