It’s a sign

15 Dec

The first time I ever saw a mom signing with her baby was when I was visiting a girlfriend’s house shortly after graduating from university.  My friend asked her almost-non-verbal toddler if she wanted some milk and the little girl signed back “milk”.  I was enchanted and fascinated. 

I’d always been fascinated by sign language and knew I wanted to learn it someday.  But “someday” is often a mythical time that has a nasty habit of never coming to pass.

With great intentions, I read up all about baby signing when I was pregnant with Jade, but I could never get into the habit and would forget to use the few signs I’d learned.  In fact, it wasn’t until Jade was in daycare, where the workers would regularly sign basics such as “please” and “thank you”, that I started doing it too.  By the time she learned the signs, of course, Jade could already verbalize all those words.  (Comically, she still signs “please” almost every time she says the word.)

Perhaps because I also often sign “please” (to remind Jade to say it, if she forgets) I’ve been much better about remembering to sign to Halia.  And, as I recently mentioned, Halia’s just started to sign back.  I am enchanted and fascinated all over again!

Halia’s first sign to me was “milk“.  Since she made the connection between signing and getting a boob, she loves to sign this all the time!

Her next sign was “all done“, which she does by slamming both hands down enthusiastically on her booster seat tray.  A very useful sign, indeed, which has many a time saved my floors from having food dumped on them out of boredom. 

And just today she got the sign for “eat“.  She does this by putting her open palm quickly to her open mouth and it is the cutest thing you ever saw.  Seriously.  When she signs “eat”, I want to eat her up.  (But I feed her, because it’s a very good way to prevent a meltdown.)

Next we’ll be working on “more” and a few other words I automatically sign now.  I’m ridiculously excited!  I have a feeling that now we have some momentum going, Halia is going to be learning signs faster than I can pick up new ones!

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7 Responses to “It’s a sign”

  1. Nai-Nai December 15, 2009 at 3:52 am #

    That’s so cute, I remember Jade did it when I was there. I would like to see Halia does it. she repeated all the words when I talked to her last weekend 🙂

  2. Malke Rosenfeld December 15, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    Baby signs are the best! One of my favorite signing stories from when my daughter (who is four now) was a young toddler is the morning she peeked into the shower and made the signs “rain” and “bath”. Rain bath — a brilliant metaphor! We did a lot of signing — signs are great for preventing tantrums and for getting a little peek into how your kid sees the world. When Isobel was exactly one year old, a big red & white striped sun umbrella with scalloped edges at the pool (looked at from underneath) was a “flower.” How else would I have known what she thought without the sign?

  3. Beanie December 16, 2009 at 12:33 am #

    Jade does look awfully cute when saying, “please.” She’s such a character, that one. Also, in addition to preventing meltdowns, feeding Halia (as opposed to nomming on her) is a good way to keep child services at bay… 😛

  4. Jenny December 16, 2009 at 6:34 am #

    Naomi used to sign “milk” too. There’s a series called Signing Time, they may have some video of it on Youtube. I ordered Naomi a few DVD’s last Christmas. They make it all very easy to pick up on and have very cute songs that they sign along too. She loves the Leah’s Farm one. They go through the animals and sing a song called Turtle Rock. I may look through Youtube and email you one if I find one I like! After I bought our DVD’s I noticed the local library had a few too!

  5. Captain Momma December 16, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    I still can’t remember to use the signs!!!

    But it must be so exciting to see her use them!!

  6. Cristina December 16, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    I learned a ton of baby signs before having Bertrand. (I know more than his speech therapists!) Using them consistently with him since birth has helped because his VERs and BAERs are abnormal–because of his epilepsy. It’s my hope that some day he’ll be able to depend on both those senses, but for now, I think the redundancy helps when one sense or the other is on the fritz. Since he has little motor control, it is hard for him to use standard signs–but he has made some up his own! He’s been teaching me! Like opening his mouth like a little bird when he is hungry. 🙂 We learn so much from our little ones!

  7. Idania December 17, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    I also liked Signing Time. http://www.signingtime.com/canada/

    We have zip.ca, so we were able to rent them to see if we liked them. Jillian has been able to pick up a bunch of signs like,
    -shoes, socks, flower, hat, etc…

    Have you been able to record Halia doing these signs? That would be wonderful to see when our memories get a little bit hazy…like next week!

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