Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ethan, Can you Say...

I have been making a real effort to teach Ethan sign language. I have tried before and given up because he half way learns a sign, and he uses that one sign to try to communicate all things. I find that confusing. Plus, I never felt a great need for it before. I always thought I had a pretty good sense of what he wanted so sign language was never a high priority. It has now become a TOP priority. My child is given to random screams. Now, sometimes I know, it is because he is cutting a tooth. I don't blame him for screaming from pain. It is probably unexpected, and he doesn't understand what is happening, and of hurts! Makes sense. He screams for other reasons, too. ALL. THE. TIME. It is making me crazy. I am a tired, nauseated pregnant woman and the constant screaming must end. He screams now because:

1. He isn't getting what he wants. He is feeling frustrated and disappointed at this.

2. A toy isn't doing what he wants it to. Frustrating.

3. He wants me to get him something or do something for him NOW.

The random screams present themselves on a minute by minute basis. I read up on the subject today (Screaming 13 month olds and 13 month old Tantrums). Some mothers suggest putting them in their cribs for a time out every time they throw a tantrum. Some times they put their babies in their cribs for 15 minutes at a time. This seems utterly ridiculous to me for three reasons:

1. A one year old has completely forgotten what they had done wrong in about ONE minute. 15 minutes is just cruel.

2. A one year old cannot internalize the word "no" to remember for the next time not to do something. They can stop what they are doing in the moment, but they will do the same thing again a few minutes later because they can't remember they aren't supposed to do something. If this tactic works on a one year old it is because they are just getting quiet and learning to not express themselves emotionally. Which leads me to #3

3. I do not want to train Ethan to not express himself emotionally. I think all of his reasons for screaming are quite valid. I too, get frustrated when I don't get what I want and have adult for of tantrums (moping, sulking, getting quiet etc.) I also want what I want when I want it. I also hate when I am working on something frustrating. I want him to be comfortable expressing these things. To teach him to not have feelings I FEEL would be detrimental to him to his long term developmental growth.

So how do I cope with the day in and day out ANNOYING screams? I am trying to teach him to say, PLEASE in sign language if he wants something and HELP if he is frustrated.

I pray this works. I'll keep you "posted."

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