Sunday, September 1, 2013
This Little Piggy Went to Market
I recently posted in this blog a description of an experimental study I did at UC Davis to see if toddlers would use a sign to indicate that they remembered something that had happened 2 months earlier. (They did.) I certainly wasn’t surprised by our findings because I had long been hearing stories from parents indicating real life examples of babies using signs to indicate memories. Here’s one of my favorites:
A roly-poly potbellied pig was 15-month-old Brandon’s favorite exhibition at a street fair in a neighboring town he had never visited before. In fact, Brandon was so enchanted with the pig that he sued his sign for PIG (fingertip to nose) countless times during the day to let his parents know he wanted to see it again…and again…and again. His parents happily obliged, enjoying the fact that he could actually tell them what he wanted. But something even more amazing happened six weeks later. Brandon and his parents visited the town for a second time, and even though there as no street fair and not pig, Brandon suddenly began to sign PG with great glee. At first his parents were confused, but then they realized they were standing in the exact spot where the pig had been six weeks earlier! The fair may have been a distant memory to his parents, but it was clearly still vivid to him. Wow! Where his parents impressed! Not only had he remembered a pig seen long ago, but he had also remembered the exact greasy spot by the sidewalk where it had been, showing his parents just how smart their baby was!
Brandon’s is only one of many stories showing signs being used to talk about memories. Do you have examples of your own? I’d love to hear them! Send them along to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (putting Baby Signs in the subject line to make sure I get it.) and maybe they’ll make it into a future posting right here!
Happy Signing! (and don’t forget to look for us on Facebook)
Linda Acredolo, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, the Baby Signs® Program
Professor Emeritus, UC Davis