Sunday, September 11, 2011

Baby signs and early communication

Before Heidi was born, we had grandiose plans for her education and our role in it as Awesome Parents. We were going to read all the baby sign language books! We were going to learn all the signs! We were the super awesomest ever. Of course, it hasn't exactly happened that way. Baby signs never really ended up on the top of our priority list once she was born. We enthusiastically signed at her for a couple of months after she was born, on the expert advice that babies begin learning communication from Day 1, and met with zero indications of understanding. Our baby would not be a signing protegy by the age of two and a half months, so sign language went on the back burner. We'd bring them out occasionally, find no response, and forget about them again.

This summer (8-10 months old) she has begun to blossom into her own personality. She clearly wants what she wants, and began to become frustrated with us for not reading her mind. Out came the signs again.

I am officially a much bigger believer in windows of opportunity than I used to be. We have been signing "more" (which we also use for "hungry")

and "drink"

 and "all done"

 for somewhere between two weeks and a month. As of three days ago, SHE SIGNS BACK! "All done" is more of hands opening and closing than wrists turning, but it's clear what she means, which is the whole point anyway.

And we are officially on a quest for more signs. If she can tell us when she's hungry, thirsty or done, why not when she's sleepy or bored or wants to pet the dog? Some interesting resources that we will definitely be checking out:
Baby Sign Language Academy

Ryan (before she was born): But why baby signs? Why not just become fluent in regular ASL and sign everything around her?
^ proof that the SuperAwesomestEver syndrome comes from him, not from me. Why bother doing ANYTHING if you're not going to do it ten times more enthusiastically than EVERYBODY ELSE?

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. I can completely relate to plans going on the back burner. I was really enthusiastic about teaching him signing beginning about 6 months, but it was frustrating when we my efforts didn't get any response. Then when he started having eye problems we decided getting him to see out of both eyes should probably be a bigger priority than my ambitious goal of signing. Now that his vision is improving, you have inspired me to resume signing attempts. I hope he responds as quickly as Heidi!