Monday, February 16, 2009

The Baby Signs® Program

I started this blog to talk about things that make my parenting job "easier and that much more fun." At the top of that list is the Baby Signs® Program --on both the "easier" and the "that much more fun" parts. The only reason it has taken me this long to write about it is that I was concerned that people might think that I was merely promoting my own business.

I'd gone back and forth and decided that I am going to write about it anyway, because this is my blog after all and I get to write about anything I want (ha ha!). Seriously though, I am going to talk about it because if anything, the Baby Signs® Program has been one of the greatest things Chris and I have come across since becoming parents (Thanks again to Joanne, who told me about signing!). So good that, Chris, an initial skeptic, was the one who convinced me to explore further, get training, and set up Baby Signs Hong Kong.

When we first started with Josh at 8 months, we were doing it primarily because I thought it would be fun. I'd always been interested in sign language and thought that it would be cool if we could sign with Josh. The benefits of signing were, for me, then, a bonus. (I am a girl... and you know that girls just wanna have fu-un! Sorry, couldn't resist that one.) So, Chris --bless him for doing it along with me even if it was only to humor me! --would sign along with me when we would play with Josh and read to him. We were doing it every day that it became second nature to us to sign along as we would talk, read to Josh. One night, as we were reading Goodnight, Moon to Josh, he raised his little arm and did the sign for MOON. Chris and I looked at each other and whooped our delight. We were not making silly fools of ourselves signing with Josh after all; the little guy actually got it and was now signing back! Chris got so excited that he urged me to learn more signs so that we could teach more to Josh. And so it went. (More about our Baby Signs® story here.)

Signing with both Josh and Zoë had been a lot of fun, to say the least. It was very exciting to be able to communicate effectively with them even way before they could talk. They would use signs to tell us things that we otherwise wouldn't have known that they knew about; they could tell us if they wanted MORE of something, if they felt HOT, if they wanted MILK, etc. It was cute, it was exciting, but most of all, it made for a much richer interaction and communication with them, much much earlier on than would be possible otherwise.

Even when they started talking already, the signs still came in handy. For example, sometimes when their mouths are full and they wanted water, they would just sign WATER, instead of trying to talk with their mouths full. Or, there was this time when we were at Cityplaza and Zoë was looking at the fountains with the arcing streams of water, she kept saying, "'bow, 'bow." We didn't know what she meant by it until she made the sign for RAINBOW, clarifying that she thought the arcing streams of water looked like rainbows. That was the first time she said 'bow in reference to a rainbow. Without the sign, we wouldn't have been able to affirm her observation, share with her her delight in her "discovery" nor even know that she knew what a rainbow was, let alone see that she was able to liken other "arcs" to rainbows!

I can go on and on. I'm quite passionate about this subject. But I will stop here. For now. :)

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