Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Baby Signs

For those of you who've adopted before, or even those of you who've traveled to a foreign country (and you didn't speak the language) know that lost, confused, frustrated feeling of not being able to understand what the ach ee double hockey stick anyone is saying. I think this is how our newly adopted children must feel. And what do we usually resort to in these incommunicado situations? Charades! Aka sign language. It's a universal form of communicating.
Our new little ones have only heard Russian. The rolls of the tongue and cadence and pace are all different. We are already pulling them away from everything they've ever known, and then we are speaking a crazy sounding new language to them! Granted, they are very resilient intelligent little things and seem to take to new language incredibly well...but for us it was helpful for us to bridge and ease this transition with sign language. Bek at 11 months old, babbled a bit and copied a few small words. He seemed to understand what we were saying, although I know that's not really possible. I started sign language with him almost immediately when we got home, and the results were amazing! He took to it right away, and seemed happy & relieved to be able to convey some things to me. I could see his little baby brain working; "ok, those gibberish things you're saying to me, i gotta tell you they don't really make sense, and it sure as shashlyk doesn't sound like what they were saying to me back in Uralsk. but these things you are doing with your hands? that makes sense! i can do that! I'm hungry! see? i'm putting my hand up and down on my belly. and you bring me food...i love it!"
So..we will definitely be doing sign language again with this one. For anyone who hasn't done it and wants to try, it's easy. When you talk to your baby, make the sign along with the word. Repeat the word with the sign. "do you want something to eat?" (put your hands to your mouth as you say it). Bring the food and say "ok, here's something to eat", and put your hands to your mouth again. They get it really quickly and will even start making up their own.
Baby Signs is a great book but you only need a dozen or so of the signs and there are some free charts online like this one:

Give it a whirl, it's fun!


Amy and Corey said...

Wow, that's really interesting. I'm going to do that! Corey has the Rosetta stone learning Russian program, and he works on it almost every evening. And he's so good with languages that I know Corey and mini-Corey will communicate well in Russian and English. But me....not so much. I'm going to sign.

Kim said...

Hi - I just found your blog! We have adopted our middle son Josh from Kaz in 2007 and his younger sister from Russia this past August. Where are you in the process?