Signing Story: A must read from a very happy Mum
We love hearing your signing stories, and this one really is really touching. If you have a Signing Story to share, send to share, send it to info@MySmartHands.com and you can be featured on our blog!
I wrote you back in February saying that I’d hoped to update you positively in a few months. “Hope” was an optimistic choice of word for me at the time…not b/c I thought that my son, Lucas lacked the aptitude, but b/c I figured I would not have the patience or resolve to continue signing with him. I am so pleased to write that we have had an awesome experience.
Your daughter Fireese is a tough standard to match, but Lucas and I are communicating! I bought your book in February but took it slowww. I was already convinced I was competent enough to sign “milk”, “water”, “more” and “eat” with him without needing further help on the matter. But I received no feedback from my little buddy. I frequently lashed myself that I started signing too late (L was 10 months old when I committed to it). I also let him watch a Baby Einstein signing video on YouTube to give him other visuals, but then wondered if he would ever “get it” since the video was in English and I spoke to him in Vietnamese and it was too confusing blah blah blah. I was getting nothing back from him. At the end of March, we *think* he signed “more” for the first time, but he didn’t repeat it much so I didn’t call that a win. Throughout all of this, I remained consistent (and admittedly frustrated) and tried to add more signs as I thought fit. And throughout all of this, my husband, Tim, thought I was nuts and rarely backed me up with the signs.
By L’s first birthday in May, his only consistent use of sign language was “more” to indicate an interest in food. As in, “I want to eat that. Give me that. I want more of that,” etc. At this point, I knew he understood me b/c he could follow simple directions, but I didn’t see any signing other than “more”. I finally felt some legitimate hope in June (13 months) when he picked up a few signs at the same time: cheese, strawberry, avocado. My world was blown…it was so rewarding to witness! And Tim started getting on board.
He is now 16.5 months old. I’ve counted at least 50 signs that L currently uses (we just added “penguin” to his repertoire today. I have to agree with you – it’s a cute one. He smiles and wiggles when he does it.). He doesn’t know the Vietnamese AND English equivalents of each of those signs, but he is “bilingual” in many of those. He also speaks a few words, too, so I’m not worried (and never was) that signing will hinder his speech development.
I wanted to thank you for several reasons. Many people echo this in your book, but it truly is brilliant to understand your child and to know that he has thoughts. Sometimes L will sit in his buggy quietly, just thinking about life or whatever he’s wont to do, and suddenly he will sign “monkey” or something totally random. I will look around and see a small picture of a monkey on a girl’s backpack, or a building sign. Yesterday, Tim went to take L out of his crib. L kept tapping his leg, to which Tim kept responding, “Yep, I’m here, let’s get out now.” Finally, Tim realized there was a dog on a book inside of the crib. Once Tim acknowledged the dog, L raised his arms to be let out. Cheeky little dude, but we wouldn’t be able to get a full sense of his personality without the sign language. I thank you for that.
The most important thing your book has given me is confidence. I believe that confidence is paramount to my happiness as a mum. Despite working for 13 years in finance at a competitive firm in an aggressive environment, I was brought to my knees by this baby. Luckily I had a wonderful network of mums borne (pun intended) out of an antenatal group in London to keep me strong. In January of this year, I decided to leave my job and we returned to the States but moved to a new area. I struggled with the severe cold weather, a city with poor public transport, and the new role of being a stay-at-home mum with no professional or social network. I loved being at home with my happy little guy (he couldn’t refuse my cuddles), but I wondered what I was “bringing to the table.” At first, I was just grateful that your book gave me a guideline. (We love signing/singing to his Row Your Boat book. He even says “Row, row” while signing “boat” when he wants me to read it.) And then I was grateful that your book gave me proof that I’ve actually CONTRIBUTED TO MY SON’S DEVELOPMENT!!
I could have simply carried on with my 3-4 signs and supplemented as necessary using your YouTube videos, without buying your book. But the book, and the flash cards, have given me such guidance, confidence, and structure. It has also been pretty cool learning a new skill myself. My husband is in awe of Lucasl’s developments. Not so much that he’s 100% consistently signing…but once he sees Lucas signing, he reciprocates.
Thank you…just simply, thank you. I’m so happy to be able to tell you what a wonderful experience it has been.