Call me crazy but I decided to complicate my attempt to expose my baby to multiple languages by adding another element: baby sign. Maybe it’s not too surprising given my level of interest in teaching Sabrina three languages.
I wanted to keep teaching her sign language as simple as possible because it seems that our lives are already a bit chaotic. I contemplated between using American Sign Language (ASL) versus Baby Sign because ASL is actually recognized as a language whereas baby sign is a modified version of ASL. My sister mentioned she had the book, Baby Sign Language: A Practical Guide to Signing with your Baby by Alison Mackonocie. Practical was exactly what I was looking for and that is how I reached a decision about my contemplation about which sign methodology to use with my bebita.
Here is how I complement the use of baby sign in our home. After photocopying the “beginning signs” pages and posting them where we would be using them around our house I also scratched the English labels and replaced it with the Spanish translation (e.g.mas/more, comer/eat, cama/bed, dormir/sleep etc etc). According to the book, the key behind baby sign language is its use in context and constant repetition (sound familiar?). We have been modeling it for our baby for about six weeks and though she has not made a clear response I have caught her glancing at the photocopies around the house whenever I use a sign.
One of the reasons I decided to share baby sign with my now 10-month-old is because I started thinking how awesome it will be when she utters words in Spanish, English, or French, but recognized that speaking in complete sentences may actually not occur for a couple of years, at least. I also observed her, at times, struggle with communicating with me. Her only major way of speaking is by crying or screaming. Essentially, I want Sabrina to be able to express to my husband and I (and others) some of her basic needs.
By taking the time and energy to show Sabrina baby sign, we are also showing her another way to express her thoughts and feelings, hence, baby love.