Does baby signing work in a blog?! Another “the only Dad” baby class moment with No.2 at @busylizzymum @tinytalksigning

While Mum has been back on maternity leave in our new home area East Surrey, she’s joined a “family club” called Busy Lizzy. While there are what I know from last time as the usual child-focused classes (what my Mum, a 1960’s trained teacher, calls “music and movement” classes, as good a description as I’ve heard) their twist is to combine these with a range of mummy-focused exercise classes, from buggy-fit to Pilates. 

In an equally familiar franchise style, this group is based at various locations around Reigate. As the Twitter handle suggests, the clear focus is mums, although <some> of the literature says “family” and “parent”. 

Junior has been going to a dance class on a Tuesday, an experience that at times has left all frustrated, as with No.2 mostly not napping when desired, Mum has had to chase after Junior while carrying No.2, who then gets grumpier as he doesn’t get enough attention, especially towards the end of the class when he’s tired and wants a cuddle himself. 

So for the period we’re both off, he’s getting Mum’s full attention at dancing while I occupy No.2. Last week this was a trip to Homebase, but rather more exciting for her, this week involved going to a baby signing class. 

I appreciate this is quite hard to describe on a blog (and not even trying on Twitter), but let me try. Baby signing is a very simple form of sign language that you can use with babies, as they can make signs long before then can talk. We tried inexpertly with Junior, and it worked for one sign, which for him meant “more”. Image of the sign below (actually means milk). 

Mostly applied to food/booby, I now realise it was an early form of nagging, something he now achieves quite well through droning “hot milk” continuously until you give in or go mad…

Today we turned up at class slightly late, so had to do the “rush in, show baby prominently to indicate I’m meant to be here, pretend to ignore fact I’m the only grown man in the entire building” routine. Which was fine, as the class it quickly became clear was mostly singing songs and moving the babies/children about, with the sign language being added to the songs. Which was quite good fun as some of the signs we learnt were suitably easy and obvious (guess what the sign for a banana is……go here to discover you’re right…). And the teacher even remembered to do the signs for Daddy as well as Mummy at requisite points. I don’t think she gets to use Daddy often. This particular flavour of baby signing is called “Tiny Talk”, although the signs appear fairly standard. 

And to say No.2 enjoyed it is something of an understatement. Not so much for the educational value, but as a social opportunity! As she is just crawling, she was quickly going to see the nearest other babies and mums, and was doing some fantastic shaking of shakers. I’m sure it was coincidence, but at one point she was doing it at exactly the right times (cue proud father moment). 

And it was a nice friendly bunch, which is good – I had more conversation in one class than I did in 3 months of Gymboree. It helps my daughter is soooo beautiful, and people can’t stop talking about her eyes…! I think Mum was a bit unsure I’d get on with it, but given how much No.2 enjoyed herself, we’ll definitely be going back.