Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Early communication creates great memories

It is said that once a child has language they can recall memories. Amberly prooved this to me time and time again but my favorite story is when she was cared for by my dear friend overnight when I went into labor with Kyle. I'd spent a couple weeks preparing Amberly for her first time being away from mommy overnight. She did really well and that is in large part to the great care she received from my friend and being able to spend time with her best friend, Téa. At times I would ask Amberly if she remembered when she spent the night at Téa's house and she would recount for me some of the things they did. She'd had a bath and slept in the downstairs room and she woke up before Téa and sat in her friend's highchair for breakfast. Some of these details I knew firsthand, some of the other details were her own recollection of the event. I was surprised at how much she could fill in the gaps being that she was only 17 months old when baby Kyle was born and she has recounted some things to me about this event as much as 2 years later! True, the event was her identifying with the birth of her baby brother and that plays a part in her ability to recall so much. However her vocabulary was enormous and primarily she signed when I did not get her verbal words. Having language very early (sign language) has given us both precious moments of lifelong memories.

Here is a little deal I posted on Craigslist today, don't miss out!

Wouldn't you LOVE it if your baby could initiate conversation with you? Of course! At just 10 months old, my babies could convey a complete message like "Mama, hear airplane outside!" and "Eat cracker". I have so many heartwarming interacive memories of signing with my children before they could speak. The signs always came in handy at the most unexpected times too, like when my son was really ill and signed NAP to me because I was busy keeping his sister entertained and forgot that a sick baby tends to need more naps, not more jostling around to settle his fussiness. You can have this experience with your baby as well. Sign4Baby has been teaching Sign, Play & Learn classes coupled with the principles of Attachment Parenting and providing great parenting tips from experience as a mother of 3, plethora of knowledge passed on by my Doula, and several semesters of psychology and child development classes. The NapTime special is this: Take advantage of a 2 for 1 special by inviting your mommy friend with her baby to join you and your baby in a Sign, Play & Learn class. Simple mention 2 for 1 in your registration and your friend can complete the enrollment sheet on the first day of class. Regualr price is $100, but you'll be able to split that with your friend and both gain tools and information hard to put a price on after you begin building your own stories of priceless communication with your little one. Register at today! This offer only good through Sept 30th Want to read more stories about babies who sign and what their parents expressed? Follow this link

Monday, September 21, 2009

Keeping my Family in San Diego

The Subject Line of the email may have caught your attention and caused you to want to know what it was about.

San Diego is the ideal place to me to raise my family. I have discovered what I love to do; helping families transform crying situations into eye opening communication.

However, I cannot sustain a business only for the sake of changing the baby-parent interaction. After two years (with a down economy) of telling my husband that I can pull off the Work At Home Mom situation, a deadline approaches our family in making some decisions.

I need to have 8 clients enroll in classes by September 30th. One of the popular locations for my classes is Java Mama and their location is shutting down while transitioning to a new spot. While I'm excited about the new place offering more and being bigger, this leaves my marketing window even smaller.

If you have been considering taking a Sign, Play & Learn class, ever wanted to know if my programs were a good fit, have an old coupon you want to redeem, this is the time to do it! There are still a lot of options on the calendar, even with the temporary delay of starting again at Java Mama.

Interested in hosting a class with your playgroup? I'd love to arrange something with you. Email me at

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Carter and his Signs

Wendy sends me the greatest messages about Carter's progress with signing and I love reading them. I hope you do too!

"Do you know the song on Pick Me Up that says 'I'm talking on the telephone to my mommy....' Well, it makes Carter cry hysterically EVERY time. I think he heard it a few times with Rob and I wasn't there, but even now it makes him cry when I am home. I went to put in a load of laundry and heard him crying...he was wandering down the hall signing mommy and pointing to the CD player. So heartbreaking! But cute! Hope you are all well!Next time we see you I have to remember to have Carter show you his sign for watermelon. He likes it so much that its turned into this wild hip swiveling, arm swinging sign. Very cute!Yay for signing!"

"Carter loves watching Hullabaloos abc song...he fingerspells (tries) for a while when its slow, then just leans forward and stares until the end when he signs 'sing with me' and then does a little happy dance! It is so funny to watch. Can't get it on video because he freezes when I bring the camera out. Oh and you should see him spell 'tofu' and ask for more 'topoo'. So cute!"

"I just wanted to tell you that Rob left for Virginia for 2 weeks and when my mom was talking about him to Carter, Carter kept signing something she didn't understand. When I got home, she told me and we asked Carter what he was signing, and he signed 'papa work'. Awesome! Also, we have now added 'green' to our signs which is nice because everything was 'blue' and 'not blue' for a really long time! I'm still shocked at his signing!We were listening to Hullabaloo and he clapped his hands, and signed SONG and SWEET for the everybody clap your hands....cause when you do it sounds so sweet part! Just wanted to brag to his awesome teacher!"

Thanks Wendy for such fun stories!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nostalgic Summer ending

Our family enjoys going to the Coronado Conerts on Sunday evenings through the whole summer. Tonight was our last one now that fall has arrived and I'll be missing the warm evening air, the dancing, the potlucks, and the kids exerting all their energy before bedtime.

Music is a beautiful way for people to connect. Babies are inherently musical which is why we play them lullabys and most of us dance with our kids. It is a perfect way to combine signing into a daily routine as well. By no means do you have to know all the signs for a song, just a couple will do, or simply sign MUSIC before turning the tunes on and moving all around.

We could all use more music in our lives. I was joking with someone yesterday that I might enjoy cleaning the house if I turned on some music. Remembering to start these new practices is the real work. Similar to starting to sign with your baby. Today, start listening to more music and sign this one great word as a way of connecting with your baby, not just in the time you spend dancing around, but in building the bridge that gaps communication.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ring? Wing? Oh.... SWING!

Just the other day Amberly showed me a picture she had drawn and described what it was. Mind you, she is not quite 4 and she can at times create a good scribble of a picture that is clear only to her. "Mom, look it's a ring" I hear her say. She gets disgruntled, "No, a wing!" I do not quite hear what she is trying to pronounce still, but kneel down so I can give her my full attention, baby in arm, "Honey, tell me again what it is." I would hate to have 3 wrong attempts because by then she gives up. Lucky for me, she knows I often ask her the question "do you have a sign for it?" and without my prompting she showed me her version of SWING and I then could make out more readily the picture she had drawn.

Many preschool children have a hard time pronouncing S's and F at the beginning of a word. This is most commonly the problem when I don't understand Amberly. Otherwise she talks very well, grammar and pronunciation, and asks questions about new words or uses of words she has never heard before. She is great at language, but still I have to slow down to better understand her when S or F is at the beginning of the word. I know that if she did not have a sign for many of these situations, her sensitivity would create more of a shell around her in regards to not being understood by her OWN MOTHER!

Remembering to blog this situation is a feat in itself. Thinking of a way the next day to help Amberly work on her "S" sound was a major accomplishment. We practiced hissing like a snake while we were drawing by ourselves and doing stickers (her favorite quiet time activity). I asked her if she could use that sound to say SUN or SLIDE. It was just a couple of attempts and she loved that I clearly heard her say these words without asking her what she said. When Dad got home from work I asked Amberly to talk to him about going to "practice" (she just started soccer this fall) and she said SOCCER clear as day!

Box of crayons..... $2
Package of Sticker sheets..... $4
Soccer ball..... $15
Look on my daughter's face when her Daddy understood her saying Soccer..... priceless!

Joann Woolley is owner and instructor of Sign4Baby in San Diego teaching parents how to communicate with their pre-verbal baby using American Sign Language. With her in depth knowledge of ASL as her first language she takes you beyond just the basics in signing, also filling your parenting tool belt with parenting tips and tricks coupled with signing as a great boundary teaching tool for toddlers. Want to know which signs most parents start with but gets them stuck in the mud? I'll send you that hundred dollar tip for FREE.