Alice signs !
Alice was already able to communicate basically, going into the kitchen when she was hungry, raising her arms to be carried, waving her hands to say hello, but we suddenly realize that Alice was signing the term ‘music’ for quite some time. This sign is simple, it consists in waving the index finger as a conductor would do. And as it happens Alice was always raising her hand pointing with her finger when she was listening to music!
As a consequence, we started to be more attentive to her hand movements, and we detected several other kind-of signs, but as first words stammering, first signs are incomplete, incorrect, reversed or simplified by the baby. For example, we often play with the light in Alice’s room. From her bed, she manages to raise on her tiptoes to switch the light on. But she is too small to switch it off, so she touches my hand and points to the switch to ask me to switch the light off. As soon as the light is off, she turns it on again and sign the term for ‘light’, but upside down! The normal sign (in French Sign Language) is a hand opening from top to bottom, and she does it in reverse, maybe because this is what she sees when we sign this word, or maybe because this is simpler for her…
It appears that she also signs the word for ‘finish’ upside-down, and maybe other signs we did not catch yet, such as the one she does when moving slowly her fingers toward us…
Alice wants to play mom!
Alice is grouching a lot at the end of her meal when I clean her face with the bib, she doesn’t like that at all! On week-ends, we usually stay late at bed in the morning (sometimes up to 8am!) and then we give Alice her first milk bottle with us, in our bed. Once, she finished her milk, I took of her bib off and she jumped on it and came back to me, smiling, and rub it vigorously on my face!
Another time, her grandma Claudie told us that Alice tried to feed her a gourd of compote, she was insisting to put it in her grandma’s mouth.
After all this is quite logical, babies have a great number of mirror neurons, which push them to mimic everything they see. With this mechanism, they easily learn by watching their environment. Apparently, this is also one of the reason why a child seems to regress when a little brother or daughter arrives, because the mirror neurons try to reproduce the baby behaviors.
Alice meets cats and dogs
Some cats regularly come in our micro-garden, and Alice watches them with great attention through the windows, and never tries to go and touch them. But once, at her great-uncle Patrick’s, she met a small dog, the brave Roméo. She was totally scared! But at the same time she was super-excited! The scene was really funny to watch, Alice was crying on moment, totally frightened, and two seconds later she bursted laughing out of joy, subjugated and terrified by this very strange animal…
At another time at her great-grandma’s, she met some of her cats, and she was really shy; she approached them very slowly and kept a good distance, and from time to time she tried to touch them but just with the tip of her fingers. We can see with those encounters how wonderful it could be for a child to be able to interact with a pet… But for now, Alice will first have a little brother!
Food for Alice at 11 months
In her 11th month, Alice still drinks a lot of milk. Two bottles of ½oz (150ml) in the morning, around 7am and 9am, and one more at 4pm. She also eats a lot of dairy products: yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese… For lunch, she usually eats 7oz of vegetable purée (200g) with a bit of meat or fish and 3½oz (100g) of compote. Sometimes, she also eats a compote at 4pm with her milk, and for her diner, 7oz of vegetables (200g), or whatever is leftover from her lunch or 4pm if she was not hungry then. Alice’s appetite fluctuates significantly from one day to another, we never force feed her, except for the first spoon because she is always very suspicious of that first spoon. But if she does not like what we give her, we do not insist.
Since she is ten months old, we give her a spoon when she eats, so that she tries to eat all by herself. One cannot say the results are very efficient, it is very likely two thirds or more of the food will never reach her mouth, but she gets more or less the principle of putting the spoon in the pot, and then to her mouth. Nevertheless, patience is the key, as the trajectory of the spoon between the pot and the mouth could be quite complicated…