Baby Sign Language 2.0 - Update at 14 months
If you're not interested in babies or baby sign language or hearing me gush about baby sign language, move right along, nothing to see here! (You're so heartless!)
This is Baby #2, codenamed "Mimzy" (he's a boy, don't ask), signing 'cracker' in ASL. He's 13 months old in the video. He's signing up a storm, and is speaking faster than I thought possible for a little dude. He's currently signing hard words and speaking easy ones, just as our older boy did. I suspect he's moving faster because he wants to be like his big brother.
His signing is a bit of an approximation, because just as toddlers don't pronounce words or "slur" for a while, who sign tend to "slur" for a while. Here's the actual ASL sign for "cracker" but he's really close. Most importantly, he can be understood.
Now, this isn't a "my baby is awesome and smart" post. Nor am I trying to say "push" your kid to do something earlier than is appropriate. I figure they'll all even out by the time they are 20 years old. ;) Not many college students live the house not speaking and still wearing diapers, so I don't push my kids too hard.
However, I'm just so passionate about the extra year of communication per baby that Baby Sign Language (ASL) gives us, and the quality of that communication, that I'll just gush and talk to anyone who will listen.
Baby #2 is now 14 months old and he's been signing for about 3 months. We've been signing to him since he was 7 months, so there was a 4 month people were he'd just grunt and point and look at us. From what I here, that's par for the course when you introduce signing to your baby. Most people say 6 months is the perfect time, but you should expect nothing for months. Stick with it.
It'll click one day, as it did for Baby #2. Out of nowhere he asked for a cracker. Then grapes, then an apple. If you've got young children, you're no doubt familiar with tantrums. If a kid doesn't feel understood or get what they want, they freak out. I can't tell you how refreshing and freeing it is for a baby (not yet a toddler, we're talking, a little wobbly baby) to ask specifically for grapes rather than apples. The benefits of avoiding the little freak-outs that are caused by simple misunderstanding or confusion are just joyous. To look at their face while they are saying/signing something - expressing their intent - clear as day, is such a great feeling. It's nice to find out that an 11 month old can do more than just grunt and point.
I really recommend the Signing Time videos if you're interested in signing with your baby. I am not affiliated with them, I just think they are awesome. Rachel Coleman and her husband have a deaf daughter and started Signing Time in 1996. Rachel blogs here and twitters as well.
Here's some resources from a previous post:
What do you need to do to start signing to your baby?
- Check your local community center. They often offer Baby Sign Language classes. We took classes before #1 was born, and when he was 6 months old.
- If Baby Sign Language is unusual or unused in your country, either find some Deaf Folks and learn your country's specific Sign Language, or use ASL (American Sign Language). The trick is to be consistent and have an illustrated dictionary to refer to.
- Stick with it. Don't give up. We started when he was six months old and signed every day without a single clear response until he was a year old. We nearly quit a dozen times before that.
- Then one day he signed "light" as clear as day in his bedroom. We turned on the light and our son lit up with a small as wide as his face. That's when we connected with him. I'm not talking about the standard Mom/Dad/Baby we-love-you connection. I'm talking about the baby's opinion matters kind of connection.
- Get picture books, lots of them, and learn the signs for the animals. I highly recommend the Priddy Books series of books for baby.
- Learn the signs for animals and common objects and use them every time you see one out in the world. We went for a walk on the Portland Waterfront today and our son was signing bird and dog and plane and sharing those discoveries with us. It's great when he sees something interesting and points at it, but it's something different when he signs about something we didn't see.
- Pay Attention and prepare for the unexpected.
I've blogged before (see below) at length about signing with your baby (or any non-speaking or slow-to-speak child) so I won't belabor the point, so here's some related posts.
If you've used Baby Sign Language, with or without success, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
- Baby Sign Language
- Baby Sign Language - Update at 14 months
- Baby Sign Language - Update at 2 years
- Baby Sign Language 2.0 (Baby #2 at 9 months)