A few months back, Annie and I got a book on baby sign language from the library to make it a little easier for Hazel to start putting together ideas and words. And it’s been pretty cool when she figures out that when she does the sign for "milk" it means she wants her milk, or when she does the sign for "please" she’s asking please. But on some level, I wondered if she really got what she was saying. Until one day, we were playing with a box where I’d push her around making rocket-ship noises, and when I stopped, she signed “more!” And I was super excited about this, because we had been thinking she was confusing “more” to only mean “food.” Her brain really was making the connection after all!
When that light clicks on—when we go from not understanding to suddenly comprehending, it can be like a spotlight in the night. It’s like if you ever find yourself in a room filled with people speaking, but you have no idea what they’re saying or what they’re talking about, when suddenly you hear someone completely familiar to you—whether it’s English in a room full of Spanish speakers, or a Southern accent in the midst of a bunch of Midwesterners. It’s like when you hear your name over the cacophony of a room. When we suddenly understand, it captures our attention.