Amongst those adoring people in Noah's life is suddenly Jamie. Our no-drama approach to the 'hurting babies' thing seems to have worked, and he has moved through this testing of emotions time into sudden brotherly affection, protection and even camaraderie. The two of the will engage in communal raspberry blowing or squealing given half the chance, delighting the the reaction of the other, egging each other on. I get a brief glimpse into my future here and realise I'm totally out-numbered!!
Jamie is also learning to sign in ASL, initially inspired by a desire to communicate with this uncle Danny. This learning is completely his initiative and has caused one of the moments this week where I have simply had to stop and stare at him, this tall, smart, thoughtful boy. I want to tell the story of this sequence of moments here but its a little drawn out. Skip to the bottom now if you're short of time or inclination :)
We chat about Danny fairly frequently. Not so much what makes him different, but more what makes him 'him'. Dan has severe autism and things are unusual in his relationships to others, including limited speech. This won't come as news to any of you who spend time with children, but they have a remarkable way of taking all things in stride, and from day one nothing about Dan has phased Jamie.
I am keen on 'please' and 'thank you' being said often in our family and this was the stepping stone to the question 'how do you ask for things if you can't talk?' Well, uncle Dan uses some signs, and we playfully showed Jamie 'please', 'thank you' and 'I need to pee' amongst others. Next we chat about how else we talk with our hands (waving goodbye, thumbs up, stop...) and he started inventing his own ('Please may I get down from the table' with lots of wild pointing, waving gestures where he nearly knocks his water tumbling onto the floor, and Marti and I are trying so hard to stifle giggles at this earnest display).
This long story ends like this: tonight, a whole day after the signing conversation, we are eating supper and J asks for a drink. He asks twice, but I won't make a move until he says the obligatory 'please' and he knows it, but alas he has put another fork full of mash and peas into his mouth.
I wait, but the drink situation is obviously urgent and we suddenly realise he is signing 'please' in his uncoordinated, 3 year old, but unmistakable way. I am momentarily stopped in my tracks by the way my first born baby has not only remembered the demonstration with no hint to a prompt, but integrated and transferred it to this situation. And he didn't talk with his mouth full. There is hope yet :)
The universe is blossoming everywhere I look.