How my daughter continues to blow my little mind with her little hands

Mommy’s swelling pride means the first thing I want to share with you all is Anya’s signing progress. I just find this whole ‘human learning to communicate’ journey endlessly fascinating. Anya seems to pick things up so quickly. I have to tell someone or I’ll burst! I try not to go on about it (too much) in person, in mommy groups or the like… but yeah, with you guys I let it out, to get the bragging out of my system, so to speak. Anyway, we all know all babies are amazing and to each of us our own baby is the best – of course – and to each of us it is, of course, true. Here is my truth:

At one year old (yes Anya has turned one!! – awesome) Anya now has over 50 signs. She went through another cognitive-development spurt, clearly. For a couple of weeks she was picking up signs at a rate of up to 2 a day – just fantastic to watch. She has also been building her repertoire of ‘words’ (with sounds for sleeping, pig and, the old classic: fart) so that brings her overall vocab to about 60 concepts.

Baby sign language improves our life in a myriad of small and great ways. One of my fave signs is ‘music’. When I am out with Anya in the baby-carrier she’ll sign for me to sing to her and then, when I stop, she signs for ‘more’. I love it. It is like having an audience cheer and shout encore. I also really enjoy that she calls food ‘mmm’ (not a sign, I know, but cute). There are not many people who greet my food with so much enthusiasm. Got to love that. Other favourite signs include computer, ‘there is none’/empty, tree and sleep (as in ‘dada is sleeping on the bed and snoring like a pig’ – I kid you not, she has pretty much signed that whole sentence… or at least that sentiment).

Anya also now has combinations of signs like ‘more milk’. Or she’ll combine sign and sounds by doing something like sign ‘where is’ and add the word ‘dada’. Cute and clever, no?

The other thing I think is fab about signing is the insight it gives me into the thought processes of a pre-verbal baby. For example, if we are indoors playing and Anya suddenly signs ‘bird’ it can take me a few seconds to realise she is saying she just heard a bird, outside. Who knew babies can hear and identify things out of sight, even when seemingly concentrating on an activity at hand?

So you can see, I am more and more sold on this signing thing. It is a lot of work, or at least it was to get it going in the start. It kind of has its own momentum now and is just fun, so that keeps us motivated. But I really enjoy it and I can see what a kick Anya gets from it, each time we respond appropriately to a request or communication of hers. She gets a real glint of joy and recognition in her eye. I can’t imagine not signing now and I find myself wondering how other moms communicate to their babies: how do they know what they want, what excites them, what they are thinking about? I know they make do but it seems so much more practical and rewarding to sign, now that I am into it. I’ll fully admit I do it as much for me as for Anya but she is clearly getting a lot out of it and I have read the research results: this stuff has positive impact on learning for life, not just as toddlers. I am lucky I stumbled across signing and grateful I stuck with it. Thanks California for your crazy hippy parenting ways!

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2 thoughts on “How my daughter continues to blow my little mind with her little hands

  1. Awesome! I am so glad that your little Anya has picked up signing so well! What resources do you use to teach her? We use Signing Time DVDs, and they are pretty cute :)
    The fact that she saw a relationship between daddy’s snoring and the sound a pig makes shows that Anya is a very bright girl. :)

    • Thank you. I am not sure if it was bright or just literal, as in ‘daddy is making the pig noise’ – which frankly only makes me laugh more! (although secretely I think she is pretty clever, too).

      Well, first I read the book Baby Signs and that is what got me really into it and taught me some basic signs, we also bought a sign chart and since then I have bought an illustrated ASL dictionary type thing. It is really good (sorry I am travelling right now and don’t have the references). Anya will point and imitate the signs, too, which is adorable. We went to a Baby Sign Language course, too. If I am honest that was mostly about getting Kai (daddy) into it plus it is fun to do it in a social setting. I really liked the class and it did the job – Kai is really into the signing and will reinforce the signs I am teaching her during the day and add a few of his own, which is fab. Since I saw Anya identifying (or trying to identify signs) from the photos of people signing in the book I have been thinking of getting one or two of the baby sign time books which she might find quite fun. I used to think they were a waste of time, but I get it now! How do you use the videos? Do you all watch them together and practice your signs along with the video?

      Ta,
      xx

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