Sign Language - Is She Drunk on the Power? — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Sign Language - Is She Drunk on the Power?

Another question, sorry and thanks. My 14-month-old just recently starting understanding all our sign language attempts (that we've been doing since 6 months). We thought they would help her communicate with us more effectively. Now, I feel like she's just throwing them out constantly and at random to see what she gets. Her favorites are "milk" and "more" and "food." I want to respond when she does them so she knows the message has been received, but she's seriously started squeezing her little fists together to do the "milk" sign about ever 15 minutes, so I offer her the boob, she latches for 30 seconds and runs off to play. I feel like a soda fountain at a 7-11. Many times, she just asks for "more" at random times. More what?! Then she gets visibly frustrated I don't know what she wants more of. I'm starting to regret the day I decided to give her the power of communication. 

Anyone have a similar experience/advice? 

Re: Sign Language - Is She Drunk on the Power?

  • My almost 17 month old has been consistently signing since about 12 months. She is pretty good at using the signs at the appropriate times, however I have found that I need to pay closer attention at times. Her signs for "milk" and "star" are incredibly similar...so the other day we were in the living room and she kept making the signs for milk (or so I thought). It took me about10 minutes to realize that she was trying to ask to look at one of our items of home decor that has stars on it. She also signs "drink" by putting her finger in her mouth, but I'm starting to realize that she usually only uses this sign when she wants juice or water, but not for milk.

    I think I just need to be more conscious of when she's using her signs and what's going on around her at that time.
  • I am sorry you are frustrated. Having gone through this before my patience is greatly improved b/c I know it's a phase. I either do the detective work and/or do the "Happiest Toddler on the Block" and show my understanding: "you want something, and I don't know what it is, and you are upset because you want it now!". My kids are late communicators (and catch up by 3). DS is just embracing signing now at 18mo. I am enjoying it more with DS - what you are describing now amuses me b/c I know it will pass. I remember when DD was soooo impatient - she would sign and I would say "yes" and she'd have a fit b/c I was just too slow getting from the kitchen to her high chair (and she's easy going!). I thought it would last forever, but it passed. When DS is signing "more" - he responds well to "show me" if he can. If it's something he hasn't had yet I ask him to say or sign "please" (rather than "more"). I don't recall that ever worked with DD, but we can try, right? ;)

    Wishing you find a way that works for you to more-or-less happily pass through this stage with your more-or-less-normally demanding DD.

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  • Just acknowledge the sign with enthusiasm but tell her she won't get more milk or something. And now that she signs she may try making up her own, too, so look out for that. My daughter made up a sign for pacifier that took us a while to get because it's similar to food, but more exaggerated and with her mouth open.


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  • I think she's experimenting with context.  Help her figure it out by responding with all-gone or all-done or not now and redirect.  Don't think too much of it, she'll grow out of it soon enough.
    Egg Retrieval - Feb. 2013 -> OHSS.  FET#1 - June 2013(failed). FET#2 - October 2013(success!) Griffin Alistair: 6#10oz 20" long, born 6/19/14 @ 4:04am
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