Monday, May 29, 2006

At last, communication.

Remember that kid, Little Jack, in Meet the Fockers who could use sign language to communicate practically before he could even talk? Yeah, that kid rocks, man. Actually, those kids rock. They're twins, and, incredibly, they knew more than 50 signs by the time they began filming the movie at 18 months of age.

Anyway, after I saw that movie, I decided I would try to teach my own Little Guy a sign or two using ASL. So when he was about 5 months old, I started introducing a few simple signs, such as milk, eat, dirty diaper, mommy, daddy, dog, and cat. You know, the words that basically make up his entire existence?

Yeah, well, I do the most important one of all--milk--several times a day. Each time I sit down to nurse him, I open and close my fist like I'm milking a cow. "Milk", I say and look intently into his eyes. Then I squeeze my imaginary cow boob a few more times right in front of his face. "Milk, milk, milk". Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Then I bring him to my own breast to breastfeed. What fun! The other sign I do a lot is the sign for dog, which is basically slapping the hip and snapping the fingers. Every time our dog comes near us, I say "dog" and then I slap my hip several times.

Well, up until recently, Little Guy has shown no interest in signing. I know he recognizes the signs, but he hasn't actually done a sign himself.

Until this week.

Yep, that's right, I am proud to say that Little Guy made his first sign: "dog".

I really wanted to get a video of it happening so I could post it here, but that would have entailed me putting Little Guy within close proximity of the she-beast (pictured above) while I fuddled around with the video camera, thereby possibly putting his life at risk. So, I will simply say that it was totally clear that Little Guy was making the sign. He can't do the finger snap part and he doesn't actually slap his hip per se, but, but...he does slap his right side kinda near his rib cage each time he sees the dog. So, yay!! I count it as a sign!

On a sidenote, I have to admit that this may not officially be Little Guy's very first sign because around 9 weeks old I coulda sworn he gave me the finger. I dunno. What do you think?

(picture of Little Guy flipping me the bird - removed to protect his privacy)


Blogger Catherine said...

I'm reading along, feeling so proud for you, composing my comment in my head, then BOOM! you make me laugh out loud there at the end and I completely forgot what I was going to say to begin with. Damn you're good. Hmm, maybe THAT'S what I was gonna say!

11:21 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

Oh, he is DEFINITELY a genius!!

12:46 AM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Thats a classic picture.. I have bought a baby sign book and am looking forward to starting to teach my lil guy... he is still a little to young.. I am sooo happy for you! Keep up the GREAT work!
...and dirty diaper is the most hillarious sign, just wait till he does that one in public!!!

3:24 AM  
Blogger Undercover Angel said...

That's amazing! You must have worked very hard, but obviously in the end it paid off!

4:27 AM  
Anonymous rhonda said...

Oh he SO gave you the finger LOL!

5:38 AM  
Blogger Pattie said...

The she-beast is beautiful.
I think teaching your little guy sign language is priceless. Oh and I think he might have given you the finger! So funny! :)

5:47 AM  
Anonymous chelle said...

hehe hehe! Not sure he was giving you the finger...I am glad he is picking up the signing!

I am so in love with your dog!!!

6:52 AM  
Blogger Christina_the_wench said...

That is the BEST sign he could learn. He will use it so much in his future daily traffic commute.

Kudos for teaching him the other ASL. =)

7:45 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...

Very cool. And yeah, baby was sooooo giving you the finger. Last semester there was a hearing impaired woman in one of my classes. She "told" us (via the translator) about baby's learning ASL. I think it's amazing. I never even knew you could teach little babies sign language, until Meet the Fockers, which I love that movie BTW. ASL would have been very beneficial with my oldest son especially because he use to get SO frustrated that he couldn't communicate what he wanted and would melt down big time as a baby and small toddler. Once he got his language skills he behaved much much better. My 5-year-old communicates WAY too well already. If the kid knew ASL I would never EVER get a moment's peace. :)

8:21 AM  
Blogger jennster said...

LOL- he totally just flipped you off!!!!!!! beat him! there's no backtalk in the house! lol

9:13 AM  
Anonymous mothergoosemoouse said...

I can hardly believe you got that pic - that is so classic!

I never read up on ASL for Tacy since she was practically talking in sentences as soon as she exited the womb (all right, I exaggerate SLIGHTLY), but CJ's teachers have taught her to sign "please" and it is just adorable to watch her grin and swipe her hand across her chest. I wish I had taught her a few signs myself.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

We used ASL for a little bit, but the only sign Cordy used was milk. That's great that he signed dog, though!

Oh, and he's totally giving you the finger in that pic. Hilarious!

9:58 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

hehe, Mark gave me that sign at a few weeks old too.

We taught him a few signs recently to make our lives easier, like more and all done or all gone. We even made up a few to mean get down (from the high chair) and go outside. It really pays off.

9:59 AM  
Blogger sunshinedaily4me_wuz_here said...

Cool on the sign language thing...wish I could have taught my son that when he was younger (he is 11 now) - and that picture of the finger is HILARIOUS! You will have to use that again in his future of course!

10:12 AM  
Blogger Great Day said...

We also have a flipping of the bird finger. Our daughter was about 3 months old.

We do or try to do the signing thing. My baby could care less though and she is now 11 months. When we do the signs she just looks at us like we are insane.

Congrats and glad it worked for you.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Ha ha! Great picture! :)

10:48 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

LOL- I have some pics of me giving the finger at a young age unintentionally. And look how I grew up. LOL. But seriously- I envy you- I never had the patience to try that signing stuff. I wish I had.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Kendra said...

Good job at getting your young one learning to sign. Cute picture too.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Thanks for the encouragement on the signing. I have a friend who thinks I'm teaching my baby to act like a monkey. I disagree, so we'll keep at it!

P.S. to those who liked our doggie, I may be putting her up for auction soon. Any bidders?? he he. OK, I wouldn't REALLY do that. Or would I.....? hmmmmm.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Mega Mom said...

I think babies are amazing and can learn so much so quickly. Have you heard of the "My baby can read" DVD's? Amazing. I tried to teach my son a bit of sign, but it never really stuck for either of us.

Now, on a slightly downer note, did you know that it is very common for some kids who learn sign language to be slow in their verbal communications? I'm not saying that means EVERYONE, but it happened with my friend's son. I think it has to do with how much you verbally reinforce things. My friend is a speech pathologist who uses a combination, but is careful with the signing. OK, had to add that :)

11:49 AM  
Blogger Catch said...

I think he is an absolutely gorgeous little boy whether he signs or Hes wayyy to young to be giving the finger though...lmao

12:13 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

Signing makes things so much easier! I love that his first sign was for dog. And that picture? Gah! Funny stuff.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

That's crazy cool. Ever since that movie I've always thought about baby's signing too. I wonder if ours could - she's good at clapping and "hands in the air!" Can I retrofit either of those into some kind of sign?

1:07 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

I have all the ASL beginner flash cards posted in Liam's room so we can learn the signs and implement them, but we are lazy... it's not happening.

As for the middle finger. Our sweetums flipped us off at the ripe old age of 2 weeks (see my April 14th post).

1:46 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Mega Mom: I will make sure to SAY the word AND sign it. I don't want him to substitute signing for talking. That would not be good!

Mom-101: Hands in the air is the sign for "pick me up" so there ya go. She's already signing!!

Gina: OMG, that picture of Liam is hilarious. He IS giving you the finger. Plain as day. Ha!

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Motherhood Uncensored said...

AHAHA. Totally the finger.

We used signing a lot - and she loves it.

If you slap your hip, that's diaper. Not to confuse things or anything! :)

5:04 PM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

Dude, he's flippin' you off.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Piece of Work said...

I tried so hard to get my son to sign, but he was completely un-interested. My husband would make jokes at my expense whenever I signed, so eventually I stopped. Fortunately, both my kids were early talkers so it didn't matter much.
I'm still jealous though. I so wanted my kids to sign!

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

That was awesome! And as for that last sign...maybe he's just telling you that he say a bird?

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Oh, that's awesome that he's learning to sign. I wanted to teach my girls, and I really wish I'd taught Rosie since she's very expressive physically and not so much verbally.

And he was totally flipping you the bird in that pic. Silly little guy!!

6:31 PM  
Blogger cameo said...


7:13 PM  
Blogger K. said...

I only taught my baby one sign - "milk" - until he got it. Now we are slowly introducing more. Isn't it exciting when they actually sign back to you?!?

And, oh yeah, he is definitely giving you the finger.

8:00 PM  
Blogger mommy on the verge said...

yeah, he definately gave you the finger! Well, at least he's smart!

10:48 PM  
Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

Yep - definitely flippin' you the bird.

Or is that ASL for "Don't even THINK of trying to put me to bed."

(Good job on teaching him to sign - is it too late to teach my seven and ten year olds? Cause I could use a little quiet around here.)

11:46 PM  
Anonymous krista said...

Hey, that is so awesome! I studied ASL in college for a year, intensively. I was considering becoming an interpreter at the time. Then I became pregnant, so when my son was born, and I was home with him, I did sign with him all the time because it was so fresh in my mind. He picked it up and signed often. My favourite little signs were the signs for "please" and "more". Little hands looks SO cute doing those ones.


3:33 AM  
Blogger sunshine scribe said...

He's a genius for sure. But I loved the pic of him giving you the finger. LOL!

3:52 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I thought about starting this too. Sounds interesting! You think it slows them down from actually speaking, since they can talk in other ways?

7:47 AM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Sweatpantsmom: for a little quiet, I would go ahead and try it with your kids. They say you're never to old to learn. LOL.

Jenn: Mega Mom was saying that it could slow down speech if you don't verbally reinforce the words as well as sign them. So I guess the key is to speak the word when you do the sign, and then you should be OK. Oh and supposedly, it's never too late to start even with babies who are already starting to talk. :)

8:23 AM  
Blogger lildb said... and I are going to tussle, I fear. I have my bitch-slapping hand in ready mode.

( just ate my thoughtful comment about your son's skyscraper-sized IQ, and your superhuman parenting skills. me no likee.)

me likee you, though. I don't have the heart to recreate the magic from my first comment; suffice it to say that I think you're neat-o, and your little boy, too.


10:55 AM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

Signing is so much fun. I did it with both of my girls, and it really helped.

On another note, I enjoyed your post 'psycholgy of a blogger' as I have recently become 'addicted to blogging' and being validated in the process.

Cheers and happy signing....Anne

11:11 AM  
Blogger HeatherJ said...

That picture is perfect. his first sign fully communicated to you how he felt at that moment in time.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Marla said...

Was the finger directed at you, or the world?

Josephine's favourite as "Rock On"

2:16 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

lildb: gah! I hate it when blogger eats my comments. But I'm feeling the love from ya as always. thank you!

ac: a fellow signer. yeah! thanks for visiting :)

Marla: that picture is priceless... He's totally rockin out in his sleep!

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Mama G said...

I'm thinking that's definitely the finger!!

I, too, taught my little man sign. He was probably 14 months old before he started using them regularly - but I tell you what, it made my life SO much easier knowing what he wanted! When he didn't know a sign, he'd cry with frustration at his inability to communicate. Thank goodness for me, that was a rare occassion!

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

Then I squeeze my imaginary cow boob...

lololololol...too fricken funny!

I've been working on sign language, too, but not much interest so far.

Love that photo!!!

9:47 PM  
Blogger cmhl said...

look at his CHEEKS!! how do you KEEP from just chewing on him?

4:44 AM  
Blogger J's Mommy said...

hahaha great picture!! i have one like that of my little girl. i guess it's their way of giving us a big F U!

11:24 AM  

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