Sunday, July 25, 2010

Transition Time

It seems that in our house time is marked by one transitions soon followed by another. Owen is approaching the 18 month mark and I'm beginning to feel the impact of night time nursing. Perfect timing that I came across an old post that I actually believe never made it to the blog but I'm too tired to go search the archives! Maybe I saved it on the computer to later work on as an article idea... who knows... but the timing is perfect, a good reminder that I need to use signs to help me through this transition.

The time has come that Kyle, at 18 months will be weaned from his pleasant co-sleeping with mom and dad. It is a sensitive transition. Having attempted a couple of times to place him back in the crib after nursing in the middle of the night, he'd wake up, point towards the door and sign "night-night", which I took to his not being ready for the separation and took straight to bed for restful slumber. Now after midnight nursing he is at times left unsatisfied and asks for water. I recall that being a factor that helped me night wean Amberly from the breast. It seems that for both my kids the sippy cup has taken on the role of a lovey item, some have a bear, some have a special blanket, my kids choose sippy cups... go figure. With the communication that can take place between us I can at least feel comfortable in knowing I'm meeting the needs of my children while making changes to their sleeping circumstances. Detecting the right time to make these transitions is not easy, especially when your beliefs are that these practices help build the bond between parent and child. I found it critical to our timing that each child be able to comprehend the change that was taking place and how else could I know if they didn't have such great communication skills? It wasn't even a thought out plan, "let's teach our kids to sign so that when we're attempting to shift from breast milk to cow's milk and our bed to separate bed it will be easier on everyone." If only we were so brilliant as parents, Cory and I! Rather it is the observation of trial and error and knowing what worked for us that I am imparting to you. Children need a very tangible way to understand change, and verbal words do not always give a child the complete picture, however signing bridges the gap. Take this analogy if you will... babies' first books are picture books that give them a sense of what the story in words is portraying, we would never expect a very young child to be given a book with no pictures and have the slightest understanding of it. Signing is an image for a child that helps families evaluate changes that can otherwise prove to be more challenging.

Has signing with your baby proved to be useful for you in the least expected situation? I'd love to hear from you , and other parents learn from those who have walked before them, so send an email to .

By the way, I'm a big advocate of Dr. Sears and have been on a mission to have them update their list of 7 Baby B's of Attachment Parenting to include "baby sign language". Send an email to the Sears family of pediatricians in support of this notion if you agree. Be sure to cc me in the email!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Somebody asked me, What's your Pet Peeve?

As babies become toddlers they know more of what they want and their stretch for independence is exerted. Often this time is trying on both the parent and the child.

A really big pet peeve of mine is when I hear a mom reply to her frustrated 1 year old in angst, "What is it, what do you want!?" Now, I've been guilty of doing the same thing when my toddler grabs at my leg and I'm doing the dishes and really just want to finish up those last 3 items so the kitchen looks semi clean for once. But, when I'm sitting enjoying play time with the kids, I've not had to feel this angst in trying to figure out what toy or object my baby is after or needs help with because I know more often than not they will be able to tell me, by using the sign for the item. And sometimes it turns out to be the darnedest thing, like a shoe that made its way into the playroom and is stuck behind the toy box.

When we have encountered these moments, far and few between, of not understanding our 1 year old's attempt at communicating, we've been able to use it as a teaching moment, demonstrating the sign so next time my dear daughter wanted the spinning top out of the drawer I wouldn't be at a loss. And more often than not, my 1 year old has been able to find a way to work their way through telling me what they want even without the actual sign because of their foundation in sign language.

I guess why it is a pet peeve of mine to hear the angst from a mom in this situation is that I have the tools to help them and they just haven't utilized my resources.