Communication At It’s Finest

Today I decided that I want to write about my darling baby. Now if you haven’t noticed my username; it’s ‘the dwagon’ there is a story behind that name, but I’m not going to divulge that particular story at the moment. Anyway, my little boo was coincidentally born in the year of the dragon (2012). So she is now Little Dwagon.

Little Dwagon is learning sign language, and therefore so am I. It has been an amazing experience, and she now knows enough that we can communicate with each other fairly well. She is well on her way to communicating her needs, and expressing herself. One day she will have the potential to be an excellent writer like her mom.

One critical reason that toddlers throw tantrums is the very natural response to being frustrated when they can’t communicate their wants and needs. This reason is why I started teaching her (well that, and the thought of how phenomenal it would be to share an esoteric language with someone). Now that she knows quite a few signs, when I hear a tantrum coming on, I say to her “Use your signs baby. Do you want milk?” As I say the word milk I move my hand in and out of a fist with my thumb up like I am milking a cow.

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If she indeed wants milk she will make the sign back, and nod her head vigorously. If not, I will go through other signs until we figure out what she wants.

One thing that I have noticed while raising Little Dwagon, is that she will become very upset if I decide to leave the room without her. It’s not that she can’t follow me. She has been walking since she was 9 months old. I assume it’s because she doesn’t know where I’m going, and that she has an irrational fear that if she doesn’t know where I am at all times then I will be swallowed up by a black hole. Once I started signing where I was going, she immediately switched gears, and was perfectly content. So now for instance, when I have to use the restroom, I sign ‘potty’ to her by shaking my fist back and forth with my thumb in between my pointer and middle finger. I still hear the pitter patter of little feet following behind as make my trek to the restroom, but instead of high pitched shrieking, I hear the giggles of a baby girl that is oddly ecstatic about entering the bathroom. This is communication at it’s finest.

Language is crucial for humanity. Our ability to communicate our needs, and desires directly effects our happiness. Imagine being a one year old just learning about body language, and not having the capability to talk. I can imagine the gears spinning in Little Dwagon’s head. She points at something, and says “Dueh”. She said exactly what she wanted to say, and doesn’t expect to get anything less then what she asked for. Sometimes I’m baffled by what she wants, and after giving her a couple things that were in the general direction of where she pointed, and the obviousness of her dissatisfaction when she throws each thing I gave her to the ground, she finally gives in to her frustration at not being able to articulate what she wants by bending her body down, yelling, and throwing her arms at the ground like she’s trying to get rid of something. Admittedly I laugh. I think it’s extremely cute when I see snippets of her personality. It’s times like these when I remember that she is not a baby, but a little person.

It is a writers job to communicate a story, or an idea in a way that inspires other people. The other side to being a writer is a lot like mothering a one year old. There is a general direction in which a writer is pointed, and it’s up to the writer to figure out what a reader wants. Sometimes your off base, sometimes your head on. I just put in the effort to remember to keep trying new things, in hopes of becoming a better communicator. Little Dwagon has a lot to learn in this department, but that only means that I have a lot to teach her. It also means that I have to continue to be vigilant when it comes to deciphering what she wants.

At thirteen months she knows how to communicate using many signs, milk, all done, eat, drink, ball, bath, dog, diaper, elephant, and outside are among her favorites. She amazes me every day, and not only that; she inspires me. As young as she is, she is learning at a tremendous rate, and learning not just one language, but four. Everyday she learns about body language, and emotional language in addition to the english language, and sign language. I would love to be able to learn a new language as fast as she can, but while being envious of my daughter is super productive, I have decided to put my energy else where. Even though I can’t learn a new language as fast as she can, I can still continue to learn my old language.

While counting the number of exact words in the english language is near impossible, we can be safe to assume that there are at least a quarter of a million words (not including slang, or inflections etc…). I know only about quarter of that, probably less. An article done by BBC News says that a normal person should easily know about 33,000 words. There is an overwhelming quantity of words out there, that we have no idea exists! To me that’s mind-blowing, and yes I get excited easily. Anyway my point is this…I want to learn more words. I want to embed unknown words into my every day sentences until it becomes natural. More then that I want to become a proficient communicator. Who says that I can’t learn words as fast as Little Dwagon does? I’ll be a better writer for it.

Do you know a weird, or interesting word that isn’t normally used? Help me expand my vocabulary. 🙂

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