I used to sign Makaton with a baby with Down Syndrome that I was a nanny to so I was quite used to a few of the signs and signing in general.
Once I had Cam, I got a baby sign language book from the library and googled resources to learn some of the basic signs. We have ended up using American sign language for a couple of signs as I’ve found they are easier. The most helpful thing for me was watching youtube videos for inspiration.
I went into it half-heartedly wondering whether it would really be right for us despite knowing the benefits (a simple google of ‘baby sign language benefits’ will give you a general idea if you’re unfamiliar). But the first time Cameron signed “Dad” and beamed when we noticed… I got pretty hooked.
We started with easy signs like “Dad” and “finished”. Once he started attempting signs and signing back we have been slowly introducing more. The key I think is to use a combination of helpful one’s for you (finished, more, wait, etc) as well as things that interest bub (ball, car, animals, etc) and to be consistent.
One of the things I love is that it gives me a chance to see what interests Cameron and to differentiate between similar-sounding words (as a lot of words early on are not pronounced in their entirety) like “bird” and “ball” (“bih” and “bah” are so similar but the signs for them are so different for example).
Granted, we’re just at the beginning but it’s proving to be a helpful thing for us and it’s not forced. It just means that I repeat some words and emphasise their meaning I suppose.
Cameron pointed to a bird in a book and signed ‘bird’ while saying “bir” this morning. I was so proud. He’s only ever done it to birds outside and once to a figurine. He did it without me saying it was a bird and it was clear. He’s so gorgeous.
Here he is ‘reading’ 😛
Cam painted a big picture with his cousins… they required two baths and I snapped this cuteness:
Lastly, we still bed share with Cam and he has been up a lot over the last couple of night with teething pain (I assume from all the drooling, chewing and general sookiness).
As a result I’ve implemented The Quiet Basket. The Quiet Basket is a basket full of quiet toys (blocks, a ball, a duck, a taggie) next to the bed (the rest of the room is super baby proofed) which Cam is plonked next to when he attempts to put his fingers up my nostrils/climb me/pull my hair/generally annoy me in an attempt to be entertained.
I simply change him and breastfeed him then talk to him and watch him as I rest. Yep, I’m lazy… but I bet part of you is thinking “that’s kinda clever”. It’s proving to be great as I can interact with him while I rest during his early awake period (from around 5:30 to 7). Although, he did decide this morning to tip all the toys out and play with the basket instead:
Cute right? Y/Y?
Spare a click? ❤