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Published on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 by

Let’s face it, I hate meeting new people. I hate being in a room full of strangers and feeling like the outsider because I can’t just walk up to someone and strike up a conversation. I am not outgoing. I am not a small talker. And I am not extroverted in the least. I am introverted. I am awkward. And I am shy. Sometimes these characteristics come off to people as being rude or stuck up. Trust me, if the idea of small talking with a stranger did not paralyze me in fear, I would be all over it, like white on rice. So you can imagine my fear when the realization hit me, if I wanted new friends that had children, I would have to join some mom and baby groups.

I’ve tried a few moms groups. When Lougheed Mall in Burnaby offers Mom and Baby Zumba classes, I went. I’ve managed to see a few movies through Movies for Mommies and I took Kaiden to Baby Sign Language classes. I was always the first one out of the class, running away like a fire was tearing through the building. I haven’t seemed to work up the courage to talk to other moms, and the more I think about how I shouldn’t be so scared, the more frightened I become. However, when Kaiden and I joined the Baby Sign Language class when he was about 6 weeks old, I was unable to be the shy, soft spoken, awkward, woman that I am. Rather, I was forced to talk to other moms as little ones ran around the room, excited that there were other children around. I participated in the songs and activities the instructor suggested we try. Kaiden and I had a lot of fun!

The Baby Sign Language classes taught moms basic sign language gestures through songs and games, to facilitate communication with our child(ren). While I know ASL is an effective communication tool for the deaf, I wasn’t fully convinced that my son would be able to communicate with me before the age of 1. Nor was I convinced that he could communicate with me through signing before he was ready to talk. For months I practiced the signs with him. I signed the word “milk” when it was time to nurse. I signed the word “eat” when he started on solid foods. I signed the words “changing”, “diaper”, “hungry”, “mommy”, “bath”, “sleep”, so often, that now it has become second nature. I practiced these signs over and over, and at first I would get disappointment if Kaiden looked at me in confusion or didn’t react the way I expected him too. However, at six months, the remarkable happened. I signed the word “milk” right before nursing him, and he smiled ear to ear. Then I signed the word “eat” and he got so excited he started squealing in delight. I couldn’t help but feel excitement. My son was starting to communicate and understand the words I had been endlessly teaching him since he was 6 weeks old.

At 8 months old, Kaiden knows, and responds to a variety of signs. We communicate in ways I didn’t think was possible. Although he is not signing the words to me yet, I know this day will come. The Baby Sign Language class was interactive, fun, and forced me out of my comfort zone. The instructor was helpful and had a lot of fun teaching both the adults and the children. If you would like to look up Baby Sign Language Classes in your area, go to www.intoyoga.ca.

Shianne K. is the proud mother of Kaiden, born 07/30/2012

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