On Signing

Remy’s been walking in earnest for almost a month now. Everyone said walking would be the big game changer. I disagree. This month Remy also began signing back to us. And that has changed everything.

A baby sits in a highchair, looking off camera for more food.

Now that Remy can ask for food, he eats a lot more often.

We began using basic signs with Remy around six months, when he started eating at the table with us. “More” and “all-done” were pretty consistent. We signed “eat” less frequently. And I’d been signing “milk” on and off since the beginning. A huge help to us in deciding whether and how to try signing with Remy was Joseph Garcia’s Book “Sign with your Baby”. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, this month Remy began signing back to us. It has been revolutionary.

I’m new at this tiny human thing, so maybe it’s just me, but it blows my mind that Remy has independent thoughts and desires. Remy, who used to not be able to move his own body. Remy who didn’t even really exist a year ago. This kid remembers things: he remembers where he hides ball point pens and ping pong balls. He remembers that there are cherrios on the kitchen counter. He remembers where the pans are kept. He remembers that food is a thing that he might want at any place or time.

And now, Remy can ask for things. When Remy realized “more” would get him stuff, he signed it all the time. It was fun to see him realize his own agency in the world.

It was awesome to see him test out what he could do just by moving his hands in a certain way. He could get water. He could get more tickles. He could get food and milk. He could get picked up. He could stay in the bath longer. He could get more toys.

Likewise, Remy can change his situation by signing “all done.” He can be excused from the table. He can decide when to get out of the bath. He can try to be “all done” with nap time, diaper changing, and new pants. He has tried many times to be “all done” with being in the car. It is so fun to see him realize that he gets to have a say. It is awesome to be able to empower him in these small ways.

I am astounded at how big a difference just the two signs have made, and I’m very excited to teach Remy more. Remy has always been his own little person, and it’s wonderful for him to have a way to teach me more about himself.

Have any of you tried signing with your baby? What are some of the early signs that you had success with? How are you empowering your little ones as they learn about the world?

One thought on “On Signing

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