Seven or eight months ago Nick and I began a quest. A quest to teach our boys simple signs (from American Sign Language) in order to ease the communication barrier. We’ve had friends teach their children these simply signs quite successfully, so we decided to give it a go.
In the last 7 or 8 months we’ve checked out Baby Einstein’s My First Signs from the library half a dozen times. Nick and I have also been diligent in always signing when saying the following words: eat, drink, milk, sleep, more, cereal, mommy, daddy and a handful of other words. We knew consistency was key and also that it might be several months before the boys signed back…
We knew fairly early on that the boys knew what the signs meant even though they weren’t doing them back. I would do “Daddy” when Nick was pulling into the driveway and they’d all get excited and try to look out the window. Or we’d do “eat” and they’d head for the dinner table. As we were inching closer to their 1 year birthday though with still no sign of a sign we got a little frustrated. I even contemplated giving up on the signs.
The first day we gave them milk (2 days after their birthday), we signed “milk” for the first time to them (they’d see it on the video though) and immediately they all signed it back! We were so excited! Then we went a solid 6 weeks of them only doing “milk” and none of the other signs. Then a couple of weeks ago we had a break through – Tyler and Jackson both started signing back “eat” and then a day later they added “more” to the mix! Chase can do both now too and just today I figured out that Tyler is signing “drink” but we didn’t recognize it as that.
Here is Tyler demonstrating “eat” and “more”.
Let me assure you though that just because the boys can now communicate with us, does not mean we no longer have tantrums. Just yesterday Tyler came up to me, pulled on my pant leg and signed “more” (he had just shared a cookie with his brothers) and I had to sign back “all done” and tell him no. Know what he did? Started to cry, pull at his face and sit on the floor for the next 5 minutes. Poor kid thought that just because he signed it, he’d get it!