When it comes to teaching a baby ASL (American Sign Language), I always think the better way to do it is to follow the advice, "Less is more." In other words, don't push up. Don't be on their case about learning the sign for something. Go easy with it.
That is the approach I took with Jennifer. And that probably explains why it took her a while to learn even basic signs (let alone come up with her own home signs, which she doesn't even use anymore now that her hands are more nimble). Her dad was not involved in trying to teach her any signs.
However, he has made it a point to be involved in teaching Jesse signs. We have been working with him in teaching him signs here and there, like "mother," "father," "all done" and "sleep." He pretty much picks up on the audible cues instead of the physical ones. If I sign "sleep," for example, he does not get that. But if I say "Baby want to go sleepy?" he will run for the bedroom. (Sometimes, I can't tell if he is tired enough for a nap or just to sleep, so if I say that and he runs to the bedroom, that's a big clue he's tired!)
Today, my husband was on a mission to teach Jesse how to sign "more." It was during lunchtime and he kept holding our son's sippy cup and signing "more?" to him. He kept doing this for some time and I started to wonder if he was overdoing it. If it was just taking too long and Jesse didn't understand him.
But, eventually, he did sign "more." Yay!
Here is "more" in ASL:
(You might have to click on "M" then "More")
At first, he would not sign it if he knew he was being watched. But, eventually, he got around to signing it on his own. (Well, I'm not surprised; his father was holding his sippy cup hostage!) Then, when his dad was walking away with the empty sippy cup, he looked up at him and signed "more" to indicate he wanted more milk. I was so happy about that.
Later, at dinnertime, Jennifer decided to become The Pickiest Eater in the World and count off how she didn't like the cheese in her manicotti, she didn't like her breadsticks and she didn't like her spinach.
I said, "PLEASE try to eat your spinach. Don't you want to grow up to be big and strong like Popeye?"
She gave me a VERY serious look and said, "That cartoon is not real."
Oh, no! Now I can't use Popeye as an example of why you should eat your spinach anymore! I debated going on about how it was all symbolic, about how the immediate strength Popeye got from his spinach only represented how spinach will help you to "be strong" in some other way, but I knew all that would be lost on her.
Well, at least she ate her salad. She kept going on about how she LOVES salad. (Heh, that's my California girl!)
But Jesse had a problem with dinner, too. In fact, a BIG problem. He ended up throwing almost all of it on the floor. (He did eat some of the bread.) When he was finished, I looked down at the mess and sighed, "Oh, Son."
He innocently beamed at everybody and signed "more."
I laughed and said, "I think it's the wrong time to ask for more!"
And speaking of babies who sign, I found this really cute video. SOOOO CUTE!!!!