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30 Jun 2021

Don't You Stop

Jo Emmerson

When my son, Ollie, was 13 months old, he started going to nursery a couple of days a week. After a few trips there and back, walking the same route, Ollie started recognising the things we saw along the way, and because he was both signing and starting to talk, he was pretty happy to tell me all about it. We had a regular morning chat about the busses, the building site, the trains and the ducks, more trains, more busses. Another bus... 😆

It was part of our routine and part of the process which meant that Ollie knew where he was going. That sense of predictability, which comes from repetition and helps our little ones feel safe. I came to love and look forward to these precious moments together when the world was relatively calm (for London), I had nothing else to do, nowhere else to be and we could just focus on each other.

Imagine my surprise then, walking home one afternoon, as we got to the corner near the nursery and he started signing 'horse'.

I was puzzled.

'Horse, where'? I signed and asked him. 'no my love, there's no horse'.

I assumed he was thinking of the 'Horsey Horsey' song and we carried on. He got increasingly animated and excited with his horse signing, bouncing about in his pushchair until we had crossed the road - I looked up to see if there was a train coming that we could have a look and, and there, big as a bus, was an advert for Lloyds bank, complete with an enormous black horse.

'Yes! Yes, there is a horse, you clever boy!'

Oops, Mummy! Fancy not realising Turnpike Lane is awash with stallions 🤣🐎

A few weeks after the poster had changed and we stopped saying hello to the horses in the morning, Ollie looked up at me one morning, clearly feeling sad, and signed 'horses all gone' 'horses where'.

These are things that I would never know, that he could never have shared with me without signing. 🥰
I am always surprised at just how good his memory is for these small details. I'm pretty sure his memory is so good because he's been able to 'describe', label and talk about objects and ideas from such a very young age. I don't think I realised when we started signing with him, just how much of a headstart we were giving him.

What fun bits of the day does your little one like to share with you?

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