Well… raising a baby here in the US has been really different from what I can imagine having a baby in Mexico would’ve been like. Not only because of the obvious (not having my family close to help me out, she would hear only one language, food would be different, too), but also on things that are trending here and not in Mexico.
Sign language is one of them. My family in Mexico is still in awe by what she does which is pretty much what almost every kid here is doing!
Before Coco was born, I was introduced to sign language when I would teach swimming lessons and babies would sign to me “all done”, or “more”. At first I did not know what they were doing with their hands. Then the mother would explain to me they were signing me what they couldn’t yet say with speech. I thought it was a little ridiculous and not necessary to be honest, why would a baby need to say those things. Then I had my own child, and like every new mother I took my words back and began considering teaching her how to sign. The more I read about it, the more it made sense to me.
Babies have a need to communicate, they want something to end, they want something done, and they don’t know how to tell you so they get frustrated. They cry. Mom gets frustrated. Mom cries too. hahaha Children’s vocal chords and their vocal capacity does not develop until later, but that is not the case of their ability to communicate through sign language.
We introduced Coco to sign language at around 6 months. We started with just a few signs that we thought were important. “more”, “all done”, “eat”, “milk”. As soon as she would learn those, we would start introducing more which we thought were helpful depending on what activities she was interested in.
Right now, at 17 months, these are the signs she uses pretty well on a daily basis: “more”, “all done”, “eat”, “milk”, “potty”, “yes”, “thank you”, “please”.
Not only is it helpful for her to sign to us when she is hungry (eat) or thirsty (milk), it’s also darn cute. I have to apologize to the moms who I thought were over achievers and thank them for making me curious about something we now do. Thanks also to http://www.babysignlanguage.com for being a great source of information on baby sign language.