Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: Water

Blueberry is a big fan of water. She also likes to drink from a regular cup. She is starting to get the hang of a sippy cup. I'm thrilled that she likes water. We decided not to give her juice. There is too much sugar. On occasion I will give her diluted juice, but never sugar-water drinks if I can help it. While I was growing up we had diluted juice on occasion and soda was only available at birthday parties. I still don't like very sweet drinks and I'm glad.

The sign for water is performed by making a "W" with your three middle fingers and tapping your hand on the side of your mouth. This is a more advanced sign and Blueberry might not get it at first, but we also use the sign for "drink", which is easier. Now we know "drink", "milk" and "water".

Yesterday Blueberry signed "bye-bye" to Daddy when he left for work. She later signed "hello" (same as goodbye, you know, the wave of the hand) to herself in the mirror. She seemed so proud of herself. Today she signed "bye-bye" to Nonna when she went to work and said "ba-ba" with the intonation of when we say "bye-bye".

The other day when she went with Nonna to the garden to pick vegetables, Nonna let her have a lemon cucumber to hold. She looked at Nonna and said "pappa?" and Nonna told her "yes it is" and Blueberry started munching on it. She got mad when I took it from her to peel it (while explaining to her what I was doing, of course) and she was all better when I gave it back. She scraped off little pieces of it with her two bottom teeth. We watched her carefully as she enjoyed it for a good 10 minutes. She does not cease to amaze me. I'm sure all children are brilliant if given the chance. I'm so proud of her.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: Walk

We will learn the ASL sign for walk. To make this sign, you walk your two fingers across in front of you.

Here is a link to a video demonstrating "walk".

We took Blueberry out for a walk today. She goes out with Nonna every morning in the garden, but today we also went around the neighborhood and took her in the stroller. She fell asleep halfway through, but I'm sure she enjoyed the fresh air. It is a great temperature to be walking outside these days. Fall is a great time of year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: Bath

The sign begins with both hands in a fist (ASL for the letter "B") in front of you. You then move them up and down in front of you like you were washing yourself in the bath.

Baby Signs, Recap

We have learned these signs so far: (look for previous posts for how to make these signs)

All Done
Change (diaper)

Blueberry knows "up" and "milk". She also started saying "pappa" which is the Italian word used with children for "food". It is easy to say and she says it only when we are feeding her. She also said it with a questioning intonation when I gave her Cheerios. What happened was I handed her one and she was just looking at it. I then put a piece of one in her mouth. She then looked at me and said "pappa?" and I said "yes, sweetie, it is pappa" and she got excited and smiled and then started munching on the one in her hand. I didn't know it was possible at 7.5 months, but it is an easy word to say and in the signing books they say babies tend to learn signs for food as early as 6 months, so why not an easy word at 7.5 months?

We are trying to use the above signs consistently with her. Because we are learning a new language we have to be patient with ourselves too. It has been difficult to prioritize which signs we want to learn next because I don't know what words will interest her the most yet. I am trying to find words that we use a lot with her.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: Play

The baby in this video does a sign approximation and then the lady reinforces the sign by repeating it back to her.

This is a sign that may come in handy later. Also we will need to learn the names of toys. There is so much to learn.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: Diaper

To make the sign for diaper you pinch the fingertips of your first three fingers down by your hips. This would be to symbolize the diaper pins, however when teaching babies to sign we need to keep the signs up by our face because that is where their attention should be when you are teaching them signs.

Another way to sign for diaper is to tap your hip with one hand. This is like a shorthand version for people interested in a simpler sign that may be easier for their baby to learn. Unless you plan on teaching your baby ASL you don't have to sign any particular sign. You can make up your own household vocabulary. It is also possible to teach alternate signs later when your child has more dexterity.

With Blueberry we will be using the first sign, the one demonstrated in the video above.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: Eat

We will be using the sign for eat to mean "I want to eat" or "I'm hungry". To perform the sign for "eat" you bring your fingertips of one hand to your mouth.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: Please and Thank You

These are the signs for the weekend (one for Saturday and one for Sunday). It is never too early to teach a child manners. Of course children mimic what they see so we can say please and thank you to each other and they will learn from our example. Use the sign with the word so that you get used to it and it might make you more aware of manners too.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Waiting for "Superman" Trailer

It is such a shame that is has come to this.

Baby Sign of the Day: Gentle

We have been teaching Blueberry the word "gentle" and she has learned not to pull on hair and glasses. We use the word as a reminder and now we can start using the sign as well. To perform the sign you touch your fingertips to your wrist and move them up your forearm to your elbow.

Here is a video demonstration for "gentle".

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: Book

It is never too early to start reading to your baby. We already read to Blueberry and she has learned not to tear the pages. Today's sing is Book. To perform it you hold your hands together and open them like a book. We intend to use this sign when saying the phrase "do you want to read a book?"

When babies are learning signs you have to watch out for "sign approximations", and reinforce their attempt at a sign by repeating the sign and the word back to them. It is a simple game of positive reinforcement. If they get what they want when they sign, it will reinforce the sign.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blueberry Learned Another Sign!

This afternoon she deliberately signed "milk". I almost missed it. She did it over and over again and looked at me. Then it clicked and I asked her "do you want milk?" and she made her "yes" noise and opened her mouth. I couldn't believe it because she learned "up" just intuitively, but this is the first sign she has learned from our prompts and I only started using it a few days ago.

Repetition is the key. I used it at least three times every time she nursed. I'm so happy I could cry! She is an amazing little girl! I just know once she starts to get that she can tell us things with signs she will be wanting to learn more and more.

Edit: So David came home and also saw her sign "milk". He actually caught her doing it before I did, he pointed and he exclaimed "she wants milk!" He was amazed at how easy it was to interpret.

Baby Sign of the Day: Sleep

We will be using the sign for "sleep" for "time to go to sleep" and "sleepy". To perform this sign, you put your palms together with hands flat, then put them on the side of your face like putting your head on a pillow.

When teaching baby to sign, it is important to say the word while doing the sign. Make sure the baby is looking at you and paying attention. This helps baby to build language skills. Here is a video demonstration for "sleep".

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: Diaper Change

Some people do the sign for "diaper" but we decided to use the one for "change". Some baby signs are based on ASL (American Sign Language) but some are too complicated for babies to do, so some are modified and some are just replaced by simpler signs. It is not a problem later on to switch a sign if you eventually want to teach them standard ASL.

Here is a funny video of the sign for "change".

Monday, September 6, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: Milk

To perform the sign for milk, you hold your hand up and open and close it like you were milking a cow.

This is a cute video of a baby signing for milk. Once a baby figures out that he can get what he wants by signing he will pick up signs a lot faster.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: Drink or Thirsty

The following is the sign for "drink" but we have been using it for "thirsty". I don't know that it really matters. Any thoughts on that? Some signs have more than one meaning, such as the sign for "all done" being synonymous with "all gone". To babies it means the same thing.

In any case, I think it gets the point across. I'm happy that Blueberry loves water. She doesn't drink a lot of it but she likes to drink from a cup, especially Mommy's cup. She makes it clear when she wants a drink, but helping her learn a sign can help others besides her intuitive Mommy understand what she wants.

To sign "drink"/"thirsty" you form a "C" with your hand and point your thumb towards your mouth like the spout of a sippy cup or a straw. I have also seen it performed as just a "C" brought towards your mouth like you are bringing a cup to your mouth.

Babies aren't always precise with their signs so while they are younger you have to watch closely for them while they are still learning. As they get older they become more dextrous and are able to perfect their sign, just as when they start to speak they get better at enunciating as they get older.

Happy Sunday

‎"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and temporary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

My friend posted this as her status on Facebook today and I needed to hear it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: More

To sign "more" you bring your fingertips together in front of you.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baby Sign of the Day: All Done

We are teaching Blueberry sign language through the Baby Signs program. In order to do this we have to learn the signs too. We are trying to learn one a day to get our vocabulary up. Today's sign is All Done. You bring your hands together with palms down and brush them away from each other like you are clearing off the table. Click the link to see a video of this sign.

When you speak to a baby in sign language you also say the word. Signing helps language development and reduces frustration in babies because they are able to express their needs. Please join us in the Baby Sign of the Day.

Four Wonderful Years

Life rarely plays out the way you planned it, but we really couldn't be happier. In the last year David graduated with his Bachelor's degree and we had our first baby. The degree hasn't produced an awesome new job yet, but I have faith that the Lord is preparing one for David. As for our little Blueberry, she has changed our lives in more ways than we could count, and we wouldn't have it any other way. She blesses us every day without even trying.

We are in a holding pattern right now, waiting for David to find a new job. We feel blessed that he has a job, but he is not using his degree yet. We are in a position to be fairly flexible when he does find one. Hopefully the economy will improve soon. Still, life does not stop and we take one day at a time, making the most of it and cherishing every minute we have together.

It is a time in our lives that we have realized that what matters most is being together and that home is where family is. We can make a home anywhere as long as we are together. Who knows where the next year will take us. It will be exciting to find out.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


No, we did not name our daughter "Blueberry". Auntie Tiff nicknamed her "Blueberry Muffin" because of her big blue eyes and we decided we liked it. I'm not a big fan of nicknames, but I do call my husband "honey" and my daughter by many affectionate names, so for the purpose of privacy, she will be hereafter called Blueberry in this blog.

She is nearly seven months old now and she is such a joy in our lives. She greets us every morning with a big smile. Our lives are pretty routine so she knows what to expect throughout the day. She likes standing supported on our laps and being carried around as we do different things around the house. She likes to play with the water from the sprayer when I water the garden and ringing the bell on the front porch. She doesn't care for being on her belly, but will tolerate it when we distract her with a toy.

Blueberry is very good at holding things and will pass toys between her hands and turn them around to look at all sides. She can feed herself teething crackers and likes the munchkin feeders, which we can stuff with all kinds of things. She is eating 3 meals a day of "solids". She is a big fan of peas, yogurt, pears, apples, bananas and prunes. I think she is starting to understand that these things fill her tummy and doesn't fuss to be nursed if we are feeding her solids when she is hungry. She is a light sleeper during the day, but she sleeps 6-8 consecutive hours at night, wakes up to nurse and then returns to sleep for a total of about 10 hours.

She is very attached to Mommy these days. She doesn't like to be away from me. She doesn't like to be held by anyone who is not in her daily life, but I am sure that will change soon, as she becomes more independent. We have a pretty quiet home life, so big family gatherings with lots of loud people make her more clingy, but she is fine as long as I am holding her.

We are starting to teach her Baby Signs and she understands many spoken words. Our pediatrician's nurse commented that she could tell we spoke to her a lot, and we have, since she was born. She babbles in a rhythmic cadence very similar to our speech. She says "Da", "Ga", "Ba", "Wa", "Ma" and will often repeat the same sound several times. She understands "I'm going to change your diaper" and "are you hungry", among other things. She also is starting to sign for "up" when she wants to be picked up.

Right now we are trying to teach her "more", "all done" and "hungry".