Sunday, July 7, 2013

Signs: Here, There, and Everywhere!



Do you remember how, once you were expecting a baby, you began to see pregnant women everywhere? Or, having finally decided to buy a particular car, you started to notice how many like it were already on the road? Where did they all come from? The answer, of course, lies in the heightened awareness that your own situation creates. It’s as though you have special radar unconsciously scanning the environment for the things that are momentarily of special importance to you.

The same thing happens to your baby when she learns a new sign or new word. With a new label at her command, she suddenly sees examples everywhere—even in places that you don’t expect. For example, for 14-monthy-old Eli, the “apple” sign made even a trip to the grocery store a special adventure, what with apples, labels on apple pies and apple juice and even pictures of apples on greeting cards. His mother, like many of us, nad never realized how pervasive apples were in the environment until Eli set about to find them all.

In a similar way, 15-month-old Trina had a love affair with her “bird” sign. Everyone expects to find birds out the window or at the park—but at church? Sure enough, embedded in the stained-glass windows over the altar were not one but two ornamental doves, peace symbols to the congregation but just plain birds to Trina. At least using signs was a quiet way to talk about them!

Like these parents, you’ll find yourself amazed at how vigilant your baby can be. She may be only a baby, but lots of mental activity is happening for her behind the scenes. And each time your baby tells you about something with a sign, she is providing you with a glimpse into all that activity, enabling you to respond appropriately and enthusiastically.

Happy Signing (and don’t forget to visit us on Facebook)!

Linda

Linda Acredolo, PhD.
Co-Founder, the Baby Signs® Program
and
Professor Emeritus, UC Davis
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