One of the gifts I got at my baby shower for Kalena was a pair of baby sign language books. I knew a little about the theory behind teaching babies to sign, but I didn’t feel strongly about doing it or not. When Kalena started trying to stand up out of her high chair when she was done eating though, I knew we had to do something. So we taught her to sign “all done.” Everyone was considerably happier once she could tell us she was done and then wait while we got her out instead of trying to dive out of the high chair on to the floor. For a long time that was the only sign she did. We worked on the sign for “more,” but she didn’t use it much.
As she started learning words I figured signing would be pointless, but something changed my mind. What made me change my mind you ask? The WHINING. Oh my goodness, I just couldn’t take any more whining. When she didn’t how to ask for something she would just point and whine and whine and whine. First we went back to the sign for “more.” And she quickly realized that pointing at something and asking for “more” (even if she hadn’t had any) will usually get her what she wants. And then (because I want to raise polite children and also because I find it adorable) we taught her to sign “please.” It did not take her long to pick up on the idea that asking for “more please” is even MORE likely to get her what she wants. Of course, then I had to teach her “thank you” to complete the whole thing. So now she will (often unprompted) ask for “more please” and then thank you for it. It is SO CUTE. In fact, the asking “more please” is so cute that I really feel bad when a) I have to tell her no, or b) I don’t know what she’s asking for.
Anyway, I won’t lie. I’m WAY more likely to give her something when she puts on her big smile and signs “more please” than if she points at it and whines. Am I ever going to be immune to the cuteness?