Looking for a Sign

Sign language was just gaining popularity with babies with Doodicus was born. Well, maybe it was terribly popular then but since I was getting all my parenting advice from magazines and family and not the internet, I could be, and most probably am, wrong.

I’m not sure why it never occurred to me to teach Aitch any sign language. Lazy, perchance? Before her first birthday, it looked like she was signing, but I couldn’t be sure since I didn’t KNOW any signs. Then she started saying “more” (which comes out like, “MOO-oooooore”) and signing. I asked one of the daycare staff and she said that she’s shown them a few, which I think is awesome, but I wish I had known so I could 1) recognize it; and 2) work with Aitch on increasing her ASL vocab.

At the new daycare, there’s no signing. Once in a while, she’ll still use “more”, but not as often. I try to, but really wonder what’s the point of knowing only one sign. However, tonight as we were getting ready to put her down for bed, she was really agitated over something and kept repeating one word over and over again: “mess-et, mess-et, mess-et!”, but I also noticed it looked like she was signing. Neither Sparring Partner or myself could decipher the word (blanket? messy? bunny? Pinky? Jesuschristwhat??!), and since we don’t sign, we were unable to get whatever it was that she was frantically asking for. The sign? Put your fingers together of one hand and tap them into the open palm of the other like a chicken pecking at the ground but sideways.

So if you can offer a suggestion as to what she might have been saying, we’d be grateful.

In an unrelated event, when I told Aitch it was time for a dry diaper, she took off, running away while dragging one of my long neckscarves behind her. Because I am lazy (see above), I refused to run after her. Instead I just stepped on the end of the scarf as she ran by. It was like being a part of a real life Tom & Jerry cartoon. Also? It was just as funny as you would imagine it to be. That’s not mean, is it?

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16 thoughts on “Looking for a Sign”

  1. the correct sign for “medicine” is a “P” handshape with the middle finger of the “P” tapping or pushing into the palm of the non-dominant hand. This sounds like it could certainly be a modified version of that sign, especially with the “mess-et” verbage. Maybe the baby didn’t feel well, or maybe she was just showing off something she just learned or just remembered from when she was in daycare with someone who signed.

    1. I will definitely be paying more attention to see if she does it again since she no longer goes to the daycare that was teaching her some signs. She had been on a 6 wk course of antibiotics and we would each night tell her it was time for her medicine. We had stopped giving it recently, but she HATED taking it so it just seems odd she would be asking for it. But hey, toddlers are an enigma.

      1. I would watch for her to sign it again and examine the scenario at the time. You could also try doing the correct sign (you can find a video of the proper sign at aslpro.com), and see if she responds with the same verbage (mess-et). The next time you give her medicine, you could also ask her to “show you” or see if she performs it on her own. Another option is to say “medicine” and see if she responds with “mess-et.” I am so glad that you are aware of motions that could be signs to find ways to communicate with her. Continue to pay attention to repeated motions, examine the setting/happenings at the time and any verbage that goes with it. If you get it right, she will be so excited. It sound like she’s trying to communicate with you and wants to make that connection.

  2. Yeah, that one I don’t know. We did the signing time with Mini, religiously, and he never understood to use the signs to communicate. Well, he did, but he didn’t use them until much older. LG on the other hand, uses the very few I’ve taught her, but only when SHE wants to. If I ask, she refuses, because she has her own system for getting her wish granted. Usually pointing at the object in question.

  3. Okay. So I called my son that is taking his second year of ASL. Now he thinks I am really crazy (he highly suspected it before) and told me that sign can be a number of things…but that if I was actually describing it accurately, it is a sign for money. Maybe you need to be paying her a better allowance 🙂

  4. If you’re a bad parent like me you let the good old TV teach your children sign language. Some other triplet moms recommended the “Signing Times” videos. Yeah at times I kind of want to punch the lady on the video for being too happy, but other than that they are great. The kids liked them and used to know 30-40 signs. My husband and I finally had to pay attention while they were on so we would know the signs too.

  5. I’ve been known to do that stepping-on-the-scarf thing with my dogs (when I had them) and my daughter. It is quite hilarious.

    No idea on the ASL – we never taught my daughter any signs at all.

  6. We only used a couple of signs (milk, more, please) and they were pretty helpful! She still kept doing little remnants of them well after she could talk. I think she mostly got them from her daycare lady.

  7. wow Cat, comment much?? On that site, click on the ASL for Babies tab at the top of the video viewer. Then the letter M, there is a menu for words to sign.

  8. Our old daycare taught Maggie “please, thank you, more, dog, cat, Mom, Dad, all the letters, how to sign her name, and a few others that she’s probably forgotten by now. That teacher left the DC, so Will never got any of that.

    I have no idea what she was asking for. sorry.

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