Teaching sign language to babies has become popular in recent years, as it gives communication tools to babies as young as 6 months – long before they’re able to really verbalize their wants and needs with actual words. Most of us use websites or YouTube videos to teach our little ones signs for things they need often like “mommy, daddy, drink, eat, please and thank you,” but after reading about the experience this mom had, you’re going to want to double-check that the signs you’re teaching actually mean what you think they mean.
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One mom found this out the hard way.
Her post is below, from Reddit.
“I go to this ‘mommy and me’ thing every week with my daughter,” she wrote. “Not because it’s my kind of thing, but because my mother-in-law paid the membership for a year as a ‘Christmas gift’ to my one-year-old (AKA she doesn’t think I am socializing her grandchild enough and this was her way of passive-aggressively correcting my parenting).”
“Anyways, we go to this thing every week for an hour and all the Pinterest moms are planning themed birthday parties and discussing screen time and sharing gluten free recipes while their kids stare at each other. But all these kids know sign language, and I thought that was pretty damn cool. So I start looking into this and try teaching my kid some basic signs for basic needs, and it’s working! Suddenly, my tiny human who otherwise could not effectively communicate with me knows how to say “more” and “all done” and “drink”! She can call me mom and my husband, dad! Holy s**t! Thanks, Pinterest moms! I take back all the s**t I talked about you to my kid on our weekly drives home.”
“Well today with my husband out of town, I didn’t feel much like cooking and since my daughter is pretty laid back at restaurants I decided to go out for a quick dinner. The kid loves French fries and so do I. So we hit the local burger joint and I order a beer, a burger with fries, and a side of fruit. The server brings a little Styrofoam cup with a lid and a straw filled with water for my daughter, and I set it out of her reach so she doesn’t hulk smash the Styrofoam and make a mess. So, of course, every time she wants some, she signs “drink”. And every time she wants my attention, she signs “dad” because apparently, the slightly different sign for “mom” isn’t as fun for her. Ok, whatever.”
Well I notice a couple tables away, there are a couple of women who are also signing to each other but they’re looking over at us and snickering. I’m like okay, I did like 4 quick google searches, maybe I botched some of what I taught her. It’s fine. But then as the women are leaving, they stop by our table and one of them lays her iPhone down with a message typed out for me to read. It says something to the effect of “she’s calling you ‘dumb’ and telling you she wants to drink alcohol”.
I’m like… wait… what? So she continues to show me that I have in fact taught my daughter the wrong signs, that there are different signs for “drink (non-alc*holic beverage)” and “drink alcohol” and by balling her first up instead of using a flat hand at her forehead, my daughter has been calling me dumb instead of dad which was already wrong obviously since I am her mom. I can only imagine what the Pinterest moms would’ve done had I shown up next week with my kid asking to drink liquor.”
Luckily, this mom has a sense of humor and no postpartum depression, so she laughed at herself and her (easily made) mistake.
The good news is, there’s plenty of parents out there who can commiserate (and laugh along) because who hasn’t accidentally let a curse word slip only to hear it repeated back to you at the least opportune moment?
No one, that’s who. At least, no one I want to know.