Don’t be surprised when your signing baby starts “talking” to themselves! After my son learned a few words, he’d sit quietly “reading” a book and quietly signing things he saw. In fact, from watching him from the side, I knew exactly what he was seeing on the page despite him not saying a word.
I’ve often wondered what non-signers see of us when I can communicate with him certainly without him saying a peep. Because I habitually mirror what he signs back to him verbally – a good practice for hearing babies – remember we’re moving them toward speaking right – I think maybe other people might just think I’m really good at reading his gestures or that we have a good connection, or maybe just that I’m a bit nuts! Hard to say really, maybe it’s a little bit of everything, ha!
Bit this brings me to another important point, when signing with your baby don’t be surprised by the amount of skeptics you come across. Many people will doubt that your baby, who can’t yet speak, is actually saying the things you protest that they are. I’ve shown signs to many people and since they often happen so quickly and appear at times like normal mannerisms (to the untrained eye), they go unrewarded as having actual meaning. And then after I’ve shown the signs to onlookers, they usually stand around in bewilderment, shock and what have you, not really knowing what to say at the risk of, I presume, sounding rude.
This is all to say that signing babies aren’t quite mainstream just yet, despite making significant headway in recent years. So while you deal with non-signers, just be sure to cut them a little bit of slack and take the time to teach them a few signs so they too can enjoy watching your preverbal baby communicate.