January 29, 2010

Gavin's Guide to Sign Language

I've been meaning to get a video of Gavin doing some signs and yesterday I was finally able to! Usually he stops whatever he's doing as soon as he sees the camera because he wants to hold it and push the buttons and watch himself. So its so hard to catch him doing things on camera! But for some reason he just co-operated with me (it helped that he was strapped into his booster seat!) and I got him to do a bunch! I wish the lighting was better but its the best I could do!

I have to give a shout-out to our friends Tommy & Michelle! They taught their daughter, Cahill A LOT of sign language when she was just a baby. I thought it was so cool that she knew so many signs and could communicate so well at such a young age. Since then, I had a big interest in it and knew I wanted to try it when we had a child. So when Gavin was a few months old we went to Chapters and bought a few Baby Sign Language books. They were really simple and colourful with big, bright pictures. They had mostly the basic signs relating to eating/feeding and the daily routines of a baby.

We decided to start with "milk" (the sign for "breastfeed" was a little less discreet and looks like a mouth opening and closing on your breast. Makes sense but not really something you want to be signing in public!!) We also did "change" when we changed his diaper.

It took us a while before we actually remembered to do it. Mostly I would try to remember to sign "milk" every time Gavin nursed. John started catching on too and every time we said the word, we would do the sign too. Sometimes we would remember to sign "change" but not as often for some reason. And we didn't do "more" very often either. We were kind of lazy signers.

Once Gavin was 6 months old and we started introducing him to solids, the signs started coming in more handy and we would try to remember to sign "more", "all done" and "eat" at mealtimes. He would just stare at us as if we were crazy. The months passed and it seemed like he would never sign back! But I was kind of having fun learning new signs and I was determined that he was going to catch on. It would be so much easier if he could just tell me what he wanted!

Finally when he was around 11 months old he signed "milk" to me! I was so excited! From that point on, he started signing it so much that it got annoying! There was no way he could want that much milk! But he was so proud of himself!

We started signing more consistently and once he started signing them back, we would introduce a few more. We have gotten a bit lazy with introducing new ones again but there are several main ones that we do on a daily basis and it really helps us communicate better with less frustration and less tantrums!


  1. this is AMAZING megan. you guys are inspiring parents.

  2. AWWW! What a great video! He is so impressive and you've really inspired me to keep at the signing, too!

    (MILK, MORE, and UP only on this end, but we're working on a few more! Also, thanks for the board book recommendations!)

    ~ Catia

  3. That is SO neat! What a great way to take some of the frustration out of not being able to speak yet!! So cool.