Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Signing With Zara
Zara signing 'MORE' in the attached photo: I first heard about signing with babies when I was searching for some books in Amazon.com, and stumbled upon books on this topic, so I looked up websites and did some research. Why do you sign to babies? "It is a fact that infants develop the fine muscles in their hands before they develop those required for speech, so they're equipped to communicate with you before they can speak", there are some very good websites who give you some insight to this. I for one, got very frustrated when I could not understand what Zara was crying or asking for. She was 7 months then. At the period where she could not speak, but already had her demands(by crying). I went to the ASL (American Sign Language) Site, looked at the video on how to do certain signs, and started signing to Zara. I tried to do the essential one like milk, drink, eat. It wasn't easy to let Zara associate the signs with the words, even more difficult because my maid was her main care giver during the day. Although I'd instructed her to sign to Zara when Zara was offered milk, a drink of water or food to eat, I could not ensure she did that since I was not around to check on her. When I signed to Zara during the time I took care of her, she seemed to look at me in amusement, not taking my 'signing' seriously. The initial attempt failed. As Zara grew older, she's more firm with her demands, she gets a bit frustrated when none of us are able to tell what she's saying or asking for. So I tried signing again. This time, I didn't get my maid to help, because if she did it wrongly, it'll only confuse Zara more. I'd used a few signs with her, two of the signs she picked up quickly are more (2 hands come together), and no more (turn the wrist with palm stretched out). Her version of more is pointing her finger to her other palm (like doing dim-choong-choong 点虫虫). She tells me she wants more by doing this action, e.g. she wants more bubble blowing, food, reading, singing, etc. Her signing came to very good use the other night. After breast feeding her from both breast, she pointed her finger to her other palm (she wants more), then pointed to my breast, and turned her wrist with palm stretched out (but I have no more milk), and then started fussing and repeated the gesture (my milk supply reduced because of the time of the month). I quickly made her 2 additional oz of formula milk. Although she eventually just took a few drips (yes 'drips', not even 'sips') of milk from the bottle (she only has tasted formula milk on 2 or 3 occasions, so probably not used to the taste), she seemed to be happy that I understood her, and went to sleep blissfully. I'm still in the midst of introducing more signs to her. Hopefully, it'll help more with our communications.