Baby sign language

I’m fascinated by languages in general, so I love the idea of teaching a four or five-month old baby a few useful signs to help them communicate when their hands are more coordinated than their tongues. Here are the signs I’ve learnt so far:



I am now twenty-five weeks pregnant, which means there are just two weeks left of second trimester. I’ve gained 1.5 kilos altogether 🙂 Thanks to that and to my height, my belly is pretty modest (considering), which means I’m not having any real problems with size.

I had a pretty big weekend last weekend (Thursday I had two whole hours of work, Friday I had people for dinner AND then we went to a movie, Saturday I was at Conflux for *gasp* two hours, and Sunday I had a family afternoon tea – all of which were apparently too much for me, faugh!) and crashed badly on Sunday night. So on Monday I cancelled everything and focused on just one thing: drinking water. Over the course of the day I watched TV, read books, watched CJ do chores, and drank as much as I could stand. That meant constantly updating my nausea (every time I felt okay, I drank more water and ruined it). Altogether I drank a litre and a bit of water, and maybe 600mL of milk. That really was the best I could do – and I was much sicker on Tuesday as a result. My body HATES water. Also, it made me so nauseous that I haven’t brushed my teeth since Sunday.

I would probably have been fine today, except I’m desperate to try and skip four ondansetron pills this fortnight (it comes in packs of ten, so if I succeed it means we only have to buy the $80 pack once per pay period), so I skipped it last night – which meant another do-nothing day today. It wasn’t fun, but it was fine.

I’m now getting a cramp or two each day, which may be a return of earlier ondansetron side effects – or the beginning of Braxton Hicks contractions (basically, fake labour). Either way, I have three and a half months more to look forward to. Awesome.

My left leg and the left side of my hips have been painful for four weeks now (as if I’ve overexercised, which I assure you is not the case). It hurts worst at night, which means gritting my teeth in pain every time I turn over (to the peculiar sound of clicking bones). On my 1-2 nightly loo visits the first few steps are a painful shuffle (as I clutch onto the bedside table for support). My right leg and the right side of my hip have just caught on and started to hurt as well.

This is caused by the hormone relaxin (which makes muscles go all loose and unsupportive in preparation for labour), and hip bones moving around (ditto). Which at least makes logical sense.

Pregnancy: the first two weeks are perfectly nice.

I remember saying, long ago, that my anxiety disorder was good preparation for pregnancy (because I’m used to chemical wackiness), and it actually is. I have seven years of practice of being helpless and housebound, and although I can rationally say that it sucks, in psychological terms I’m in great shape.

Strange but true. Despite all the physical and financial stuff, I’m still infinitely happier than I was last year. I can honestly say that life is good.

Tomorrow I’ll be brushing my teeth (and hair), seeing a friend (here), and teaching one student (here). It will be a nice day.

Published by Felicity Banks Books

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and My fantasy ebook is on sale at

8 thoughts on “Baby sign language

  1. Hang on to all the receipts and claim as much back as you can in medical expenses next year on your tax. Doesn’t help right now, but tax returns really are awesome…..

    1. Ann: Already keeping the receipts, and I think already over the $2000 threshold for 2011/2012. DId you hear that the tax-free threshold just got lifted to $21,000? I may never pay tax again!

  2. The good thing about baby sign language is that it’s actually legit! Deaf babies do perform basic signs (on average) before hearing children learn to say their first words. They all learn to recognise them earlier (much earlier!), but coordinating the muscles is kind of difficult at first.

    1. W: it smells like a fad, but it does make sense to my brain, and I’m not surprised to have that sense backed up by a doctor of linguistics. Most importantly of all, though, I love the idea 🙂

      1. Well, it is a bit of a fad, but it’s a fad that has some scientific basis. If I understand it correctly, most mothers know their children well enough that they don’t need the signs to know what they want by that stage, but it helps for clarity.

        Don’t let anyone tell you that you *have* to use specific signs. They’re arbitrary, so it doesn’t matter which signs you associate with what, as long as they’re simple enough for a child who’s still getting used to the concept of “movement”.

      2. W: I liked the signs that I saw, which I presume are from Australian standard sign language. I’ll probably make up one or two when the time rolls around to actually do this.

      3. They’re not exactly Auslan signs, but more iconic signs (i.e. they look a lot like what they are, and you could guess them). There’s some overlap, though.

      4. W: That’s a shame – but I suppose simplicity is the priority.

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