When my daughter was eight months old, we took a baby sign language class. Most of the kids there were several months older, but I was insistent that my pint-size girl learn the language early.
There’s nothing quite like being a mom who can’t hear her own child clearly. When she cooed and babbled, I strained to listen. I couldn’t imagine not hearing her say “Maw-Maw” for the first time.
Some people have asked me if my hearing aids help me hear everything. When it comes to my daughter’s delicate voice, even with the hearing devices in both my ears, I struggle to decipher what she is saying. High-pitched voices, like hers, are difficult for me to discern clearly.
So when I carried my tiny girl into the sign language classroom, someone asked me what my intentions were. Teaching a child in diapers to sign seemed ludicrous to someone who hadn’t walked in my shoes. Only a mother going deaf could emphathize.
I wanted to understand my child’s first words.
Here are a few signs we learned together:
BALL – Put hands together like a circle
MORE – Tap fingertips together
ALL DONE – Shake hands downward in front of chest
PLAY – Shake fists with the thumbs and pinkies pointing outward
Can you guess which sign is her favorite all these years later?