Wednesday, August 20, 2014

That's Not What I Expected!

How many times have you found yourself saying "that's not what I expected" today?  What if you counted up all the times you've said that this week?  This month?  I've lost track by now!

One (unexpected...haha) lesson I've learned as a parent is that expectations are often fruitless.  Trying to figure out when my baby will sleep, what he'd like to eat for dinner, or guessing which book he'll pick for bed-time reading is almost always.....WRONG.  Sure, he may have slept, eaten, and read the same thing at the same time all week.  Today, though, is different!

Even with slightly older children, things often end up different than what we anticipate.  In my house this week, we got the chance to see a local high school marching band's preview show.  My 3 year old loves marching bands, and was super excited for this trip.  My 18 month old doesn't remember the marching bands we saw last fall, but we catch him jiving to any bit of music he hears.  I expected they'd be dancing and excited throughout the show.  Instead.....

No one screamed and tried to get away.  In fact, they were both glued to the musicians and silently engrossed in the show.  But neither boy even cracked a smile.  Not at all what I expected!

The same can be true when you are a Signing Smart family.  Based on Dr. Lindert and Dr. Anthony's research, we have some idea about when babies and toddlers might start signing back. We have some idea as to when subsequent signs might show up, too. So often, though, our calculations are off.  

Occasionally, babies sign back much earlier than we expect.  That's always exciting! When this happens, it's easy to second guess what we're seeing, though.  It's a very natural reaction to say to ourselves "it's much to early, that can't be a real sign."  (It can be, and it probably is!)

Other times, it takes longer than predicted for our little ones to reach that first sign milestone.  It can be frustrating when this happens.  There are lots of factors that can affect when we see that first sign. (Developmental readiness, motivation to communicate, other impending milestones, consistency, etc.) Regardless of all the good reasons that can affect timing, when we're excitedly anticipating that milestone and it doesn't happen as timely as we'd like, it's still a disappointment.  

Expectations are an important and necessary part of daily life.  I certainly don't suggest walking though life completely unaware of what might be around the next corner.  However, I do recommend you temper your outlooks with a grain of salt.  It's important to know what to be on the lookout for, but I hope you can learn from my experiences - don't put too much weight on your expectations.  Just when you think you know what's going to happen - it won't!  Perhaps that's part of the fun of life with small kids...they always keep you on your toes!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Detective Eyes #6a

Did you check out Miss C. and her signs?

Were you able to recognize these signs coming from those tiny hands:



If you got them right, great job! If not, take a moment to go back and check out the pictures again.  Now that you know what to look for, do you see these signs? 

Recognizing approximations for signs, especially out of context, takes lots of practice.  Keep working at it and you'll be a pro in no time!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Detective Eyes #6

Can you recognize the signs Miss C. is using at 20 months old?
Miss C. what's your favorite animal at the zoo?

Who do you see?

Miss C.  do you want more dinner?

Check here to see if you were right!

Thank you to this adorable signer's family for sharing these photos!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Preview at Baby Sweet Pea's Boutique

Yesterday I had the chance to meet an awesome bunch of mamas and their kiddos.  We gathered for a preview of the Signing Smart Beginner Play Class at an adorable cloth diapering and natural parenting store called Baby Sweet Pea's Boutique.  (Thank you, Morgan, for welcoming us into you store when you're not typically open!)

During our semi-structured play time, we sang "3 Little Monkeys," played with bubbles, learned some new signs and talked about what Signing Smart is all about.  The group of kids from infant to "big kid" all seem to have fun playing with a variety of LIGHT and MUSIC toys among other playthings.  I saw more than one new sign come from those tiny hands, and lots of young eyes taking in all the new experiences.

We were a large group in a small space, so our play and chatting got a little noisy.  In the thick of the hubbub, though, I saw lots of important things happening beyond language learning.  I saw mamas making connections.  I saw little ones playing together.  I heard some laughter, and most importantly, I saw parents of infants and toddlers coming together to support each other - in learning language, in diapering, in using carriers, and so much more.  In a society where I often see moms criticizing and tearing each other down, it was magnificent and refreshing to see just the opposite.

In fact, so much good was happening, I didn't even think to stop for a minute to take some pictures. Instead, I'll include some pictures of past fun with MONKEY and MUSIC.

Are you in Northeast Ohio and want to attend a Signing Smart preview or class of your own?  Like my Facebook page or check out my website to stay up to date with all the latest offerings.  Or, contact me about scheduling one!

What song or activity would you be most excited to see at a Signing Smart Preview class?