Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sign Language

Most people who read my blog realize that I'm a huge fan of signing with your baby. It's the perfect first language to teach a baby who can understand language way before they can speak one. It's been fascinating watching my girls communicate with sign. Now at age two they have a huge spoken and signing vocabulary. The other day while waiting in the doctors office there was another little boy in the waiting room with us. My girls pointed to him and signed "boy" and said "baby." The mother of the little boy told me he was two. I told her that my girls were the same age. She asked me if they were turning 3 soon, because her boy just turned 2 in early January. I told her that my girls turned two at the end of December. I'm just saying this because it was remarkable difference. This little boy was making baby noises and grunting for communication. He was really cute and lively, but I couldn't believe he was the same age as Maddie and Izzie. That isn't to say that is always the case. Several of my friends have kids the same age who didn't use sign language and their kids don't seem that different from Izzie and Maddie.

But for me, signing made communicating SO much easier with two babies. Now that they don't really need signs to communicate they still love to sign. Maddie frequently says to me, "I don't know the sign for (fill in the blank.)" So I go look it up on the computer for her. She loves learning new signs as fast as I can give them to her. Tonight John was quizzing the girls in a creative way. He was telling first Maddie and then Izzie, "I don't know the sign for snake, can you teach me?" And they were getting so excited to teach Daddy a sign. Izzie lately is focused on making sure her fingers are actually held correctly. (Which is another HUGE benefit of signing, it teaches fine motor control at a very early age.) Today I had to show her how to make the I LOVE YOU sign (middle two fingers in the palm; pointer, pinky and thum sticking out.) She wanted to show teddy and she had to make sure she was doing it exactly correct! It was too cute!


Anonymous said...

boys are often delayed in their speech.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I just stopped by from Multiples and More...

I'm so glad that I decided to use sign language with our girls (now 15 months old). The book I bought talked about starting around 6 months, which I did, but I got discouraged after a month or so. I picked it back up when the girls were about 9 months old, and they started using some basic signs (more, all done, sleep). At the time I never thought they would know how to sign every zoo animal...but around 13 months, they really started to enjoy signing. Now we look through picture books and sign as many animals as possible. It's amazing how quickly they pick up new signs these days. They love to go through their repertoire and have me name what sign they're making. And I love being able to understand them as they're starting to verbalize. I know that "buh" is "book" - because they sign it as they try to say it.

I'm glad to hear that your girls are interested in making the signs correctly. I know ours are still young, but I have to sometimes use context clues to know if they're signing rabbit or train. :)

And I love the pictures of your girls in the bluebonnets!

Amanda said...

Anon- I am aware that often boys are delayed in their speech, it's just another awesome reason to teach them sign language so they can communicate earlier!

Mandy- Isn't it great that you can have a conversation with your girls at such an early age? We had to use context clues for a long time, but along with the sound and the general sign, it's usually simple to figure it out. My girls used to call diapers, "bop" but I would have NEVER guessed that "bop" was diaper if they hadn't signed it to me!

I have another interesting story about signing and how it helped me here:

Oh- and thanks about the bluebonnet pics! I love wildflowers!

Linda said...

Awesome post! I shared your blog post with our signing families on Facebook and Twitter. Very inspiring!

Linda Easton
Baby Signs, Inc.

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing! I'm a MOM of b/g twins and they were wonderful signers when they were younger! We still use a little bit of sign language, but do more finger spelling now.

We actually have quite a few Baby Signs instructors across the nation who have twins too :)


Amanda said...

Michelle- How old are your twins? I think it'll also be neat that my girls will have a "secret" language when they get older! :)

I'm also hoping that learning sign at a young age will help them learn other languages later on. I've heard that when you learn a second language, it's easier to learn more and more.