Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sign Language

I've always wanted to teach baby sign language to my children. I have known people who did it, and it was really cool to see pre-verbal children being able to communicate with their parents. It seemed like something that would eliminate a lot of frustration.

So I bought a book about signing with babies and started looking for opportunities to sign to Carter. The signs I've been most consistent about using are "milk" (for nursing), "more" (for when we switch sides), and "finished" (for when we're done nursing). I've also been signing for "ceiling fan", "kitty" (he's recently started noticing the cats), "change" (diaper), and "I love you".

I always sign "milk" right before nursing, saying, "Do you want milk?" and then sign and say "milk" a few times once he starts nursing. Last night he almost seemed to be signing it back to me, though it might have just been a coincidence.

But this morning, progress! He was sitting in my lap playing and started to get a little fussy. It had been a few hours since he'd last nursed, so I signed and said "milk?" He gave me a huge smile and buried his face in my chest! I got the boppy and settled him on it and signed "milk" again, and he grinned and turned his head toward my boob. So I think he's starting to understand something, even if it's the verbal cue more than the sign. I've heard that they don't really start signing until 8 months or so, but the earlier you start, the better. :-)


Anjela said...

Oh, that's cool! :D :D :D I've been in ASL classes for two quarters now, and can't imagine not trying to sign to any kids I might have -- any way to share communication with one's kids seems like a cool idea. :)

ASL is a gorgeous language, by far my favorite of the half-dozen or so I've taken. I'm definitely going to work to get and stay fluent in it. I love it so!

Mattison Grace said...

Good Job! I am teaching Matti to sign. I think it is a wonderful idea. It is a great way to communicate and I have read it helps with babies and parents being less frustrated when baby wants something.
Congrats Carter!!! Way to communicate. Matti watches me sign, but has not signed back as of yet. Now I have hope!!

rita said...

Awwww. I wanted to do the signing thing, but then I realized I would actually have to learn sign myself. Too much work!

But Sam has his own sign for "airplane." When he says it, he always points overhead. This is because we often go to a park that is on the flight path to the airport, so planes frequently pass close by overhead. Sam started pointing up long before he could say the word. And even now, he still points up whenever he says "airplane."