The sense of achievement/satisfaction she gained from knowing that she could convey messages to us accurately through signs, or a combination of signs and developmental speech, was priceless. I remember we went for a visit to a farm when she was 1 and a ½ and she recalled her day through signs at home. She also indicated to us which animals she wanted to revisit.
Signing is about establishing the special bond between the carer and the baby. It is not expected that babies will remember and use all the signs as demonstrated. In fact, some babies may prefer to exercise a bit of artistic flair and improvise. As long as all parties understand the language, there is no need for strict adherence to the standard signs. Such was the case with my daughter.
Shortly after learning about singing, she understood from her childcare centre that she could request something by signing. At home she tried all sorts of signs which neither my husband nor I understood so we tried to guess out loud, which was not that hard as she had only learnt a few signs at that stage. She then nodded decisively when we associated her sign with the right meaning.
From then on the Isabella sign for “more” was invented. It does have a slight resemblance to the conventional sign, but hey we all understood what she meant and I guess the staff from her childcare centre must have too.
Here are snippits of Isabella doing signing that we have managed to capture on camera.