Are you my Mommy?

Are you my Mommy?
Are you my Mommy?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The power of sign language

I decided when Mr. B was a tiny infant that I would introduce sign language to him and see how it went.  This is one o f my favorite parenting methods with anything I feel is healthy.  In short, the idea is start as early as you can and focus on simply introducing it.  No pressure, just introduce and see if he likes it.  So, basically this means do not push it, do not get get frustrated, and do not make a yucky face even if you don't like it (this was a true challenge when letting him taste pumpkin pie....yuck....seriously people eat that).

Okay tangent is over and back to sign language.  Of course, I know that it is is in vogue, but I dislike being cool (I was not cool and never will be and if I ever by weird fate end up cool then you should worry, really worry).  Research demonstrates that boys are slower with language and Einstein Syndrome has occurred in our family, which is late talkers who say very little until they can speak full sentences and followed by rhyming homemade songs (true story...cute I know).  So, I put on my scientist hat (It is really cool weird and dorky) and decided sign language would help us communicate with each other early on. My enthusiasm was high and I started strong at 6 months old and Mr. B's response was...less enthusiastic.  If I was lucky, he stared at me when I signed and then looked away. In a less than fine parenting moment, I got bored and stopped for awhile. I picked it back up a few months later and seemed to be interested around his first birthday.  Since then I have gradually added signs based on his interest, which means my milky baby first learned the sign for milk followed by yes (his version of this) and then "more" and a brief stint with "no."  The real turning point came with the sign for "dog" that he learned quickly after saying "doggie" for his most frequent playmate.  At this point, the whole experiment took off and I enjoyed signing dog when reading about dogs and signing dog without speaking and letting Mr. B find our dog, Tony.

Given his interest in animals, we have entered a new phase and he learned "pig" in a matter of minutes following a one dollar toy that oinks (well kind of oinks if you use your imagination).  The sign for turtle is part of his responsive language and he will go find a turtle when I make the sign, but it is still too difficult for him to produce so he says "turtle" instead.  After that this past week, he experienced an explosion of language where he learned fish, duck, and finally monkey all in one day.  So amazing to literally watch his light bulb moments.  I am fortunate to have a small background in sign language, but not extensive enough.  So, the internet comes in with a superhero cape. I found a great website with a dictionary where you click on a written word which brings up a short video demonstrating the sign...this is so much more useful than the book I purchased with diagrams and descriptions only.  Today, I looked up hippopotamus, giraffe, lion, bear, frog, elephant, mouse.  I have to give Mr. B the credit here. He wants to learn, he loves to learn.  If he doesn't know a sign he uses his favorite, "dog"...yep he loves the dog that much.  Just this week, he looks up at me waiting for me to show him a new sign.  This is where the fun begins as it encourages me to look up and learn new things...

The Compromise:  Communication takes a little longer and at times requires "research" on the internet.

The Sweet Reward:  Mr. B already loves to learn and his curiosity about the world makes me curious and happy...He already points out things to me I am too busy to slow down and notice, like the recent big, bold, brilliant moon.  

I wonder if Mr. B is actually raising me

Curiously me,
Tracy   ...would love to hear your plans/goals for signing with your kiddo or your experiences, positive and negative, and of course your cute stories.

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