Signing Babies Rock

J signing "nurse at 9 months.

In my humble (somewhat biased opinion), there isn’t anything cuter than a signing baby.  Especially when that baby is mine.

This morning, I woke up to baby kisses and J’s sweet voice saying “Mama, mama, maaaaa.”  I open my eyes and he immediately signs “diaper” at me with this huge grin like he’s just accomplished something major (which, I found out, he had).  Diaper changed, teeth brushed, we sit down to breakfast, but J isn’t eating.  He keeps signing all done at me (while yelling “all du!  all du!”).  He hasn’t touched his food, so I try offering him banana instead of the oatmeal.  More frantically this time, all done! 

“You’re all done?  But you didn’t eat anything.”  At which point he looked right at me and made the sign we use for nursing.  Ahh.  Mommy’s a little slow this morning.  “You want to nurse?  Okay.”  At which point he gets his accomplished face back and happily claps. 

I took him back to bed, and we cuddled and nursed for a good thirty minutes, and then we got up and started the day again.

I have come across a lot of information showing that exposing your baby to sign language early on helps to develop language skills, increase vocabulary, and  boost intelligence, but that’s not why I decided to sign with him.  I did it for one main reason: to reduce frustration and tantrums  (both his and mine) during the preverbal phase by giving him a way to express himself.

So far, it seems to be working fairly well.  Oh, the tantrums are still there of course (just because he signs it doesn’t mean he gets it), but I love that he can tell me what he wants, even if he doesn’t have the words yet.  And I’d much rather he sign to tell me that he wants to nurse, rather than attack the front of my shirt (which is what he does if I miss the sign, or don’t respond).  That’s just awkward.

I admit, I have not signed with him nearly as consistently as I had intended.  He actually could be signing a lot more than he currently does.  For some reason, I felt self-conscious signing in front of people, so at first I only signed with him when we were alone.  (And interestingly enough, I’ve noticed that he signs more when we are alone, too.  Which means when other people are around he just hollers at me when he wants something, which is much less pleasant.)  However, I am happy to say that he is signing  more and more every day.  He signs more, all done, eat, mom, bye-bye, and of course, nurse.  (Yes, if you’ll notice, most of his signs are food-related.)  He also recognizes several more, like bath, dog, book, play, sit, and no. 

About halfway through his doctor’s appointment on Monday, he looked right at Dr. B and signed all done, bye-bye (while saying “bu-bu!”).  Dr. B kept talking to me, so J got right in his face and kept repeating, all done, bye-bye! Finally, Dr. B goes, “You’re so done with me right now, aren’t you?” It was hilarious.

I will probably be writing more in the future about our signing adventures, but if you are interested in more information, please feel free to contact me.  You can also find some examples on youtube (although I would caution that not everyone knows what they’re doing.  I’m such a sign snob).  You can also get started by finding some signs in the ASL dictionary.

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7 Responses to “Signing Babies Rock”


  1. 1 Nichole September 18, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    You’re, like, so awesome. If I ever have kids you’re moving in with me. You can do all the mommy stuff and I’ll sing them to sleep. Deal?

  2. 2 pinklilybit September 18, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I loved baby signing, it was so great when she was pre-verbal. Lily didn’t stick with it, though her Spanish is getting really good now that she’s been working with Gloria using flash cards, (did that sound Mommy competitive? that wasn’t my intent but it keeps happening, i think i smell a blog) okay so, yeah, we did more, all done, food, water, and papa, i think that was it, but more was deffinately her favorite, and all done, it truly is the cutest thing on earth. I love you and your cute parenting, i can’t wait till you start to hate it some days like the rest of us so I don’t seem so bitter and jaded =)

  3. 3 marla September 18, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    I would love to sign with my future bundle of joy. Could you recommend some books or websites to check out? I love the blogs keep em’ coming. I miss you guys.

    Love,
    Marla

    • 4 mamajade September 20, 2009 at 10:19 am

      Sorry it took so long to respond, it’s been a crazy weekend!

      I actually just finished reading a book that I thought was great for beginners. It had a lot of tips for how to get started, when to sign, etc. and a pretty decent dictionary in the back… and of course, I can NOT find the information again. I find it tomorrow and send you the title. There’s a *lot* of books available, and my only recommendation is that you check to be sure that they are using ASL based signs. There’s also several books that you can read with your baby that are centered around signing. Anything from Harris Communications is worth getting.

      As for websites, this is a great starting point. The sites listed are good quality sites, which will save you from trying to wade through a lot of the not-so-good stuff out there.

      Oh, wait, one more resource-me! I would love to help you and your future weebit get started!

  4. 5 Amy September 19, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    We used baby sign with my oldest daughter, who is now 5, and loved it so much we moved on to signs of things that wouldn’t be used on a regular basis (animal signs, stuff like that). She is now looking forward to teaching signs to her little sister (who is now 3 months). Keep going with it. It is SO worth it! (You’d be surprised how quickly they pick it up–even when you’re not consistent.)

  5. 6 Angela September 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I know something cuter. A baby hanging out with a huge dog. 🙂 I love when babies and animals interact. We had a dog when my son was little, but she had to move to a new home once we found out his allergies were causing him such bad asthma. 😦

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Let me know when you’re button is up. 🙂


  1. 1 My Baby Can Beat Up Your Baby (and Other Ridiculous Comparisons) « Strained Peas (and other messes) Trackback on September 20, 2009 at 12:14 am

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