Addison is expanding her vocabulary.  Well, not really expanding it as far as being able to form words, but using more creative ways to communicate with us.  We’ve been teaching her the sign for the word ‘more’ for what feels like years now.  I don’t know  exactly why we chose ‘more’.  Probably because it’s one of the easier signs and probably because I can never quite tell when she’s finished eating or drinking or if she want’s more.  When Addison hit 9 months old she not only became more mobile but she seemed to have a heightened awareness of her surroundings.  She also very suddenly had strong feelings about her wants and needs.  This mostly translated into her screaming for something and me running around offering her different things (toys, snacks, drinks, electronics) until I finally figured out what she wanted and the screaming stopped.  I wish I were joking.  She would stand in the middle of the room yelling and I would run around her until I found the thing that would appease her.  A frustrating exercise to be sure. I though that being able to sign ‘more’,  ‘finished‘ and ‘drink‘ (milk) would help ease some of Addison’s frustrations in communicating with us.

We worked to teach her these signs by consistently signing whenever the word came up.  Except, I wasn’t always consistent and I think sometimes I confused her.  Regardless, she not only caught on to the sign for ‘more’ but she actually started verbally saying the word.  I figured that the other words would soon follow but that never happened.  Now everything is ‘more’.  Sitting in her high chair with a full tray of food?  ‘More’ means she’s finished and wants to get down.  Hanging out on the couch watching the Imagination Movers?  ‘More’ means she wants a drink.  Getting dressed in the morning?  ‘More’ means leave me the hell alone Mommy!  Now Addie is signing ‘more’ for just about everything.  We’re still in that pattern of her not being able to communicate with us but, thankfully, instead of screaming at me until I figure out what she wants, she just walks around slamming her fists together in psuedo-sign language.

Last week while shopping at Target I gave Addison a juice box right from a package off of the shelf.  Normally, I would avoid opening packages and letting my child consume something en route to the register but I left her sippy cup at home and I was planning on buying the juice anyway.  Besides, having a drink and a cracker while strolling through Target is kind of her thing, so I made an exception.  Addie goes crazy over juice boxes because they’re fun to hold and squeeze but also because I usually water down the juice that goes  in her sippy cup.  She gets 3 parts water and 1 part juice.  When she finally gets her hands on pure juice she can’t drink it fast enough.

Addie chugged her juice box and by the time we reached the next aisle she tossed it over her shoulder into the back of the carriage as if she were at a kegger and was disposing of the beer can she just crushed on her forehead.  I tried to busy myself  and ignore it by staring intently at the cracker selection because I knew what was coming.  Once I made eye contact she gave me a sweet look and signed ‘more’.  By the time I hit the diaper aisle she was signing with a bit more frequency.  “More…more?….more?!?”  And then it got a little louder and a little more frantic, “MORE….MORE!”  By the time the registers were in our sights she was wailing “MORE!  MORE!  MOOOOOOORRRREEE…” while sobbing, her body limp against the seat of the carriage.

Screaming babies in Target don’t phase me unless it’s my baby doing the screaming.  The thought of my child having a public melt down makes me freeze on the spot.  It’s just not something I’ve ever dealt with very well.  It brings me back to that newborn phase when every time she started to cry, I thought, ‘This will be the one that will push her over the edge and she will never stop crying.’  My very first solo outing with Addison was to the grocery store and it ended with both of us in tears in the produce department because Addie cried and another shopper looked at me. Judging my parenting skills, or lake thereof, I was sure.

That day in Target brought me right back.  I almost abandoned my carriage right there in the aisle, ten feet from the cash register, to flee from the store.  Instead, I got my head on straight and figured out that the easiest way to make it stop – “it”, being my worst nightmare, a public tantrum – was to just give the kid another  damn juice box.  I’m so screwed when she gets to high school.  That second juice box appeased her through check out and right up until I strapped her into her car seat when the signing and pleas for more started up again.  What she hasn’t figured out yet is that I’m immune to screaming in the car because it’s just the two of us and I control the volume on the stereo.  What I haven’t  figured out is that why I’m still giving her juice boxes.