Sunday, December 5, 2010

Goodnight Moon and baby sign language

The coolest thing just happened as I was putting Natey to bed. We went through our normal bedtime routine  and it was going well despite the fact that Nate finally caught my nasty cold. Tonight I chose Goodnight Moon for our bedtime story, because it's one of Nate's favorites and I needed to make sure he stayed a happy camper before bed.

Goodnight MoonHe's been going through a phase for the last week where he won't let me finish the book at bedtime. Instead, he takes it and looks through the pages himself while he sits on my lap. I generally don't tolerate such behavior and usually give him a time out (using the one minute per each year of life rule). But as I was feeling generous tonight, I talked about each page while he flipped through. He pointed to objects he wanted me to label and he signed the words he knows.

Goodnight Moon is a great book for signing. The signs we use include MOON, FIRE (in the fireplace), HOT (the fire), CAT, COW, BEAR, MOUSE, LIGHT, STARS and SLEEP.  Admittedly, I don't sign the signs for bedtime (like SLEEP, TIRED, etc.) as much as I should - especially given our perpetual sleep difficulties. So it really surprised me when I told Nate that the bunny was sleeping (without also signing it) on the last page and Nate signed SLEEP for the first time. (I actually use the ASL sign for BED to mean sleep, sleepy, asleep and going to bed.) Nate made the sign by putting a palm on each of his cheeks and it was adorable.

And just like that, Goodnight Moon seemed to really click for Nate. He understood that the boy was sleepy and going to bed with his pillow and blanket - just like the pillow and blanket Nate has in his crib. And Nate began pointing at random objects in his room, wanting to tell them "goodnight." Nate has always enjoyed labeling the objects in the book, but he suddenly seemed to be understanding the story. I took the opportunity to point out that the mama (I think the "old woman" might actually be the grandmother, but for our purposes she was the mama) sat in the room with the bunny boy, but then they turned out the light and it was time to go to sleep. Nate understood and didn't complain too much when it was time for our light to go out.

I hope you realize I was totally kidding about the time out thing. We use ten minutes of time out for every year of life.


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