Mixed signals

We’ve heard from many parents that babies can sign before they can talk, and that the ability to do this alleviates much of their frustration, since they’re able to communicate what they want. We’re not the most ambitious parents in the world, so we decided to start with just one sign, the sign for “more”. Give him a bite of food, say “do you want MORE?” while making the sign, then give him another bite of food, saying “here’s MORE.”

A few days ago, he began clearly and deliberately making the sign. WOO! Except… he clearly and deliberately makes the sign when he doesn’t want anymore. To him, it’s become the sign for “I’m done now. Please stop.” D’oh! I wasn’t sure this was true at first, but I’ve seen him do it when he’s finished with his nighttime feeding and wants to be put into bed, and when I’m greasing him up with Cetaphil. (Sorry kid, you don’t get to decide when you’re done with that.)

My only guess is that we often forget to teach the sign until partway into the meal, so maybe he learned to associate it with feeling full? I really have no idea.

So now I’m flummoxed. Do I try to correct his understanding and teach him some other sign for “I’m done”, like maybe the sign for “stop”? Or do we go with the new Bizarro Dante language and try to teach him some other sign for “more”, or forget about teaching “more” altogether? Maybe the philosophy should be, “You automatically get more until you make the sign for ‘stop’. Which is, uh, actually the sign for ‘more’.” Sigh.

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3 thoughts on “Mixed signals

  1. I’d introduce the sign for stop, and see if you can get him to replace that for more. At Dante’s age, he should be able to switch understanding after a little bit.

    Otherwise, hey, go with the flow.

  2. Please

    Trevor and Libby have introduced only one sign too–the sign for “please.” So Violet is constantly being asked “Do you want this?” and then she has learned to say please, but her version of this sign (made by basically rubbing a sort of circle around your heart area)–amounts to basically what looks like her wiping gunk off her hand on her shirt. This is not a reponse to your needs. Only a story!

    Aunt Jenny

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