Perhaps Maddie has a little too much on her plate right now to bother with verbal communication. She’s been taking baby steps, climbing stairs and working very hard on her non-verbal communication skills. As if that weren’t enough, she got vaccinations in three of her four major limbs on Friday. She took the shots like a champ, but was extra crispy off and on all day Saturday.
But even with that little added flavor, Maddie is ratcheting up her communication skills – even if she is not bothering to use any words yet. Our little girl is becoming quite proficient at showing us what she wants and when she wants it.
I’m also becoming suspicious of exactly how much English she already understands. Maddie is beginning to demonstrate a level of reaction to language that goes beyond inflection and tone of voice. That’s not to say that the baby is complying with parental requests, it’s just becoming apparent that she knows what we are asking and is choosing to ignore us.
She is also becoming more and more proficient at entertaining the people around her. She inherently knows the tricks to get people stop, take notice and smile at her. Even when we were leaving the pediatrician’s office on Friday, the doctor rushed out so she could say goodbye to Maddie before she left.
So for now, we are absolutely enjoying the games of communication cat and mouse with the baby. But it seems like she is ready to break down and start speaking to us at any moment.
Yesterday Maddie was tearing her hair out because she couldn’t open the flip phone. Today her casual flip and open the phone method rivaled that of James T. Kirk’s dialing up the Starship Enterprisewith his trusty communicator.
This was quite a polished and practiced motion for a girl who seemed more likely to bite the thing in half just last night. But that’s how Maddie rolls, she likes to figure things out on her own and does not want any help. This is all fine and dandy except when it comes more dangerous pursuits like climbing the stairs.
Getting Maddie to come down the stairs backwards has been an exercise in futility. No matter how many times we spin her around, she wants to head off the stairs face first.
Maddie had been dealing with a sour tummy lately, but she rebounded nicely today with a twinkle in her eye and mischief in her heart. Tomorrow is the big event where Maddie travels to western Jersey to spend the day with Grandma. We’ve warned grandma that Maddie is capable of superhuman, mind-numbing speed – but it must be witnessed to be believed. Good luck Grandma!
With a full day scheduled with the relatives, dad’s day with the baby was going to be extremely limited. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a very rare occurrence for Maddie and her dad to be separated for any extended period of time.
Knowing this beforehand, I had to make the most of my time with Maddie. The baby sounded the wakeup call some time before 6am. After her bottle we spent some time playing on the floor and then headed outside.
We had some serious talking to do during breakfast, so we hit our usual spots and then headed for the stone benches at the city courthouse. I swung the stroller around to face me and we started eating our breakfast.
We made jokes together and I talked about father and daughter stuff. Maddie didn’t really seem to understand our conversation, but she definitely seems to enjoy it. Of course Maddie isn’t speaking yet, but that has yet to negatively impact the depth of our conversations.
About halfway through our meal, Maddie started proclaiming her thoughts in some unintelligible baby talk. This seemed to delight several commuters that were on their way to the path station. The louder Maddie got, the more attention she captured. And the more attention she got with her antics, the more entertaining this little show became.
Maddie is highly tuned into her surroundings now and is already showing signs of being hyper-observant like her father. I let her entertain the general public for about ten extra minutes before finally packing her up and heading home.
It was a strange feeling knowing that I was leaving her for the day, but I am already charged up and ready to make it up to her tomorrow.
Maddie can’t speak yet, but she is announcing her presence with authority. A weekend surrounded by family really has her communication skills soaring. It may not be English, but her screeches, groans, gurgles and infectious giggles tell us that Maddie has a great deal to say.
She is becoming more and more opinionated with each passing day and her progression is both impressive and adorable at the same time. Some studies note that more than 90 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. If that’s the case, Maddie is coming through loud and clear.
Her keen powers of observation coupled with her sense of humor indicate that she is more than ready to start speaking. She is always lighting people up with that perpetual smile. Maddie has already mastered the high-octane scream coupled with her prolific raspberry splatter patterns. But what’s most interesting is that little words seem to be popping up in her babble.
Maddie has always been fascinated by speech and always watches intently as we speak. She often works her mouth as if she is trying to tell us something. Little words like “hi” and “night, night” seem to be creeping into her verbal landscape a bit more each day.
I’m not sure when Maddie will actually begin to speak, but she doesn’t seem terribly interested in waiting much longer.
I have always been that jerky guy who keeps a running commentary going with the television while watching televised sports. I have long been guilty of praising, criticizing or hurling invectives at various athletes, teams, games officials and even commentators.
However, this little habit of mine has been undergoing a dramatic transformation thanks to Maddie, my stunning 6-month-old daughter. More and more, instead of taking the deafening verbal route, I’m keeping my comments to myself or making quick little noises to telepathically communicate with all of those blind sports officials and inept commentators.
There is a funny television commercial (link at the bottom) where a guy is watching a football game on his phone while having a romantic dinner with his significant other. When she accuses him of watching the game, he asks her, “What am I, some kind of summoner, who can just summon footage to his phone when he wants?”
As the commercial continues, the gentleman keeps a perfectly straight face but keeps reacting to the game with an oooh and a yesss!
This is very much the way Maddie’s father watches sports with her in the room now. When I make any noise, she snaps her attention over to me to see what I’m up to. Just like the guy in the commercial, I focus on Maddie so there is no evidence of any real emotion towards the television.
And when Maddie is sleeping on her Dad, sports must be watched with a Zen like serenity. No matter what malfeasance befalls my team or athlete, it is not worth waking up the baby. This reorganization of thought and actions is very foreign to me, but it is also strangely calming. Sporting events are actually much more enjoyable when you can put them into the proper perspective. This is yet another item on a long list of things I have to thank Maddie for.
In her latest attempt to shake things up, Maddie has decided that the tried and true method of carrying her back and forth is no longer an acceptable mode of transportation. The baby is now demanding full disclosure in all matters regarding getting from point A to point B.
There was a time not so long ago, (maybe 3 days ago) when Maddie was perfectly happy to be carried around with her face hidden in the arms of her father. But due to some new disturbance in the force, Maddie has decided on a radical shift in parental policy.
Kicking old policy to the curb, Maddie decreed that from now on (unless she’s ready for sleep) she must be kept in the loop at all times. This means that anytime she is picked up or moved, she must to be facing front and center so she can see where she’s going on how she is getting there. Her full disclosure policy includes providing a clear field of vision so she can evaluate who the people are around her and what they are doing.
Maddie is more alert than ever before and is unwilling to take a chance that she might possibly miss something. The baby must be able to see all the action and events unfolding around her at all times. Her communication skills are developing on a daily basis and she has a great deal to share with us. Her little personality seems to be stuck in overdrive and she literally gets sweeter every time you see her.
What’s even more interesting is Maddie’s rapidly developing sense of independence. She likes to be in the middle of all the action, but does not necessarily need to be the center of attention. Maddie is so locked in and focused on everything that is happening around her, that you are afraid to deprive her of a single moment.