So, we count with Ellie using sign language and we've varied it up. (I once had a colleague explain his theory that parents weren't teaching their kids to count because they usually said, "Now I'm going to count to three and then..." I've always thought that was very funny but true). We'd count to three or five when jumping into the pool this summer; and when she started scaring people (funniest thing ever...will have to get video for it)...we count to five, then spell or sign the name of the person we're scaring, then scare them!
While counting various things, we also read lots of books with counting and numbers. The 10 Little Ladybug book was in heavy rotation for a while and it counts backwards from 10 and she'll read through it and sign/say the numbers and whatnot. We also count how many bites she has to eat of something she's not particularly keen on.
Anyway...point is...we count. Numbers are fun!
The other day, I picked Ellie up from daycare and found her sitting in the little mud ditch outside. Yay! So bath time was moved up from after to dinner to when we walked in the door. She doesn't love having her hair washed so I usually tell her how many pitchers/cups of water I'm going to pour. Wednesday night, I said okay, four times and then poured a cup of water on her head. Before I could say three, Ellie says/signs three, then we did two then one. I don't know for sure that she was counting the pours backward, but on the other hand, I don't know that she wasn't accurately counting. From her verbal and facial expression it seems like she knew she only had three more to endure.
At first I was surprised and excited because I didn't expect her to do the backward count! Yay Ellie! But then, I find myself beating myself up because I should expect her to do it and shouldn't be surprised at how much she knows. I think she knows lots and lots but because she doesn't have the verbal or sign language capacity, we don't know how much is locked in her beautiful head. She's a little sponge who is a keen observer and I usually feel like we could be doing so much more with her (more flash cards, more therapy, more, more, more!!!!!); and it become more and more obvious that there is (and has never been) any lack in her; that I am really the one that needs the work.