Saturday, November 24, 2007

Baby Talk

Just over six months ago, when my Exceptional Niece Abigail® was born, the whole family spent hours bent over her in wondering attitudes, rapt. We analyzed every squint and gurgle, trying to puzzle out what she might be thinking.

Well, sit down on a sturdy chair and move your coffee mug away from the keyboard because my dears, I've cracked the code.

Dolores* and I were sitting in front of the television a couple of morning ago giving each other pedicures and watching "Today" when Meredith Viera introduced a segment on babies and sign language. Apparently it's been discovered that long before they can say, "Uncle Franklin, don't you agree that Barney the Dinosaur is utterly jejune?" in so many words, they can be positively chatty by means of wiggling and waving.

At least I think that was the idea. I only caught the first part of the report because just as Meredith and some doctor with three names were getting to the heart of the matter, Dolores choked on the fruit in her cosmo and nearly severed my Little Piggy Who Had None with the nail file. By the time we stemmed the bleeding and cleaned up the carpet, "Today" had moved on to Al Roker interviewing Angelina Jolie's former housekeeper's sister-in-law's best friend's college roommate about her views on Afghanistan.

However, I was still fascinated by the thought that Abigail might have been signing to us all this time. I grabbed the first three volumes of her baby book and began poring over the snapshots for any hint of intelligibility. And lo, armed with my newly acquired scientific knowledge, it took mere minutes to bridge the communication gap that once yawned betwixt uncle and niece.

Below, a few astonishing examples of Abigail's baby sign language translated into idiomatic English.

Sockless

A couple skeins of Socks That Rock would be a great Christmas present.

Rough Night

Can we talk about this later? I was up until midnight reading an article on sleeve caps in the new Interweave Knits.

Rock

A rock? We hiked all this way for a @$%!* rock? I thought there was going to be a @$#% yarn store up here.

Surprise

Have you seen the pile of lost stitch markers under our sofa?

Phbbbt

I got my Ravelry invitation before you did.

Reading

Oh, it's quite good. But what I'm really looking forward to is the reissue of
The Principles of Knitting.

*Don't forget...the Dolores Look-Alike Contest deadline is 28 November!

41 comments:

Mel said...

That's quite the vocabulary she's got there. Are you sure you're gonna be able to keep up?

Cherice said...

Wow!! She's quite chatty. She is absolutely beautiful.

Aidan said...

She is so delicious. I don't know how you can resist just nibbling of those little fingerses and toesies!

I can't wait until she is old enough to come spend summers with Uncle Franklin and all of her other "uncles" can take her shopping for back to school clothes.

dale-harriet said...

You're just that CLEVER! It's true, you have cracked it, I'm sure. Hmmm...I wonder if your theory could apply to cats?!?!?! (And I'm with aiden; that is the sweetest little punkin I ever saw...since my own sweetums started smoking cigarettes and playing billiards.)

Pearls Mother said...

Such a clever, chatty and cute girl.
She obviously has been spending quality time with 'Aunty Dolores'.

Lindy

anne marie in philly said...

she IS da bomb!

the snoopy quilt is loverly also.

and WTF are you and dolores doing giving each other pedicures? woo hoo!

maniacalmultitasker said...

She's GROWN! I hope you get to spend a lot of time with her. She is DA BOMB! Abigail is such a lucky to have you for an uncle!

knititch said...

you are so incredibly funny. babies what a nice thing. and the thing is they get funnier.
my great niece's norgi pullover that i knit for her disappeared . it turned out she took it to daycare to sleep with. soooo cute. she quite liked the wool i bought yesterday at the tender age of one. i will have to get her some needles for christmas. passing on the torch.

Anonymous said...

You are adorable and clever, and you will not go wrong with sign language for the baby. I highly recommend http://www.signingtime.com/product_info.php?cPath=41&products_id=63 after purchasing it for my grandson. In the 6 months since he got it for his first birthday, he (and we) know about 50 signs; the communication is up and the frustration for everyone is down.

Luv ya Franklin!

Sheila in Ohio

Lynn said...

Franklin, would you kindly get around to having kids yourself sometime soon? (I know: touchy subject. Sorry.) We need more of your genes spread around this benighted planet.

Emma in France said...

I wish you were my uncle...

(Seriously, my uncle's great.) But still...

Joe said...

Who wouldn't want an Uncle Franklin...although I do have two bones to pick (so to speak) with you about the Exceptional Niece Abigail®'s vocabulary and taste.

First of all, I find it hard to believe that lovely child would resort to profanity unless absolutely necessary, and second, I'm sure part of what she's saying about the rock is that at least it provided some raison d'etre by having a Latin inscription.

kmkat said...

The Ravelry invitation thing cracked me up. Thanks for warning me to set the coffee aside before viewing; otherwise you would have owed me a new keyboard :)

Judy F said...

Beautiful child...

knit chick said...

The Exceptional Niece Abigail® is adorable! She's such a smart, focused and chatty little thing (and very lucky to have an Exceptional Uncle Franklin®)!

Ms. P said...

Exceptional Niece Abigail® is sooo adorable! It seems like she arrived only yesterday...

Congratulations on breaking the language barrier. It warms the cockles of my heart to see Uncle Franklin's and Auntie Dolores' fine taste in fiber seeping into the next generation of knitters.

(BTW, your readership will always be happy to oogle and coo over photos of your ENA®!)

Not Jenny said...

I love your captions! You almost made me spit coffee on the monitor I laughed so hard! We sign at our house because my oldest boy cannot speak. I think I need to teach him your signs now.

MonicaPDX said...

Not only a chatty, but I note from that last pic that she's going to be a keen reader. Hurray, Abigail; attagirl!

anneonymousone said...

If the only people that the Hardhearted Alien Angels of Death (or whomever) met on a visit to Planet Earth were you, Exceptional Niece Abigail® and her parents, I know they would spare the rest of us for being dipsticks and allow the planet to go on.

Lovely people. Thank you for saving us again.

Cindy G said...

Obviously an exceptionally intelligent child.

aliassak said...

She's absolutely beautiful. I lurve babies.

Meredith said...

Thank you for the warning about moving my drink away from the keyboard. Had I not, I'd now be trying to get tea out of it...

Abigail's vocabulary is brilliant! And she has excellent taste :)

Windsornot said...

Abigail is brilliant! And how perceptive of you to have cracked the code.

Like Sheila from Ohio, in all seriousness, teaching babies to sign is really cool, and it actually helps them communicate more at an earlier age, especially for those who are not as gifted as you, Uncle Franklin. My son has a speech impairment that is neurologically based, (cognitively, he's fine, mind you), and once we started using sign language with him, life calmed down a lot more because we could understand what his needs were better or what he liked. He talks quite well now, thanks to lots of speech therapy, but the sign language was a great bridge for us until he could learn to "use his words" out loud. In still remembering some of it, I can still use a few signs with a friend of mine who is slightly hearing impaired! :-P

KnitNana said...

Um. Excuse me, Franklin? What is Abigail's name on Ravelry? I'd like to "friend" her!
lol
What a doll she is! You should rightfully be VERY proud! (especially of her excellent taste in sock yarn!) *wink*
(((hugs)))

Sock Knitter said...

Brilliant child! (and Uncle for being able to read her!)

And, do you have MORE info on this reissue of The Principles of Knitting -- I've been hearing this for the past 4 years -- but nothing solid!

Cat said...

She definitely has the cute factor going, let alone a born knitter.

Hugs!!!!

David said...

See, and I thought the second photo down was her saying "call my stylist, STAT!"

lin said...

She just gets cuter with each new photo you post.

Seanna Lea said...

Ok, I think the ravelry invite one is the most alluring (because sticking your tongue out is a very important life skill). Quite charming.

Deniasha said...

Ah-ha! A born knitter, we just had to prove it. Now, Franklin, have you put knitting needles in her hands yet? That always insures she will be a knitter!

CynicalGal said...

Aww, don't you just love being the cool uncle!

gail said...

That abigail is certainly very, very cute--and intelligent!! How did you get such a cute, cut niece?? Must have been Delores' influence.

Carrie said...

ACK! That is one beautiful baby. How clever of you to have cracked the code! =)

TracyKM said...

Actually, in the picture with the rock, she's saying "Get me out of this crappy Bjorn; it's bad for my hips and spine. I want a KozyKarrier or an Ergo!" LOL.
You might be interested in learning about Dunstan Baby Language, a woman with perfect pitch who has been able to identify, cross-cultures, six key sounds all babies make up to about 12 weeks (they keep making the sounds, based on reflex movements, but then they start adding more). It's fascinating.

Mary Lynn said...

Amazing, totally amazing. She says so many of the same things I do in the same manner! WOW.

She is not only incredibly articulate, but beautiful. And blessed to have an Uncle Franklin to spoil her.

Carol said...

I used sign language with both my kids and it works wonders. LYS is the same sign as cookie because they always got a treat when we went there. (It was a Pavlovian experiment)

p.s. The Snoopy quilt is adorable!

Dr. Steph said...

Next you'll start scrap booking.

She sure is smart.

Diane said...

Well..... the board book, Nicky 1-2-3, is OK, but Abigail would prefer this book about sheep:(she told me--sheep are in her future plans)




Little Lamb: Finger Puppet Book (Finger Puppet Books)

by Lenz Mulligan Rights & Co-edit
In Stock


Price: $6.95

36 used & new from $1.40

DawnK said...

What cute captions! It made me laugh out loud! Oh yeah, cute little munchkin, too!

judy, the el rider said...

I've been thinking we hadn't seen any of Abigail lately ande, lo, here she is chatting away. She is, indeed gorgeous and she will be a hit in Chicago, when she makes her first appearance.

marie in florida said...

that's you teaching her to talk alright! this would be a great Ravelry thread. may i borrow your idea? i have about a million pix of Vivi signing her knitting thoughts