Friday, August 10, 2012

Talk It Up

A few months back, Bobble had a well-baby check-up. They asked all the normal questions like “does he repeat sounds?”, “does he follow simple instructions?”, and “how many words does he say?”. The last question is the one that got on my nerves. I mentioned that he said dadadadadadadaaaaaa and a couple other simple sounds like that, but mostly he signed what he wanted. I told them a couple of the signs that he knew, and they seemed disinterested in hearing all of them, so I didn’t drag on. I assumed they were content to know that he still communicated. It’s not like he isn’t vocal, they just aren’t formed words yet! The nurse left after finishing her notes, and then the doctor came in a bit later.

Our doctor is awesome. I would like to state that from the beginning. I love him to pieces. He had no idea what Baby-led weaning was, but was okay with us going that route and even bringing him some information on what it was to read. He understands that we want to raise our baby our way, and he respects that. From some of the stories I’ve heard from other mothers, this isn’t always the case. I’m thankful that, for us, it is. 

Anywho, he logged in to the computer and quickly glanced over the nurse’s notes. It was then that I got upset. I noticed she wrote that he ‘gestures’ for things. No. That is not what I said! I told him that he does not gesture, he actually uses American Sign Language (ASL). I expressed how it is upsetting that the nurse completely disregarded his form of communication like that, down playing it to seem like my son wasn’t developing in the language department. 

‘Gestures’ would seem, to me, like he would reach for something he wants and grunts. That is much different from him looking sad, signing ‘please’, signing ‘book’, and then going and bringing me a book. The doctor said he would take care of that next appointment. The next appointment he spoke of was this past Friday. I waited for the nurse to ask her questions. They started with the normal questions, and skipped that one. Completely skipped it. How frustrating! I had actually sat down and written down every single sign he knew. It took some time and some thought, and I bet I missed a couple. Heck, he’s learned a couple signs since then, too. I was at 81 signs come his 18 month well-baby visit. (I don’t count a sign as Bobble knowing it unless he uses it…. There are many he understands but hasn’t used himself. Those I don’t count.)

When the doctor came in, I told him I was surprised they didn’t ask us that question. He chuckled and asked me “So, how many words does Bobble know?”. I happily answered that he knows 81 signs, and explained how he says “booh” (book without the k sound) while he signs book, “buh” while signing bubble, “baa” while signing bath, “gooh” while signing cookie, and then the whole daaaa thing. I also said he understands us really well, so if I ask him to go find his shoes, he does. If I ask him to pick up his blocks, he does. If I ask him to go get me his (stuffed) frog, he does. Our doctor was really pleased. He said it sounds like he has a great understanding of the language, and that his development is great. He’s not concerned with the lack of verbal communication if he is communicating this well. Truth be told, ASL words ARE STILL WORDS. So he knew at least 81 words by that point.

He’s learning more and more each day. It’s amazing. He learned shower in one minute. He always signed “bath” for showering as well as bathing, so I finally said “a bath is when we sit in the water” and signed bath, pointing at the bottom of the tub, too. Then I said “Look at mommy, Bobble.” I signed shower, and then said “a shower is when the water falls on us while we stand in the bath tub!” and turned the shower on. “That is a shower!” and I signed shower. Bobble got all excited (he LOVES bath time!) and pointed. I asked him if he wanted a shower, and he signed shower. It was that fast.

Now I’m not much of a television fan, and by that I mean we have no television service. We have NetFlix for the occasional entertainment, and we have movies of our own, but nothing that is really “watched” frequently.  Here’s a great example for you: most recently I watched A Knight’s Tale with my husband. It was over the course of 5 days and in 3 different viewings. We just don’t watch much television. I know that’s not a bad thing, but I’m just trying to give you some background here.

Bobble watches his own videos, and I’d say he watches these videos more than my husband and I watch anything together. Before you get all preachy about television and my little one, please know that I do not use this as a babysitter, and I frequently am watching the videos with Bobble.  Besides, how am I going to know what he’s signing if I don’t learn them too?

We started out with Baby Signing Time, and now we own the entire series. Bobble has only seen volume 1, the Baby Signing Time set, and Potty Time. I split up volume 2 to be partially his holiday present this winter, and the other half to be his birthday (January).  I was going to originally just purchase Potty Time (in addition to my already owned Baby Signing Time videos) as a way to help introduce using the potty. I figured that, since he loved Baby Signing Time so much, he would love Potty Time and so he would be introduced to the concepts via the video before we started with him. I thought that would help him understand a bit more when we start with potty learning. Luckily for me, the ENTIRE SERIES was on sale when I looked to purchase.... and they were all half off. I was planning on purchasing the whole series eventually, but likely as individual DVDs since they were more costly. The sale gave me all the DVDs though (including the baby signing time DVDs again), so I ended up with a bit over 40 DVDs averaging a bit over $8 per DVD. I couldn't turn that one down!

I absolutely love these videos and am so thrilled to have found them. Sure, I've seen them a million times (well, some of them!), but the songs are very well done and I never get sick of them. That's good, because Bobble ADORES these videos! Sometimes he will wake up and sign "signing" first thing in the morning. Today he woke up very upset from his nap. The only thing that would make him feel better? Watching some Signing Time while nursing in mommy's arms. So not only are we able to communicate with our little Bobble before he started speaking, but he has the skills to communicate with other people that know ASL. How great would it be to be at a park and see a little one playing all alone and your child walk up and play with them? Of course it would be great. Now imagine that child playing all alone was deaf, and nobody else was playing with them because they could not communicate…. but your child can. It may not be much, but it would mean the world to that other child. It would mean a lot to that child’s parents. It will also mean a lot to your child.

I can’t guarantee that Bobble will ever be “fluent” in ASL, or that he’ll even remember half of it when he’s a teenager. I can guarantee that it’s helped us thus far, it will help us in the future, and it is helping Bobble now. To that nurse that wrote ‘gestures’, I have a gesture for you… but it’s not polite and I don’t want my son learning it. Instead, I’ll just take comfort in knowing that my son can communicate just fine, and even excels at it. It will never get old looking over and seeing Bobble run up to me with his blanket and signing “sleep”. Verbal communication isn’t everything. Bobble understands words. He understands what they sound like. He understands what they mean. He understands more than just words, he understands language.

This post wasn't intended to be a review, nor do I consider it a review. I didn't really get into any of the content of the videos or how they go about teaching anything. If anyone is interested in an actual review of the videos, let me know. 


  1. Signing helped us through a really rough phase where my son would get angry because he wasn't able to communicate anything to us. The verbal is coming slowly for us, but it really was a life saver.

    Following you back from
    Thank you for the add <3

  2. What a great and encouraging thing to read as a new mom. . I'm saving this to come back to. :) Visiting from Mommy Brain Mixer. :)

  3. I can't wait until my little one starts talking! It will be a little while (she was just born on Aug 7), but it will be so amazing!

  4. thanks for coming by to visit me last week. what a great post - we had great luck signing with our 1st, but not as much with the second (i think its a time thing - as in, lack thereof!) you're lucky to have a wonderfully supportive pedi! happy monday!

  5. Signing is great for little ones who are not speaking very well yet. I signed with my children from birth and my oldest (almost 6) still signs to me.