My daughter is nine months old and, seemingly out of the blue this month, she started touching her hand to her head when I would walk into or out of the room. Then, when I would come over to her, she would clap her hands and smile.
We thought this was cute.
After a couple of days of it, we started to associate the sign with me. Then once in a while she started combining “my sign” with a sign we taught her to ask for more food and which she sometimes uses to say she wants her brother to play with her more:
So it occured to us that she was now saying, “more daddy.” I should keep singing her a song or I should keep tickling her or whatever I happened to be doing at the time.
Finally, we looked up the sign for “daddy” and sure enough:
But how did she learn the sign for “daddy”? We were sure they taught it to her at daycare and we were pleased. We asked them about it one day when we went to pick her up.
"Nope," they told us. We didn’t teach her that. "We should do more with baby sign language than we do," they said. That’s really cool.
But if they didn’t teach it to her and we didn’t teach it to her, who taught it to her? We puzzled over this with her daycare teachers for a few minutes until one of them asked us what the sign looked like. We explained and she made the connection:
One of the girls in our daughter’s class has deaf parents; her father almost always drops her off and picks her up, and the teacher recalled seeing the girl use this sign when her father came to get her.
So our current theory is that our daughter learned the sign for “daddy” by watching another girl in her class use it … which means she understood why the girl was signing and that the sign could transfer to her daddy.
Which is pretty amazing.