Put a Bib on It

Talking with Our Hands

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Pointing is vital to early language development. And a great conversation starter!My daughter has been “babbling” for months, much like a little consonant-chugging motor boat, and I’ve thrilled at this early toying with language. But within the last month she’s begun to point, and I have to say, it is The Coolest. I recall reading a few months ago about the importance of pointing in an infant’s language development, and I’ve really enjoyed doing more with Miss E than just simply giving her the names of things when she starts waving digits about.

While I know she’s been communicating with me since birth, pointing (in conjunction with waving, which she began to do at the same time) is something I can attach so much more meaning to than fifteen kinds of crying. And what’s she’s expressing to me now is more than just a need to be held or fed or changed (all of which are important, of course); she’s beginning to converse.

Because my husband and I have noticed she doesn’t always look in the direction that she’s pointing, and that very often she’ll hear a loud or a strange sound and she’ll point up. While I may be dead wrong, the fact that I’ve observed this over and over again makes me think that she’s thinking lots of things. “What is that noise?” “Do you hear it, too?” “Where is it coming from?” So when she points, I try to answer all of these questions… and then some.

Of course, there are gestures which need no interpretation. As I made coffee a few mornings ago, I heard her crawling down the hallway and incorrectly assumed she was following me (another new favorite game). She was making a beeline for her diaper bag and the snack container sitting on the floor beside it. She looked at the snack container, pointed to it, and then looked up at me without relaxing her finger.

Message received, Miss E. Message received.

Author: Jillian Kuhlmann

Mama. Nerd. Writer.

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