I love the idea of teaching babies to use sign language. My sister’s used it with her kids and it’s definitely grown in popularity in recent years, as evidenced by things like Baby Signs. The truth is, it’s really simple to teach and pays some pretty cool dividends.

Basically, from very early on, we’d use a sign while saying a phrase or doing a specific action. For instance, Huyen would do the sign for “milk” while asking Rasine if she wanted milk or right before nursing. It was pretty amazing when Rasine started doing the signs on her own. And once she did the first few, she picked up a lot more quite quickly. It’s good for everyone involved — it keeps her happy because she’s able to accurately communicate what she wants and it keeps us happy because we don’t need to guess why she’s cranky (well, most of the time). It’s gotten so ingrained that she’s even signed in her sleep.

Here’s a list of the signs Rasine is currently using, at 10 1/2 months:

  • Milk
  • Eat
  • More
  • Potty
  • Dog
  • Bunny
  • Daddy (where she slaps herself in the head – always nice to know she’s inducing brain damage while asking for me)
  • Mommy (very close to Daddy, but on the cheek and without the slapping; she’s only used it once or twice… she usually opts for “Mamamamama”)
  • Cat (once)
  • Water (once)

And though it’s not sign language, she’s becoming a big fan of viciously shaking her head “no” when she doesn’t want something. ‘Tis cute now, but will probably be less so when she starts shrieking the word along with it.