When Malcolm was four months old, I started using American Sign Language with words I said a lot throughout the day: Mom, Dad, water, milk, hungry, more, diaper, cat ... With little enthusiasm from the rest of my family, and such limited knowledge myself, it eventually fell by the wayside.
My son, it seemed, was just too little.
His main goal in life was to chew on his hands, not use them to sign!
Today, since he has all but boycotted speaking (he loves to jabber on and on, but only says a handful of real words up to this point, the most important one being "Mama"), I thought it might be a good idea to give signing another try.
Inspiration really hit when I saw a video on one of my favorite blogs ... I figured, if her kid could do it (at fourteen months!), so could mine ... And, after reading through the comments, I had a video series that I could use to get started. I made it my mission to locate as many "Signing Time" DVDs as I possibly could (luckily the library carried them so I didn't have to spend any money) and hoped that Malcolm would be agreeable enough to allow them into his Sesame Street rotation.
Luckily for me, he totally did.
In fact, on most days, he now prefers to watch "Signing Time!" He is fascinated with all the different children that appear on screen ... So much so that, half of the time, I don't think he pays much attention to the signs at all.
While he hasn't turned into a massive communicator overnight (I didn't think he would), I am noticing a bit of progress. Every now and then, Malcolm will confidently flash a sign. "Ball" is probably the most common (of course he chooses something that really doesn't unlock any of the secrets inside his head) ... Followed by things like "hat," "food/hungry," "cookie," and "more." These fleeting moments of signing are a far cry from the point and grunt method he's used up until this point ... Although that remains the old standby when he wants something right now ...
I don't know why I'm surprised, but he really seems to be catching on ...
I've said it before and I'll continue to say it ... Malcolm is a little smarty pants!
And he knows it, too.
He may not have committed to talking yet, but I'm convinced that's all by his choosing. There are so many words that he recognizes ... Sometimes I'm simultaneously amazed and worried by his receptive vocabulary.
We will be in so much trouble when he does decide to talk and repeat our every word!
As many mothers of boys (and girls, too) have told me, it's only a matter of time before he starts talking and won't shut up! And while I do appreciate the quiet (when he's not shouting out random syllables), I can't wait for that little baby voice to start speaking with more frequency.
But I've got to admit, watching his little hands "say" words is pretty cute, too.