Sunday, June 22, 2008

Much ado about...everything

I started teaching Liesl "baby" American Sign Language (ASL) when she was 7 months old. At 9 months, she was signing back to me. By 13 months, she was learning 2 or 3 new signs every day. By 20 months, she was stringing four or more signs together to form sentences in sign language. She had very few spoken words, but I was not concerned, she was communicaticating very early. Her sign vocabulary was much larger than the spoken vocabulary of other non-signing kids of her age.

Several well-meaning friends, acquaintances, and family members--including both Tom's and my parents--were very concerned when, by her 2nd birthday, she wasn't speaking much--fewer than 10 words in English, really--but she was signing all the time. I kept telling everybody that she would talk when she was ready, but they should recognize that she was advancing very well--she was able to communicate very, very well.

Well, if all the non-believers would like to come to my house for a visit, I'll cook up a big 'ole heaping batch of crow while Liesl waxes on about life around us. In English. A constant, and I mean CONSTANT stream of dialog (uh, no, make that monologue) is happening during our days. All activities must be talked about. Endlessly.

I am working hard on teaching when we need "peace and quiet" during some times. Such as when I am trying to make a left turn on a busy street. Liesl knows I need peace and quiet. How do I know that she knows? Because she comments on it. Constantly. When the left turn blinker is on--just the left, mind you, not the right--she sits back there in her car seat and says, "Mommy need peace and quiet. Peace and quiet for Mommy. Mommy make left turn. Mommy need peace and quiet. Peace and quiet, peace and quiet, peace and quiet...left turn, Mommy need peace and quiet." Then, when I complete the left turn, she announces, triumphantly, "Peace and quiet all done!"

So, it's back to the drawing board. (I think I left some ear plugs there.) In the meantime, I'd like to send a shout out to anyone who is worried that signing with your baby will delay their speech: Um, no. It won't. Trust me. Has anyone seen my Excedrin?

Pictures above:
Liesl signing "please" in her high chair, March 2007, age 15 months
Liesl signing "teddy bear" (her version of the sign), March 2007, age 15 months

Liesl signing "duck" (her version of "duck," anyway) on Mother's Day, 2007, age 17 months

Liesl signing "all done" at 15 months

1 comment:

Marcy said...

LOL! So cute. I'm starting to work on this with my 6 month old. If you have any tips to share I'd love to hear them!