I had originally planned to teach Gracie about saying "Please" and "Thank You" just as soon as some words started popping out of her mouth, but those words are coming more slowly than I might have hoped, and she is getting big enough that her demands were becoming, well, awfully demanding, and just a touch rude.
So a couple weeks ago I decided that please and thank you needed to come a little sooner than the words, and looked into a little bit of sign language. A girl who is a good friend of the family and whose mother taught her sign language as a baby filled me in on the sign for Thank You, but didn't remember the sign for Please, so I just made one up. I figured it didn't really matter what the real sign was, so long as Gracie and I knew that it meant Please; so I told her to clasp her hands together with her fingers interlocking.
It took a few tries, not because she had trouble putting her hands together, but because she had to put down Brown Horse, and have I mentioned that she takes that Little People horse EVERYWHERE SHE GOES? But eventually she put down Brown Horse and clasped those cute little hands together with a big grin on her face and we were off and running.
For the last two weeks, we have had 8,234 discussions about saying Please whenever you want someone to do something for you, or give you something. And whenever she was reminded, she always very quickly put her little hands together -- but you had to tell her first. And to be honest, I really didn't expect her to do it without prompting right away. I just wanted to start laying a foundation so that when she got a little bigger it would just happen automatically.
But today she did it! Without any prompting!
We were at Wal-Mart this afternoon to pick up a few things, and I stopped for a minute at the seasonal section right near the front door. I was looking through the Valentine's Day stuff for something that I could put into goodie bags for the guests at Gracie's birthday party next weekend, when I felt a little tug at my hand. I looked down to see my horsie loving daughter hugging the daylights out of an awfully cute pink stuffed horse. She looked up at me with those giant blue eyes, then clasped her little hands together to say "Please?"
Now, nearly every time we go shopping, my horsie loving daughter finds some sort of stuffed animal that she would like to take home, and I almost always say no. She has MANY, MANY animals already (and a great majority of them are horses), and she really didn't need another one.
But today, I totally caved. I mean, I had to, right? I've spent the last two weeks telling her to say please, and today she did it! I had to give her some positive reinforcement, right?
Ya, ya. I know. I'm the biggest softie in the universe.
Okay, 2 seconds before I took this picture, she had the new pink pony tucked her her arm while still holding onto Brown Horse with one hand, but she moved just before I took the picture. And while I am the sort of Mom who will risk waking up her almost 2-year-old to get a really cute picture while she's sleeping, I'm not the sort of Mom who will re-pose her child while she's sleeping. If you look close, you can see 4 horses in this picture.