Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Teaching Anthony to Sign

I started signing with Anthony a couple weeks after he was born. I began by signing milk whenever I nursed him, and my husband and I were shocked when he started to sign it back at 6 months. (It's not normal to sign this young. Most kids start signing between 8-10 months) We then chose a few more signs to introduce that we thought would be helpful: mom, dad, more, eat, drink, help, finished, please, thank you. I had read that the best way to teach is just to use the sign whenever you say the word. It should not be a forced thing, and your child may not even appear to be watching you.

Each time Anthony started signing a new sign, we'd add a new one. I started a list of things we said to him on a regular basis and these are the signs I would choose from. If I couldn't remember how to sign something, I would look it up online (always check a couple sites to make sure it's correct) or look in an ASL dictionary I check out from the Library occasionally. I also found a great DVD series! I've read a lot of articles that say watching "educational" shows are not actually beneficial. While that may be true of some shows, I completely disagree when it comes to the "Signing Time" series. I now have 4 of the DVD's and Anthony has mastered all of the signs on them. He sits on the couch and signs along with them. He's so proud of himself... he gets so excited to show you he knows how to sign the sign too. One thing to remember is that when your child learns a sign they will modify it slightly to make it easier. I've noticed as Anthony gets older he is starting to use the "correct" form of the sign.

So why do I think signing is so great?

-I was able to communicate with Anthony way before he was verbally able to express himself
-He has never cried out of frustration. He cries when he's told no, or gets hurt, but he never cries for no reason.
-It's fun! I loved sitting down to read books with him before he could say much because he would sign to me about what's going on. I had no idea he understood what I was saying until he started pointing to things and signing it. (Of course I still love reading to him now, I was just amazed at his capability to understand so much when he was still so young.)
-It's been helpful in teaching him Spanish. For instance, instead of saying "milk" while signing it, I say "leche."
-He was talking much sooner than others his age. I've heard so many people say they won't teach their kids how to sign because then they won't want to talk. SO not true!
-I can't remember a time when I had no idea what he wanted or needed. Between signing and talking he has been able to communicate what he thinks, needs, or feels.

Anthony is now 19 months, and he knows more signs than I can count. His latest favorites are roller skate, guitar, sit, book, play, and no. He also has made up some of his own signs, especially for food items. "Toast" is one of the signs he has recently made up and uses constantly. Amazingly, it is very close to what the actual sign is.

So Christina, and anyone else out there who wants to sign with their children, I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.

I attached a video from Signing Time that I found on YouTube. It's a cute Valentine's Day clip :o)

I wish my camera could capture a smell....

....because then you'd be smelling wonderful homemade bread fresh out of the oven! (Gluten Free of course) Yum!!!

25 Random Things About Me

I originally did this to respond to a post on Facebook. I thought it was fun so I'm posting it on my blog too. I'd love to hear 25 random things about you too.

1. I am currently taking Spanish lessons. I am learning so much, and I am so thankful to have such a great teacher.

2. I miss my friends. A lot. I wish I knew how to still be close with them even though I don't live nearby.

3. I miss my sisters too.

4. I am a dreamer. Someday I hope to do a LOT of different things.

5. I learned sign language in K-4th grade and I still remember it. I've been teaching it to Anthony since he was born. It has been soooo helpful. He first signed "milk" at 6 months. His new favorite sign is "roller skate."

6. I love to read. I have a hard time starting a book and then putting it down. If I read before I go to bed I will stay up all night.

7. I remember very very little from my childhood. I have some memory of middle school, but I really don't start remembering until high school. I think this is a good thing...

8. My husband is my high school sweetheart. We have been together for 6 1/2 years (minus 10 months for MC) and married for 3 of them.

9. I think the book "Love and Respect" is a must read for anyone who is married. And I think it should be read over and over again until you both "get" it. Someday I hope to do a small group on the book. Not because I'm anywhere close to mastering the concepts, but because I think it's so powerful.

10. My husband spoiled me with a dozen roses every month when we were dating. I received over 30 dozen roses within a couple years.

11. I love to learn. I love school and wish it were not so expensive. Someday I want to finish my bachelor's degree. I want to major in Sociology and get my teaching certificate.

12. I want to live abroad. There is so much more world than the US, and I hope to experience life in many different cultures (and share Jesus along the way).

13. I am finally returning to the Dominican Republic. After 4 years of longing to go back, God has finally answered my prayers. I can't wait to go serve the people and missionaries there. Only 32 days until we arrive!!!

14. I have Celiac disease. For all practical purposes I'm allergic to gluten (wheat, rye, and barley). Really it's an autoimmune disease. If I eat gluten my body does not recognize it as food, and it will not absorb any nutrients. My body then thinks it is starving. There's more to it, but it's way different than an allergy. It is difficult to diagnose, and I was sick for a good 8 years until I got a new doctor who figured it out.

15. I love board games. Yatzee is my favorite because I almost always win. Actually it's my favorite because Tony always looses :o)

16. I am horrible at remembering movies. Unless I've seen one multiple times I couldn't tell you a thing about it. Even if I loved it. Even if I watched it yesterday.

17. Tony and I have very large confusing families. Between the two of us we have 14 siblings, 5 in-laws, 4 nieces, and 1 nephew. And that's just the kids. Let's just say Christmas gets expensive.

18. I am afraid of heights. Not terrified, but it's pretty much the last thing I'd want to do. Looking over the edge of something high is the worst. I get nauseated just watching others do it.

19. I love being "domesticated." I love cooking, sewing, and keeping the house clean and organized. Now if only I knew when to hold my tongue, I'd be the perfect wife :o)

20. I am scared to death to have another baby, even though I've already had one.

21. I had braces for 7 years and my teeth still aren't perfectly straight.

22. I love Mexican food. I could eat it every meal of everyday. And I'm not talking Taco Bell Mexican. I love the spicy, authentic stuff full of cilantro.

23. I am currently watching Madagascar in Spanish and eating Captain Crunch.

24. When I go to Starbucks I order a white chocolate americano with lots of cream... tall if it's hot and grande if it's iced.

25. When I die, I hope to be remembered as a loving wife and mother who served the Lord in everything I did.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wife and Mommy

I love being a wife and mommy! Although there are definitely days when I may tell you otherwise, I genuinely love both of these roles. Today my morning has been filled with making breakfast, doing the dishes, working on our taxes, and going through things that have never really gotten unpacked from 2 years ago. I feel like I was pretty productive, but I am struggling with this... How do I maintain a household while still being a great Mom to Anthony? Although I got a lot done this morning, as I was laying him down for his nap I realized I really hadn't spent any time with.

I don't think I have unrealistic expectations for keeping my house a certain way. There are always dishes to be done and laundry to put away. I know my house is not going to be spotless and I don't expect it to be. Maintaining the house is so much more than just cleaning though and these are the things that really pile up. I have thank you cards to write from Christmas, let alone the 3 Christmas gifts that still need to be finished and mailed. All of the information for our taxes needs to be gathered, so that I can then actually do them. I've got Spanish to study, devotions to read, and some form of exercise to try and squeeze in. Bills to pay, grocery shopping to do, and of course cooking meals. I'm not overwhelmed, I just don't know how to get it all done! And when I do accomplish something, I end up feeling horrible because I didn't spend any time just sitting on the floor playing with my son. And this is what really matters to me.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to tackle everything that needs to get done while still being a loving, attentive mother? I don't want my son to grow up remembering that I was always too busy to play with him, but there are things that have to get done. Advice?