Nurse Tami / Sugs’ Shoppe, LLC  Image by  Gratuity Media

Nurse Tami / Sugs’ Shoppe, LLC

Image by Gratuity Media


On the creative side, I am a designer and artist. I mostly work with fabrics, sewing, and dying. I am tie dye obsessed (if you haven't noticed!) Now that I have my feet beneath me and feel more confident in my hospice position, I have started reaching for that sewing machine. So keep your eyes peeled for some fresh pieces in the Shoppe.  


My Signing Tot...
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Graeme signing "elephant"

My son will be 20 months April 18th. Since he was a mere 8 weeks old, I have incorporated sign language into his every day life. He can now sign about 30 words! It is Graeme's main mode of communication, as he currently verbalizes about 10 words.

It all began at my baby shower June 2013. A dear friend that I graduated high school with attended with her toddler daughter. They sat at the table & my mother & I witnessed the most incredible thing! Her toddler was signing to her, with big grins & excited fingers. Pointing out the window & signing "bird," I immediately decided that this was something I would like to try with my unborn son!

My mother, immediately went onto Amazon & purchased this book for me: Baby Sign Language Basics: Early Communication for Hearing Babies and Toddlers

This lovely book is filled with valuable information from, what is sign language for hearing infants & toddlers, benefits, frequently asked questions, when to start, how to sign, choosing your first signs, strategies, mistakes, singing &signing & 300 pictorial signs, plus so much more.

My favorite portion of this book, is Chapter 3: The Benefits; here's a little run down:

  • Signing enables early communication
  • Increases a child's self esteem
  • Reduces the likelihood of frustration between parents & child
  • Builds language skills
  • Increases bonding & quality interactions
  • Allows for a more detailed view of your child's personality
  • You get to experience just how intelligent your child is
  • An average increase of 12 points for IQ compared to non-signing children
  • Boosts child's literacy & comprehension

At 8 weeks old, I attended a baby sign language class through the same place I took my hypnobirthing class, Peaceful Birthing. There was an instructor who was an Early Childhood Educator & had significant experience teaching her own children signing. The key points that I took away from her class were:

  • Eye contact
    • Mutual gaze, a gaze between child & person signing
  • Repetition
    • Signing in repetition at the level of your face while your child is looking at you will help get & keep their attention.
I immediately began utilizing sign language with Graeme. Our first signs were "milk" & "more." Now, let me be clear here, Graeme did not sign back to me at 8 weeks old. Before he nursed or drank from a bottle I would use the sign for milk, in his line of sight multiple times while repeating, 'milk, milk, milk' then I would latch him or give him the bottle. Now before Graeme was capable of giving me a physical sign, he would give me other signs that he understood what I was saying. His eyes would light up, or he would flash me a big smile if I signed something that he wanted. My husband & other family members did this as well. At about nine months old, Graeme gave me his first sign, "milk." You can imagine how ecstatic I was when his little hand mimicked mine. 
We continued signing to Graeme, adding in a word/sign every once in a while. When Graeme was a year old he verbalized 2 words, "mama," & "uh-oh" he was also able to sign about 4 words.At 15 months he was able to sign about 7 words & verbalize 3. When I took Graeme to the doctor for his 15 month well check, the Physician Assistant seemed concerned that Graeme was not more vocal. I told her about his sign language, & how quickly he was learning new signs. That he understood what we were saying to him & signing to him. She did not seem impressed. I left the office seriously contemplating leaving for good. Why on Earth wouldn't Graeme's ability to utilize sign language be considered a form of communication?
Graeme has learned so many signs in the last 4 months it blows me away! I have no doubt of how intelligent my son is. His language skills are developing & he has been very vocal, in toddler talk of course. He does say:
  • mama
  • dada (always a whisper)
  • please (pessssss)
  • Ruby (uuuRRuuBeeeee)
  • car (Ka)
  • caca
  • hot (Ha)
  • ball

All of which he does in the most adorable little voice! His signing vocabulary has expanded significantly. He now signs almost 30 words! 

  • milk
  • more
  • diaper
  • thank you
  • please
  • owie
  • cookie
  • apple
  • cracker
  • movie
  • num-nums
  • all done
  • I don't know
  • bye bye
  • yes
  • no
  • paci
  • elephant
  • zebra
  • bird
  • gorilla
  • giraffe
  • crocodile
  • lion
  • fish
  • bear
  • dog
I am so in love with the fact that Graeme can sign, it has made communication that much easier! Knowing what he wants when he wants it has been such a blessing especially during these tantrum stages! I suggest trying it with your little! They learn so fast & retain so much...it's amazing to see him grow with it every day!

Some quick tips that I would love to share with you about signing:
  • Eye contact is key
  • Sign in front of their line of vision 
  • Repeat, repeat, & repeat some more!
  • If your child finds interest in something, learn the sign & apply it. 
    • Example: Graeme loves animal books, so we have taught him many different animals signs so that when we read a book he signs each animal. 
  • Save http://www.babysignlanguage.com/dictionary/ into your phone & computer for quick video references
  • Be consistent with using your signs
  • Teach those that will be around your child the signs they use
  • Be patient, be confident
  • Your child's sign may look different than what you are trying to teach them, that's okay!
I'd love to hear if you or someone you know has used sign language with their child! 
Peace, Love & Tie Dye

Mama Sugs

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