In the first morning of this week (week 3), the one month old baby Juli has demonstrated a social smile! She smiled more often from there on.
A few days later, one Sunday morning the father vocally spoke, "good morning" and kissed Juli's hand before leaving for work. The father's heart was melt by her giggle when Juli smiled. Lucky him!
Later that afternoon, I talked with Juli in ASL. "Please smile for me." Behold and lo, she smiled! I frantically took the camera and recorded. I tried again with hope. She did again! I did again for the third time for a better view of camera. She did again! I was thrilled how she "understood" me (whether true or not).
Though, it was not the first time she smiled to me. But, it was just that she responded to me by smiling. When the first time she socially smiled days ago, I was melted away.
Starting the first weeks after childbirth, I had noticed that Juli formed her handshapes from time to time as follows: "i", "m", "n", "t", "s" and, ahem though infrequently, the middle finger. I caught her the third time once again this week -- this one so clear and well-formed. I had accidentally captured the second one on video in the previous week. (In case you're checking out, no video there).
But, these apparently reflexive handshapes gradually would fade out. Linguistic (phonological) formations of these handshapes would emerge long months later.
Lately, I had introduced a tense to Juli with the ASL words now and finish/done attached to a simple sentence or phrase more often now. "Dad is now working." "Dad finishes working." "Now diaper change." "Diaper change done." "Mom is now eating." "Mom finishes eating or is done eating." And so on.
This documentation project follows a baby's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, week by week from gazing at birth to manual babbling, to first words just before the first birthday in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.
The second-year and third-year documentation continues to follow the same child's language and phonological acquisition and literacy development in ASL on a weekly basis from the one-word stage to two-word and multiple utterances.
The documentary continues to follow the same child's ASL language and literacy development on a regular basis from age three to four. It surveys ASL phonological acquisition and more complex utterances.
These posts on ASL-English bilingualism, language acquisition, and bilingual education may be of an interest for parents who raise a bilingual-bimodal child in ASL (or another signed language) and English (or another written and/or spoken language of its respective) as well as informative and educational for ASL specialists, educators, and professionals.