We've been working with Lillian for at least a year with sign language. We've always signed "more" "all done" "milk" "eat" and just started adding things like "dog" "frog" "cat" "play" etc. She's imitated some signs here and there, but never instigated them on her own in a way that we knew she was communicating... until today!
Today we had a break through! While waiting for our lunch to arrive at a local restaurant, Lillian signed "eat" and I told her, yes we are going to eat (this is still pretty new and usually she only does it when prompted). Then I offered her a drink of my water so she could at least have something to drink while we were waiting. She shook her head no at me and then SHE SIGNED MILK! I couldn't believe she actually asked for something specifically! I'm so proud of her first of all that she knew how to ask for milk, and second of all that she was willing to communicate with us rather than just whine or throw a fit.
Lately I've been doing my best to ignore her whine and ask her what she wants. Then I go through a list of common things she wants and try to sign the ones I know. It's SO nice to finally communicate with her, even if it's over something so basic.
Lately I've been talking with my therapist about how difficult it is to feel like I keep trying and trying and trying to teach her basic skills to keep up with her milestones, and it's been such a slow and tedious process. She swore to me once Lillian started communicating more it would become easier on me and more rewarding. She couldn't be more right. The big giant teethy grins she's started giving us and the kisses and waving hello has been great. Each new way she communicates makes us feel like we're getting love back from her and it gives us the drive to keep going and keep trying to teach her. It really feels great.
You knew this was coming, right? :)