Will we continue with baby signing when our baby is fully verbal? This is a question we, both have been asked, and have considered independently. However, the answer has yet to be answered – time will tell. I will say that signing to us started as a means to an end. We took it up so that we could effectively communicate and manage our son. It was to connect with him on a deeper level than what could have been established in a non-signing context.
Many ASL purists will abhor this stance, but signing with your hearing baby is a choice, as is its continuation, or cessation. And this is not in efforts to dismiss whatever qualities held by the deaf or their desire to exit their reality. I doubt any pity would be accepted by such a strong community, so I extend none. I will also add that I am very thankful for having borrowed their excellent language. With it, I have learned to respect its origins, its beauty, its simplicity and its complexity. However, in the end, I am part of a different community altogether, and one I do not wish to escape. I feel my stance is in the majority with respect to hearing parents signing with their hearing children. I also don’t think my take on things is at odds with anyone either. I feel we can coexist. I feel that signing to babies is a great way to bring parents and children closer to each other, as well as excellent and unique way to introduction them to another world altogether – of which we can only tour the perimeter.
This obviously isn’t just about continuing to sign, or not sign, but an expression of my gratitude for borrowing deaf language. So, to all those who contribute to ASL, my deepest thanks.