I need to meet a deaf friend. Seriously. You know why? Because I am KICKING ASS at American Sign Language!
Remember when I bought those flash cards a few months back, and tried to teach Baby Boy some signs? They totally didn’t work (damn impulse buy), but I was still in love with the idea. Babies signing! Adorbs! And handy!
Just over a month ago, I spotted a group on Facebook that offered baby-parent sign language classes in our area, and signed up immediately.
(BTW, it’s called Sophia’s Hands, if you live in Nova Scotia … or don’t mind flying here for sign languages classes. The instructor, Kelley Banfield, is super-sweet and SUCH a good teacher.)
We did three weeks of classes (twice a week for an hour each), and LOVED it. I don’t know who loved it more, me or Baby Boy.
Probably me, as I was actually listening to the teacher and learning the signs. Baby Boy preferred to run around the room like mad, open other peoples’ diaper bags, take our their wallets, drop the teacher’s cell phone through a railing.*
During each class, we learned new signs and sang songs that incorporated the signs.
We learned I learned a surprising amount of signs in just three weeks. I hoarded each new sign greedily, because as Little Sis reminds me, I “don’t do anything just halfway.” I practiced them daily. I memorized the songs. I mastered the alphabet so I could finger-spell anything I couldn’t sign.
We also bought the first DVD in the Baby Signing Time series, and Baby Boy LOVES it. It’s full of cute babies doing the signs, and lots of singing. I love it, too, luckily, because we watch it almost daily.
But … my kid still can’t/won’t really sign.
He is a stubborn boy. An “independent young cuss,” as I sometimes call him (yeah, another Laura Ingalls Wilder reference). He absolutely loves when I sign, or when I sign the songs and sign along, but he doesn’t sign back. AT ALL, except for one.
His only sign? “All done.” He does it when he’s in his high chair and doesn’t want to eat anymore. Good sign, yeah, but … ONE?!?!?!?!?!?!
And so I continue to learn new signs, practice them, and sing all of the songs (“Put your fingertips together for more, more, MORE!”), and hope that Baby Boy starts picking up some more signs. We’ll be taking classes again when they start up in the fall, and I’ve got to stay on top of my signing game!
In the meantime, I really need a hearing-impaired friend.
Someone who GETS ME!
*The teacher’s phone was a fossil, and she totally handed it to him to play with. Still, I don’t think she expected him to drop it down a flight of stairs. Embarrasment city, population = me.
Update! Saw deaf people signing in Walmart yesterday. Did not approach them, as I realized I have no “conversational” sign skills — just single words (mostly foods) — and I would have sounded like a caveman.