Feeding my daughter, eating away, and then, a sign- “milk”, another sign- “more.” Where is the milk? It’s in the refridgerator. It was the first time I noticed her signing some thing that was not in view. It was some thing she wanted, but if I didn’t read the signs, the milk would had stayed hidden out of my view and my daughter’s patience would have made itself hidden as well.
It’s amazing how signing really opens a light into your child’s needs and wants, their thoughts and imagination.
Take for instance a number of things that could be mistaken as nothing big but to a child, some thing out of the ordinary and impressionally cool: signing “rainbow” as it appears behind you nearing a cloud on a rainy day, signing “airplane” as you talk on the phone and realize then the fascination developing on your child’s face, and signing “bug” as it crawls ever so cleverly on the ceiling above you.
Your child is opening up all those hidden details in life, and she’s creating a way to also express what’s hidden within herself.
Think of the time your child woke up crying. At the age of only 13 months, she had yet to be able to tell you why she’s crying. As the nightlight seems to dim and the sign takes over in lighting the room, you take your daughter out of her crib to comfort her as she has signed “hurt” while pointing to her mouth. And later at the age of 18 months, a similar night is lit up with the simple signs of “wet” and “diaper.” She would prefer being dry for a good nights’ rest.
Examples such as these remind me of how simple our children's needs and wants are and how simply they can be expressed with the ability to sign as they unveil their hidden, specific wants and needs as well as their specific thoughts and fascinations.
Feel free to comment and leave your own example on the ways signing has helped reveal those hidden wants and needs! We'd love to hear them!