Nonverbal Communication

N just turned 1 last month. His “words” are pretty much limited to one and two syllable sounds that are quite open to interpretation (except for “Daddy”, which he says quite clearly).

Fortunately, he still has his sign language.

To kick off this past vacation, we went out to dinner with my sister and her family in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Afterwards, we wandered around a bit, watching the various performers and chatting. For those who haven’t been there, the Inner Harbor is set up with little performing areas so that bands and entertainers can give shows. On this particular night, we watched a little bit of a motown band before dinner, and a high school steel drum band after dinner.

I hadn’t even realized there was such a thing as a band made up entirely of steel drummers.

They were pretty good, but couldn’t compete with the paddle boat rides for the kids’ attention. So, while most everyone else went to the paddle boats, I held N and watched the high schoolers beat their drums.

Now, if you’ve been reading these tales you know that, as far as I’m concerned, listening to music is synonymous with bopping. That’s what I was doing: standing, chatting, holding N and bouncing (somewhat) in time to the music.

At one point, however, my son decided he was ready to sleep. Since it was clear to him that I didn’t know this, he put his head down against my chest, effectively stopping my bopping. There was really no way for me to move (other than gently swaying) without bouncing his head around.

I laughed and started to tell my brother-in-law, when N’s little hand came up and grabbed my lips. He didn’t lift his head or open his eyes. He just reached up and grabbed my mouth.

Startled, I stopped talking

He pulled his hand away, but left it hovering a few inches from my mouth. When I started to speak again, he grabbed my lips again.

Message received.

I swayed quietly and he let his hand drop. About ten minutes later, I put the sleeping little guy in the stroller. He immediately woke up screaming. I picked him up, but before I could shush or console him, his head went right back down on my chest.

There’s only one intelligent adult response to such an eloquent display of nonverbal manipulation.

I stuck my tongue out at him.

1 thoughts on “Nonverbal Communication

  1. Justine says:

    Let’s hear it for non-verbal communication…knowing you, I can easily see where N gets his methods from…
    I seem to recall evenings in the past when we’d all get togehter that a great lot was said by highly expressive hand gestures, head jerks & the occasional spurting of soda through the nose….

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