Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baby Sign Language

I live in the middle of nowhere, as I'm sure we've discussed before. I had absolutely no earthly idea about baby sign language until I was pregnant, because, well, no one does it around here. When I was pregnant, I was signing up for natural birth classes at my favorite local store, Mother Nurture, and I saw sign ups for a Baby Signing class. Around that same time, I stumbled upon the Attachment Parenting boards at, and found numerous people talking about various signs. So I got curious.

I bought a book or two on clearance, and promptly forgot about it. Until it became apparent that my little 4 month old KNEW when she wanted to nurse, she just couldn't communicate it. So I googled the sign for nurse (and chose to just to 'milk' for nurse, because she wasn't receiving any other milk at the time other than the boob), and began asking her if she wanted to nurse, and doing the sign. It wasn't very long afterwards (She was about 5-5 1/2 months) when I suddenly realized that she was doing it! She was signing to nurse! Not only that, when someone else had her, she would make the nursing sign to come back to Momma.

I was sooooooooooo excited, and yet I kind of dropped the ball. She stopped signing it as much, and I stopped teaching her new signs. Around the ten-twelve months though, I could tell her frustration levels were rising. So I started trying to teach her "more", "eat" and "Drink" for some reason that child has a mental block against eat and drink, but she picked up "more" in MINUTES. Since then, I'm struggling to find signs to teach her. Usually I show her a sign once, and BAM she knows it. It is OUTSTANDING.

Yesterday, she had just pooped, and was walking around my parents living room. I'd been working on "diaper" and "change" separately. My Dad, who fully supports signing but doesn't know all the ones she does, says "I don't know what sign she's making, what's this?" and then performed a sign. My chin hit the ground. She was signing "Change"!!! Not only is this big for signing, but it's also a step towards potty learning!

I have kind of wavered back and forth on whether I think that it's limiting her spoken words, but just last night she came up and said 'want more juiwcee'. So obviously she can talk. I think she says stuff that we just don't catch some times, and she's not one to repeat a performance (i.e. repeat a word she said).

Her current signs are:
cat (when prompted)
drink (sometimes)
all done
wiggles (she made up her own!)

She learns new signs daily, like I said. It's difficult for me to keep up! It has made our lives SO MUCH EASIER! When she's crying and inconsolable, I can start asking questions "Do you want a drink? Are you hungry?" and instead of just crying, she can answer me. I am forever grateful to whoever it was that determined little ones can use sign!

1 comment:

  1. That's a huge list of signs. I really think that one of the reasons babies and toddlers cry so much is because they can't communicate. Good for Keevia!


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