When we first heard about Signing Time [affiliate link], it was because I had read about teaching a baby to sign – that it reduced frustration for them to be able to communicate before they could speak. I ended up thinking that all of those children had to be BRILLIANT to be able to learn to sign, because even though the J-man loved watching Signing Time, he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) sign. He didn’t have the fine motor skills to pull off doing any sign that had finger movement or shaping.
The only sign the J-man ever used was “more” and I’m still not sure that he understood what he was asking for. The only time he ever used it was when we were playing a game where we carried him around and stopped suddenly, and he had to ask for “more” before we would move again. So he understood that we would start running again, but I think he just thought the sign meant something like “go.” Once the J-man was able to actually say the “g” sound (for GO!) he stopped with signing “more.”
In the span of something like 5 minutes, I just taught Dale Jr to sign “more.” He was sitting in his high chair eating (also something new this time around), and I asked if he wanted “more” or “all done” – signing each thing. (Our “all done” is like an umpire making the SAFE signal at home plate, because the other way to do “all done” looks too much like stimming for the J-man to ever differentiate.) Dale Jr would open his mouth like a baby bird in a nest, and I would pop in another Gerber Puff, each time signing “more!” before.
Suddenly, when I asked if he wanted “more” or “all done” he clapped his fists together. “MORE” I shouted, and gave him another puff. “More or all done?” Again, he clapped his fists together. “MORE!”
Then, before I could ask the question, Dale Jr looked at me pointedly, and clapped his fists together. “MORE!”
I called Tim downstairs to make sure I wasn’t reading more (heh) into the situation than it warranted, and Dale Jr showed Daddy that he could sign “more” with a bit of resignation – all, “I just want the dang Puff, people, so could you give it to me?”
And, we celebrated.