Monday, December 20, 2010

Baby signs of the week: HURT and HELP

Baby sign language is great for helping to teach more difficult, abstract concepts.  HELP and HURT are two great signs for a child to know.  They can also help keep your toddler safe safer and even solve medical mysteries. For example, the baby sign language instructor at our library told us a story about a toddler who used sign language to tell her mother that her nose hurt. After some investigation, it turned out that she had stuck a small bead up her nose and it was stuck. If the baby had not known sign language the bead would probably have traveled up her sinuses and into her brain. Or busted out her tear duct...or, er something awful like that. Actually a very special person in my life (who shall remain nameless) stuck a bead up her nose when she was two (weirdo) and it eventually dislodged itself after a lot of running around. But still, it's a cool story. How else would the mom of the signing baby have known about the bead?

I was thrilled when Nate started using HURT and HELP over the last week. He used HURT (click here for the ASL sign) to tell me that his mouth hurt, which made sense since he just cut two molars and it looks like his bottom canines aren't far behind. He uses HELP in a less sad spoon context - to ask me to get a toy he couldn't reach. The ASL sign for HELP is fairly difficult for little kids to make (click here for the sign), so most baby sign language books and instructors suggest a more kid friendly version - patting your upper chest with both hands.

If your child doesn't fall down constantly like mine (giving me plenty of opportunities to sign HURT), you can always act it out with a teddy bear. "Oh, boom! The teddy bear fell and HURT his head. Poor teddy bear. It looks like he needs a band-aid for his boo-boo."

Here is Nate demonstrating. He's not using the signs in context, since I'm having him perform like a circus monkey, but you'll get the idea:

So, stick anything interesting up your nose lately?

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