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January 30th, 2009

baby sign language

I started signing with my son many months ago. I used a few signs that I picked up from a poorly written book and a few web sites. In the fall, he and I took an 8 week course. Both of us enjoyed it. He loved the songs and the stories, and I enjoyed learning the signs and practising the songs during the week.

For months I was vigilant about signing as often as I could. After awhile, my enthusiasm dampened when my son turned a year old and still wasn't signing back to me. I continued to sign and sing the songs that we learned because he and I both enjoyed them, but I stopped doing the everyday signs as we went about our day.

At the beginning of January, as he was drinking a bottle of milk, he did the sign for "milk". I hadn't done the sign in ages. It was amazing for him and for us to be able to clearly understand what he wanted when he wanted it.

From that point on, his signing abilities have really blossomed. Two weeks ago, I realized that his clapping during enjoyable meals was actually him doing the sign for "more".

The next week, he signed "all done/all gone" and then "milk" when he finished a bottle of milk. Now he signs "all done/all gone" whenever his bowl of food is empty and sometimes when he is finished on the potty.

On Wednesday, he signed "eat/food" after he initially signed for milk and my mother asked him he wanted milk or wanted to eat. It was suppertime, and he signed that he wanted to eat. The same exchange has repeated itself several times since. Tonight he signed "eat/food" when he finished his supper and he wanted more to eat.

Today, my mother saw him slap his thigh twice after picking up his stuffed dog. As it happens, that is the sign for "dog".

To say that I am proud of him is the understatement of the year. And 2009 has just begun.

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