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The Club

One of the most universal memories of my childhood was my mother using the “I love you” sign.  She taught it to my brother and I and used it early and often: out the car window, down the street, on her way out the door.  Although anyone who knew sign language understood what it meant, it felt that like our little family secret.

When S came along my mother taught her how to make the sign at a very young age.  I remember her fingers, still pudgy with baby fat, holding out the sign proudly.  She was now a part of our club.

Teaching E, however, to make this sign was a whole different story.  No matter how hard we tried, no matter how many times we put her fingers into the position, she could not do it by herself.  As we became more knowledgeable about her form of CAS and her accompanying dyspraxia, we realized this was just par for the course.  E was delayed pointing, waving, and clapping.  To this day she still cannot squeeze my hand on command.  She was never able to learn sign language when it could have helped her so, so much.  When a stranger asked her how old she was, not only could she not say the word, she couldn’t even hold up her fingers to show him.

But E has been working with her fingers as of late.  No one is doing any sort of particular therapy about this.  E is just highly motivated to practice on her own.  At times, and sometimes with her left hand holding down unneeded fingers, she can hold up certain fingers on her right hand.  (I think she’s secretly thrilled to be turning five in several months so that she can just hold up her hand with all five fingers!)

In the last week, she has been trying to make the “I love you” sign.  At first it was just her index finger and pinkie.  We were thrilled with that but yesterday and today she has been able to make the whole sign.  She uses her left hand to ensure that her fingers are all placed in the correct spot and then she holds it up proudly.  Today on the way home from speech therapy, at her beckoning I looked in the rearview mirror to see her holding up the sign.  “Is this it, Mommy?  It this right?”  She got it.

Welcome to the club E!

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