Let me start of by saying that the title of this blog is a bit tongue and cheek. I’m calling it “Baby Signing for Beginners” because I only know a few signs! So let’s begin there. If you know and use others, feel free to laugh at me and teach me a thing or two as well!
I’ve always used the following three baby signs when talking to my babies, starting at around seven or eight months: Eat, Drink and More. I figure, any way they can communicate their needs, the easier life will be for both of us. No matter how in tune I am with my children, I am still often baffled by the frustrated pointing and grunting that can quickly turn to angry howler monkey-like screeches. “How can you not understand me, Mommy! Aren’t we practically the same person??” And yes, while I can often read Cooper’s mind, it also important that he learns how to tell me what he needs with words or signs.
Signing “eat” is fairly straight forward–Pinch all of your fingers together like you are holding a piece of food and bring it to your mouth. Cooper does his own variations of signs as do other children, so sometimes he points to his mouth, sometimes he holds an imaginary piece food, sometimes his mouth is open, sometimes closed but I know what he wants when he does it.
To sign “drink” curl your fingers and thumb around an imaginary glass of water. With your left hand you will be forming the letter C (completely unrelated–that’s just the shape you want). Bring your hand to your mouth, touch your thumb to your lip and tilt your hand back as if you were drinking from a cup. Your baby may not be able to mimic your hand movements perfectly, just as if he were speaking verbally, he might be “signing” baby talk, but after a while you’ll catch on.
Signing “more” involves keeping the fingers on both of your hands straight and pinching them all together with your thumb. Then bring your hands in front of you and touch the tips of your fingers together. (Does that makes sense?) It’s hard to describe how to sign so what I suggest is to do some searching on YouTube and you’ll find videos of children and babies demonstrating the hand and finger motions. In fact, I just did this a moment ago with Cooper on my lap and he absolutely loved watching the babies. He kept signing “More! More!”
These are the three signs that I use most, though I also know a few others like banana, ball, strawberry, milk and potty. Maybe I’ll add a few more to the repertoire since, unlike the girls, Cooper is a bit of caveman and prefers to point and grunt.
Do you sign with your baby? Which signs are your favorite?