Hubby and I have officially started teaching sign language to Monkey. I’ve been using a few simple signs for the past couple of months – “milk”, “more”, “fan” (the only ones that I remember from babysitting my nephew when he started signing 5 years ago). Hubby recently picked up this book so that we could learn how to better implement the language, as well as enhance our ASL (American Sign Language) vocabulary:
When reading through the dictionary at the back of the book last night, I learned the sign for earache (touch index fingers together at your ear). For those of you aware of Monkey’s rash of ear infections, it should come as no surprise that learning this sign made me one. Happy. MAMA! The idea that Monkey could actually express to us what’s bothering him, instead of hysterically wailing and batting at his ears – well, that’s just priceless.
I feel like a whole new world of communication is opening up for us. Now that Hubby and I are both engaged in signing to Monkey during all our daily activities, I see my little boy watching intently, digesting all the new action. He’s already started to form little fists while nursing – possibly his first attempts at the milk sign (opening and closing your fist).
As Monkey grows, he becomes increasingly adept at interacting with the world around him. His recently acquired skill of sitting up on his own allows him to choose a toy instead of just taking what he’s given. His first smile represented his first opportunity to convey happiness, and his latest experiments with pitch, volume and tone when babbling provide new means for communicating frustration, happiness, surprise, and excitement.
As exciting as hearing a Monkey’s first words will eventually be, seeing his cute little fist repeatedly clench while nursing was the most surprising and amazing thing I’ve experienced yet as a mom. It’s no wonder the baby sign movement is growing at a rabid pace, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll sign next.
Do you sign with your baby (or nieces/nephews/other little ones in your family)? When did you start learning/teaching the signs? What was their first sign? What was the overall experience like?