Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why Use Sign Language with Babies?

Since I've been brushing up on signing, I thought I'd share my thoughts on signing with babies...

Babies naturally make attempts at communication. Ever see an infant raise his hands to show you he wants to be held or point at something that is out of reach? Using sign language with babies is a way to tap into this natural tendency to communicate needs.

The burning question is, "Doesn't signing keep them from talking?" I have been asked that a lot. Research shows that babies who sign learn to speak at the usual time or SOONER than children who do not sign, and they have larger vocabularies once they begin speaking. Just as a child who starts to crawl becomes more interested in walking; a child who signs becomes more interested in spoken communication. They are excited that someone understands them! The key is to SAY the sign each time you use it so they connect the spoken word to the sign. There are many, many other benefits that come along with signing, but the average child at 12 months can speak up up to 3 words. Signing children at 12 months can usually speak 16 words.

Resource: Cadjan, N. (2007). Baby signing 1, 2, 3. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc.

The goal is not to impress your friends with all that your child can sign or say, but to be better at communicating with your little one. I can remember, when Adam was 9 months old, he was fussing while crawling around on the kitchen floor. I was trying to cook and finally picked him up and in frustration asked, "What do you need?" He quieted down, and signed "milk." Ta-da! Problem solved, and no more whining baby!

Another time, out of the blue, he started crying in the evenings when we laid him down for bed. This was very out of the ordinary for him, and we couldn't figure out what was wrong. Was he teething? Did he have gas? Was he overly tired? There was no way of knowing. One night while being carried to his crib, he signed "eat" to Wes. After a little snack, he was fine and went to bed without fussing. He was probably going through a growth spurt & needed more to eat. How wonderful for all of us that he was able to express that need to us! We may actually need to sign with Levi, since speech delays are a likelihood with children that have Down syndrome. I am thankful our family is already comfortable with the concept of signing. It is something I'd have done with Levi regardless of any special diagnosis. Proving yet again, that he is more like everyone else than he is different.

I really like the website:
www.mysmarthands.com
There is a video dictionary of signs that is excellent, and these are true ASL (American Sign Language) signs, which I appreciate. If I am going to bother doing this, might as well use signs that are correct and could be understood by others. Who knows, one of my boys could become an interpreter someday.

I'll get off my soapbox now and share some photos. Some fun teachers that work with Wes decorated his office and car last week for a gag, and the boys are still enjoying the balloons.




I hope everyone is having a great week!

By the way, if you have had a hard time posting comments in the past, you may want to try following the blog through "Networked Blogs" by clicking on the button at the bottom of the page. It should be an easy way to get updates on new posts, too. Let me know how it works, and post some comments for me!

Coming soon...an article I wrote is about to be published in Lexington Family magazine! I just opened an email with a final draft to proof, with our photos and everything! Wow! I am super-excited about it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In Good Hands


While watching Adam push his baby brother around in the stroller this afternoon, I couldn't help but think about the importance of their relationship. I am so glad they have one another, and I think they will both positively affect each other's lives. I see Adam's hands and can't help but think of how those hands may continue to care for baby brother in different ways for years to come.


We had a fun walk today. A sweet neighbor let us come on her property to get a close up view of the llama we have been admiring in the field. Adam was thrilled. He was telling Levi all about it and asking him to look, but little Levi was fast asleep.






We also took time to smell the flowers today (thanks to another neighbor- you know who you are :). I am thankful for the great weather, my great boys, and all the opportunities I have to be with them.



Happy Spring!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

3/21/11

Today was World Down Syndrome Day, so what did we do? We had a day just like we'd have had if Down syndrome wasn't a part of our lives.

We had friends over.



We played outside. We blew bubbles.

(This is Adam making "chocolate lake cake." Apparently, tilting your head sideways makes water go where you want it to.)


We met friends at the park.





We took a stroll around the neighborhood. We drank from straws. We read books.

Oh, yeah...AND LEVI SIGNED "EAT."

Oh, yes he did!!

Wes keeps telling me Levi is signing eat, and I'm like, "Yeah, right. Daddy's reading into things a bit." Then today, right at 3pm, when he usually eats, I had him in his car seat carrier, ready to go to the park. I was thinking I'd feed him once we got there. He started fussing and started tapping his mouth with his hand. I gave him some food and he stopped crying and just looked at me like, "Well, what did you THINK I was trying to tell you?" Like the song says, "Rock what you got," Levi!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Monday is World Down Syndrome Day

Monday is a day for raising awareness about Down syndrome. I am not sure what I need to do personally on that day, but I have been wanting to share this story that touched my heart. It seems like an appropriate day to do so as World Down Syndrome Day approaches. It is an Oct. 27, 2007 post from Dave Hingsburger's "Rolling Around in My Head" blog.

To Think
I thought she was going to break into tears. She was standing in front of the display of teas in the grocery store. I'd come to see if they had a particular brand of green tea that I like but I couldn't get by her to check. For a tiny, little woman she took up a lot of space. "All I want is some tea," she said to no one.

“Can I help?”I asked.

She turned, startled. I don't think she realized she was speaking out loud. Then seeing me she simply said, "All I want is some tea, they've got so many different kinds, I just want some tea." I understood immediately how she was feeling. I'm not yet 55 but I'm already finding that the world changes too quickly, that there are too many choices, that it's work to keep up. I pointed at a box of Lipton tea on the bottom shelf, "There is a box of regular black tea for you." She glanced down and said, "No, I don't want that kind. I want tea bags."

Rounding the corner came a man of about 30, with Down Syndrome saying, "Have you got the tea Grandma?" He was bustling up to her with a smile. "I can't find my tea," she said simply to him. He looked over at me and winked, I could tell this has happened before. He pointed at the same box of tea that I had pointed to and she began to protest. "They've just changed the picture Gran, it's the same tea you always have."
"Thank you," she said relieved and picked up the tea, "You're a good boy."
"I'm a man, Grandma," he said with a smile in his voice, "you know I don't like being called a boy."

She looked at me and smiled, "And to think I cried when he was born."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Little of Daily Life with a Grand Finale

This weekend was our local DS association meeting. So many beautiful families. I took a lot of pictures but only posted a few for the sake of time. Those of you that are facbook friends may have already seen these, but stay with me...

She was so determined to get her shoes on without any help! I love this picture!

This is Levi & his new buddy, who is smitten with him, as you can see. Soooo sweet!
After the meeting, we took Adam to see something special. He LOVED it!!




Adam, ready for story time at the library today.

Here's Levi rocking out during his OT session today.


I used up some coupons at CVS.
Yes, my total was 14 cents!!
We enjoyed having Caroline visit today, too.

And the grand finale? Prepare to be dazzled... (I think you can hear everything just fine on this one without turning the music off.) video

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Levi coughed so much Sunday night that Wes took him in to the doctor Monday afternoon. We were surprised to find out that he had an ear infection. The doctor was surprised that Levi didn't have RSV. Anyways, he is still his happy little self. He has his 9 mo. checkup tomorrow, which is nice since we can get some feedback on his cold & ear infection while we are there.

We had a GREAT visit with two GREAT girls and were sad to see them head back home this morning. My cousin & her friend stopped by & spent a night with us on their Spring Break road trip. They loved on our boys, and our boys loved them right back. What I loved was staying up late and having meaningful conversation with them. My cousin is someone that makes me grow just by being around her and talking to her. She is someone that will never just go through the motions in life. She has this thirst for knowing how to make life the best it can be. She thrives on growing in wisdom and being present in each moment. I just love that girl! I will never forget her tears on my wedding day (she was the flower girl). When I bent down and asked what was wrong, she said, "I just want to hold your hand." Sweetness- hu? Just like always, she wanted to soak the moment up and get all she could out of it. She is awesome!