I give my Mom credit for teaching Isobel most of the baby signs she knows. Anthony and I always thought the idea of teaching our baby to sign was a good one, but she developed verbally so quickly that it seemed redundant. My Mom pressed on though, and I’m glad she did. Seeing Isobel sign as she talks is so cute it hurts. It’s beautiful.
Here she is signing and saying “tweet tweet tweet” to the ducks we met at the fair. The sign for “bird” is this. Isobel does it with her whole hand instead of just the finger and thumb. She’s modified most of the signs we’ve taught her and my philosophy is to go along with is.
Baby signs she frequently uses:
Hi (What? I’m proud that she waves!)
Every time she uses a sign I feel like it’s a triumph for all of mankind. My daughter is so wonderfully smart.
There are a lot of great resources to get started signing online, but most of them want you to buy whatever it is they’re selling. We’ve been living as thrifty as possible lately and I didn’t want to spend any money so I went to the county library and spoke with a very well-informed librarian who recommended the Baby Signs, Baby Hearts, and Baby Minds books to me. All of them are brilliant! I checked them out as many times as I was allowed and may have kept them a couple days beyond that even. Oops. But I loved them and I learned so much. For an indexed visual representation of the signs I liked this website.
I think the main thing to keep in mind is that language is language and although some parents fear signing will cause a delay in speech development, that has not been proven. It’s certainly not true in our case. Signing has been particularly helpful for us because it’s sometimes not easy to tell what Isobel is trying to say, but when she says it with the sign, we know. Also, in my opinion, if your baby modifies the sign, go for it. It may not be proper ASL, but in my opinion that’s not the point here. The point is teaching baby communication skills to ease frustration. And to look adorable while doing it.