By our recent count Skippy Jr. can now use about 10 signs and has about a 20-30 word vocabulary. So his communications skills are getter much better. Which really sucks. . .
I remember a simpler time when we guessed at what our baby wanted by offering him the things we were willing to offer him. Now he can ask for things we don't want him to have or things we don't want him to do. We he signs "help" so he can climb onto the couch we're so happy that he's communicating and understanding what is means to help. . . and then we're sad because he wants on the couch so he can grab the TV remote to try and turn it on. We he signs eat we used to think we were so lucky that we could finally know when he was hungry. . . now we don't like when he tells us that he doesn't want the macaroni he wants a cookie.
With any communication we've always tried to reward when he uses a word or sign properly. When he first learned to sign "more" we made sure he got more. When he first signed "eat" we made sure he got food immediately. Now when he asks for help it's help to say remove the obstacles preventing him from climbing onto a table, or reaching a breakable item that's just out of reach. I want to reward the use of the word but I'm not going to give him the glass candle holder.
Asking to color is good. He points to his crayons or magna-doodle and says "kakar." This morning he looked at the strawberry he painted (it's hanging on the fridge) at the Parents as Teachers play group we went to last night, said "kakar" and smiled. It was so cute, he knew that was his painting. Either that or he was asking to eat the paint like he had when he painted the picture.