Simon has been talking up a storm lately. Especially animals. He loves his animals. When he stacks his blocks, he first find the side with the animal and tells me what it is.
So, he's not actually using his voice - but rather baby sign language to communicate. He knows over 40 words, at least half of which are animals. I remember the first time he did a sign back to me. He said "please" asking for more more crackers on a flight from Mozambique to Jo'berg. Once he realized that we could actually communicate this way, he picked up words pretty quickly. If I were a better teacher I am sure he would know double or triple the signs.
Sometimes we improvise . For example, I didn't know the sign for skunk - on one of his blocks - so we came up with one ourselves. (Pinch your nose and saw "ewwww.") Or when Uncle Ti came for Thanksgiving, he made a sign for himself. (Flex your muscles - that's Ti!). Whenever Simon sees the picture of Ti in the hallway, he flexes his muscles!
Signing has been fantastic for us. Simon is able to communicate most of his needs - more, milk, water, eat, help - along with learning good manners (please, thank you). It has definitely made life easier for both of us.
Interested in learning more. Here's the book we used, although I am sure there are many great resources out there.