Sunday, January 29, 2012

Boastful Signing Mama

My boastful rant of how amazing my 7 month has grasped signing...

So excited to announce my 7 month old is doing very well with signing. I remember reading once that when you have your second or third baby, they may not sign as fast or as well as your first, for unknown reasons. I was prepared not to have my Nashville sign as well as my Geran did, but to my pleasent surprise, he is signing up a storm! It is wonderful and amazing to watch him. He tries so hard to communicate now.
He signs MILK, MORE, ALL DONE, EAT, DADA and some unknowns.

He started MILK at about 6 months, not knowing what it did. Just as a mimic sign. Then he started to realize it got him food. He signed it everything after that... for "pick me up" "im hungry, feed me" "im tired" "im poopy"
But with time and the addition of new signs, he started to realize that each sign does something different.

He is now 7 months and he signs EAT and MORE at mealtime, unsure which one works. He also signs and says DADA. He watches dad turn around and then signs and says DADA until he turns and looks at him, then he falls back into his seat squealing and does it again and again. 'Cause as you know, at this age, they LOVE repetition.

During mealtime today, he was signing MORE MORE MORE and then EAT and then DADA and was having a jolly ol time. He started to grab his finger and lift his arms up to the top of his head and down again. I am totally lost what this sign is, but I am totally impressed that he is struggling to communicate with me. He squeals to get my attention and then the arms and hands are moving about. He studies his fingers and hands and watches my eyes and then looks at my hands. He moves his arms around and watches for response. He is so studies with it... It is as if he has a secret language already, that I didn't teach and he is struggling to try and teach me what that language is.

Geran wasn't even this interested in signing with me. He sorta took the signs he needed, used them and moved on. He was busy, busy, busy... climbing and crawling by age 7 months. But because Nashville isn't crawling and only rolling about, I think he has more time to study the art of real communication. He is truly more interested in it than Geran was.

It is really cool and I can't wait to hear about what "he wants to talk about." Geran was interested in telling me about the lights and flies and the fishes in the tank and the dog. What will interest Nash?

Tune in to see what the future holds for my signing baby.

Soooo coool!

Even for me, a teacher of baby sign language here in Abbotsford, even I am amazed at Nashville's progress.
For more information on my classes, workshops or FREE posters go to
You can also find StickyHands on FB and @AmandaMinchau on Twitter

Ciao for now,


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Signing babies turn into emotionally strong teens

So many talk about the emotional well being of teenagers now a days. With all the worry with drugs, overworked, gangs, suicides, self image... we often start to try to teach our teens the importance of self esteem and confidence. We talk about steering from peer presure and try to get them involved in positive groups and clubs at school and in the community, but seldom do we talk about any of this before they are teens.

We assume our happy babies become happy toddlers, become happy children will just become happy teens.

But the foundation of this, just like laying a good foundation in a home, is to teach self esteem and self confidence from birth. There are many ways to do this and Jane Nelson, a famous child expert with many books on positive discipline discusses how to do this with small children including toddlers.

For example, getting a 4 year old or even a 2 year old to help put dishes in the dish washer, or help around the house with cooking, sweeping, what have you teaches them to depend on themselves. They love to help, so allow them to spill and make mistakes in your care so they can learn how to make mistakes, problem solve, think independently. Do more asking and less telling. "What do we need when we go out into the rain?" "A jacket, that's right!" They love to feel important, smart and encouraged, don't we all? Give them opportunities to learn important life skills and let them lead. This way, we teach our soon to be teen how to be confident and have a strong self image and high self esteem.

Another way to do this is to teach them baby sign language. I am not just tooting my own horn for my business. This is my heart speaking. If you teach your baby how to communicate, you are giving them the power of a voice at a very young age. Signing teaches babies how to ask for what they need, how to share their world, ideas, memories with you from a baby onward, it's proven to raise their self esteem. It lays that important foundation for emotional health.

Babies who sign, can tell you what they feel. They can say, "scared, angry, sad, happy, shy."
They can sign words to get things, "milk, cookie, doll, blanket."
They can ask for your love and tell you when to stop tickling, "all done, more, up, love, book."
Babies can use words for safety, "hot, hurt, stop, up, help."
They can participate in book reading and share their memories.

One of my favourite stories with my own son, who is now 2 years old. When I was teaching bubbles in our BATH week, he was signing BUBBLES and asking for more bubbles. Then we went out about a week later and we were walking through the park. He began to sign BUBBLES. I looked around and I couldn't see any bubbles. I clearly could see he was still signing bubbles and looking at me. Then I notice his eye gaze.... it was springtime and he was watching the blossom trees loose their blossoms. They were floating down to the ground like bubbles float.
I immediately got so excited. I said, "That's right, you see the flowers floating down like BUBBLES." They do look like BUBBLES don't they? Then I signed FLOWER and talked about flowers and springtime. He still signed bubbles, but I was able to have this huge conversation about it and he was sharing his memory and his world with me.

What an amazing feeling as a parent to have this with a 1 year old baby. So cool.

So next time you think your signing just for fun, remind yourself your doing an essential service to your baby and giving them the best start to their emotional well being.
Teaching our babies

Saturday, January 21, 2012


So Geran, my two year old fussed a bit tonight and daddy went in to comfort him, meanwhile Nashville, my 7 month old, woke and was crying with a bum rash. As I was changing him, Geran heard him crying in the other room and said to daddy, "Daddy, go help mommy with baby Nash." Dad said, "Do you want me leave you alone then?" Geran said, "Ya, I'm ok." So sweet.... such empathy at such a young age. I love being a mom to these amazing boys!

Friday, January 20, 2012


The days are turning into months. How does this happen? Too much rain? Not enough sleep? I watch my little 17 month old boy developing little person skills every day. So cute to watch. I feel the life growing inside me, moving about, as if from a scene in Alien. Sometimes I am jolted from the couch with a large kick from inside. Scares me and makes me laugh at the same time. Geran, my 17 month old, thinks everyone has a baby in their tummy. He lifts his shirt and points to his belly button, saying, "baby, baby." Too cute.

Rainy Days

Some Mondays are rainy and other are down right miserable cold pelting rainy... today is one of those days.

I have the little girl I babysit today, so luckily Geran and her have been squealing and running about. I'm going to call her "M" from now on. They are hiding and chasing each other. I blocked of the hall and throw them in there with a whole whack of balls (like the ones at McDonalds), and they love to run through them, bury each other in the bin, kick them and squeal. It's too cute, just wish I had a friend to squeal with today.

"M" is learning so much sign language from Geran, it's unbelievable. They watch the DVD's and learn signs everyday. I feel that now I can't keep up with them. I need to teach them more complicated signs. They are starting to form two word sentences and using words with their signs. It is amazing how much they know at such a young age.

I love when Geran is sitting reading and signing to the book. I noticed "M" is doing it too now. I guess the best teachers are the peers, even at 19 months old.

Ciao for now,



Don't forget to take time to relax.

Simple isn't it?

Say's the busy stay at home and work from home mom.


Sad Panda

I woke up barely able to move with a stiff neck, shoulder... due to my bad bed I am sure. It may as well be called a hammock. Anyhow, I 'd like to know who to be a good parent when you can't pick up your babies, bend over, clean up, make dinner, play, colour, read or anything without pain. It sucks... Makes a me a sad panda. Luckily I am not running my baby sign language classes yet. One less thing to worry about. I hope it was brought on by stress... we've had a lot of it this summer. I'm not usually the one to get these kinda things. sigh

Tomorrows Big Day

So here I am at 9pm, babies drifting off to sleepyland, ma ma hopes. I am pondering the significance of tomorrow. 

Jan. 21st the beginning and the end. As of Jan. 21st I am no longer on the Self Employment Program and like a comfortable blanket, I am sad to see that end. It was always comforting knowing that an email or a phone call away was my help line. I wish I could have used it more. I wish I had more time, but the bird has to fly sometime, why not now? Mind you flying in the freezing rain is no fun, let's hope the metaphor ended there.

Also, a big day tomorrow, I, as Sticky Hands Baby Sign Instructor, will be teaching over 28 adults at the Langley Library at 11am. It will be my biggest group yet and I am nervous. I hope to remember to SLOW down and enjoy myself instead of rushing through with nerves. I hope the parents learn, have a fun time and get excited about teaching baby sign to their babies. I want to leave there knowing I have instilled confidence and understanding.

I wish I could go out and celebrate, have a nice romantic dinner with my husband, buy myself some cute boots or something. But we don't have any sitters and money is a bit tight right now. I will have to settle for the celebration of doing an excellent job. I have been preparing all year for something like this. Having a big gig at the Langley Library gives me a lot of credability. The Parent Workshop has been in a couple newspapers and in Scope Langley online. I am getting a lot of emails and word of mouth and messages on FB about my classes now. Hope this draws in business. If I wasn't so busy trying to get everything ready, take care of my babies, help out my oldest, keep the house running, I would have written myself a sweet press release and invited them to the gig. But as it turns out, the freezing rain may keep some from coming.
I will write a press release soon and maybe have them come out to the Library when I do my play classes in Feb and Mar. I am pretty excited about all this hub. I want to ride the popular train for as long as I can.

The hard part is finding the balance between "Laundry and Ledgers" (stolen saying from a workshop) but so true. I desperately want to be a great mom, but I want to persue my career too! So hard with no family living down here for support. My husband is amazing and I can't say enough for how much he supports this dream of mine. It may not bring in a lot of money right now, but I feel the best when I am teaching!

Everything we do we do for love and it feels the best when my husband and I are sitting down watching the boys. The two year old, Geran and the 7 month old Nashville are interacting so sweet and fun now. Nash is always watching Geran and they 'talk' to each other now. Geran trying to get Nash to say words and Nash desperately trying to follow lead. Then they play and giggle to each other and pull on the same toys and fall over and laugh. So sweet. My babies are so much better than TV.

Anyhow, I rambled a bit, but wanted to get what was in my heart and head out and down on paper. So take care all and always pursue your dreams and work through the fear, nerves and difficulties cause it is euphoric on the other side.

Amanda and her boys.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Can you spoil a baby?

The short answer is no. It is very rare, and as your baby grows you will need to be learning to decide when your baby truly needs something and when they want something.

A baby learns trust by crying and finding out if someone comes. If they are hungry, cold, scared, wet, will someone help? By acting on these needs the parent is teaching and showing trust and love.

For a 6 month old baby that is crying for attention, pick them up, cuddle them a few minutes and then put them back down in a seat or floor near you so they can see you. Teach, I love you, I see you, your okay and your safe. A baby should not be in a playpen or seat too long, but parents don't need to be a slave to a baby either.

The best way to keep your baby happy is to keep a routine. Have the same times for meals, bedtime, play, bath etc. If you keep this consistant, your baby will learn the routine and their body will get ready. They will become hungry right around the time you usually feed. They will become sleepy around the time you usually nap them.

I have seen this in my youngest, the 7 month old. I can always tell if he is hungry or tired based on the time. He begins get whiny at 7:30pm and I know it is because he is tired. He yawns and yawns shortly after. I find both of my boys go to bed very well. It usually takes less than 15min for both to be sleeping. They have had the same bedtime 7:30pm since my two year old was 6 months. I know that is the reason.

So, take it from my family... a musician husband and myself... we paint, draw, stay up late, we don't wear watches, we struggle with routine ourselves.... but believe me it is SUPER important to give your babies a routine... if you want any peace.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How do you communiate with an infant who doesn't understand words?

How does one communicate with an infant who doesn't understand words yet? 
Try using signs. 
Gestures are natural and common across the globe. All babies will use gestures with or without you teaching sign. They strive to communicate and will do so without you in crying, yelling, pointing, throwing and sometimes tantrums. Try using sign as a way to relieve this frustration and build a strong bond with your baby at a young age.
Babies who become toddlers without sign will use pointing and looking at you as a way of asking about something. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could use a sign to communicate the answer. And further more how wonderful would it be for that toddler to then use a sign or two to communicate back and talk about what they wanted to talk about!
Imagine you are in the grocery store and your toddler begins to whine and cry in his seat. You don't have sign language, what do you do? You talk and talk and talk to your child, saying things like, "We are almost done, shhh, mommy loves you, or daddy knows your sad, it's ok, 5 more minutes." Your baby is lost in your foreign land as you speak 'French to him or her'... they are lost and can't communicate. 
Now the same scenario, with a signing baby. Perhaps baby starts to whine and you sign "EAT"? while asking are you hungry? or "SLEEP"? are you tired? or "HURT" are you done sitting?    Your baby may sign back to you "EAT"... and then you can open that bag of rice crackers and let him have at it while you quickly finish your shop. Relieving the frustration and communicating with your baby, strengthening that bond.

This happened to me exactly with my son Geran. When he was 9 months old, we were in the store and he began to cry and I signed EAT and so did he again and again he kept doing it. I gave him something to eat and he settled right away. Later he signed SLEEP while we were in the line up and I gave him his special blanket and he layed his head on it while I unloaded the groceries. It felt like I had a special power. It was amazing! I never looked back.
This is one of the main reasons I promote signing. I want every parent to feel like they have this special confident power and closeness with their child. It is wonderful!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Brian Tracy from his mind to my page...

His TOP 7 disciplines for high achievers~ Happy Monday!~

Goal Setting
Every morning, take 3 to 5 minutes to write out your top goals in the present tense. Get a spiral notebook for this purpose. By writing out your 10 goals at the beginning of each day, you will program them deep into your subconscious mind.

This daily goal writing will activate your mental powers. It will stimulate your mind and make you more alert. Throughout the day, you will see opportunities and possibilities to move more rapidly toward your goals.

Planning and Organizing
Take a few minutes, preferably the night before, to plan out every activity of the coming day. Always work from a list. Always think on paper. This is one of the most powerful and important disciplines of all for high performance.

Priority Setting
The essence of all time management, personal management, and life management is contained in your ability to set proper priorities and use of your time. This is essential for high performance.

Concentration on your Highest-Value Activities
Your ability to work single-mindedly on your most important task will contribute as much to your success as any other discipline you can develop.

Exercise and Proper Nutrition
Your health is more important than anything else. By disciplining yourself to exercise regularly and to eat carefully, you will promote the highest possible levels of health and fitness throughout your life.

Learning and Growth
Your mind is like a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.

Time for Important People in your Life
Relationships are everything. Be sure that in climbing the ladder of success, you do not find it leaning against the wrong building. Make time for your relationships every day, no matter how busy you get.

Action Exercise
These 7 disciplines will ensure that you perform at the highest level and get the greatest satisfaction and results from everything you do. Study these 7 disciplines and then make a plan for how you can incorporate each of them into your daily life.

Visit him at:

Or visit Sticky Hands Network and get your weekly motivational tid bits from a stay at home, work from home, mother of three.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Toddler Behaviours

I have been reading Jane Nelsen recently and I wanted to share the new wealth of knowledge from her amazing book, "Positive Discipline The First Three Years."

I am enjoying the chapter on understanding age-appropriate behaviour. She talks about knowing the difference between a child who is misbehaving and one who is exploring his world. It often gets frustrating for a child when their parents get in the way of their explorations.

I read about these two boys in the book: 
  • One boy who is allowed to 'make kitchen messes as the helper' and is allowed to work beside dad with his own smaller tools and help with projects. This will cause a mess or a slow a project down, but it does a very more important thing: it fosters trust and builds confidence within the child.
  • The other boy was stifled by his parents and often told to 'go play' or 'go watch tv' while they do the 'work and cooking' around the house. He was getting 'in they way and making a mess' often. He was brushed aside, told no or yelled at frequently. This teaches the child that it is safer to not have any big ideas or be helpful. It would take this child a longer time to feel safe to be curious or exploratory again.
When everyone is so busy all the time, we forget to slow down and foster our children's curiosity and 'teach' them how to help and be a part of the family. Sometimes it seems easier to have them out from under foot. But we would be doing such a disservice to our children if we didn't include them. Even at 17 months, you can include your babies to cook, clean, work, garden and play with you.

Having your children involved teaches:
  • your child to believe in themselves and their abilities
  • them learn how to problem solve and ask questions
  • that family works together and plays together
  • it's okay to make mistakes

For further toddler behaviour information check out this site for some quick and dirty questions and answers:

Good Luck with your little ones... remember, I'd would love to hear your comments and questions.

Some examples.
If you want your toddlers to clean up after themselves, make it fun...

  • pretend your an animal, like a lion, and your 'hunting' for toys to eat and bring back to the 'cave.'
  • put on a timer and have a 'race' to see how can put all the leggo in the bin before the buzzer sounds.
  • learn your colours at the same time or numbers and have them put only the 'red toys' away and then only the 'green toys' or only 5 toys and then only 4 toys and then 3 so on...
  • good ol' fashion bribery works too... a sticker or a treat for after you clean up, or you can see your show after your toys are in the box... lots of praise after helps too!

If you want your toddler to work in the garden, shed, kitchen with parents supervision...

  • have a small tool set and table beside yours so you work side by side
  • have them do the mixing, pouring or stirring in the kitchen, after your measure
  • have them put all the cutlery away after the dishwasher is done, fun sorting game too!
  • give them a part of the yard to dig holes for 'plants' 'seed's near you and show them how
  • let them put the seeds in, water, dig, whatever
  • have them paint with their 'water based paints' on their 'wodden project beside yours

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Classes Begin

Happy New Year,

Next Tuesdays class is being bumped one week. New start date is Jan. 17th.

Try It Special is now on!
Try any first class for $23 dollars! At the end of the class if you LOVED the class, then decide to sign up for the entire course or pay your $23 and call it a fun day.

Two classes begin Jan. 17th
Sign, Say and Play
9:15am - 10:15am - 1st timers (6 week course)
Bring your babies and learn sign through songs, dance, stories, and play. Socialize and bond with your baby while learning signs. Lots of fun!
Learn signs for Mealtime, Bedtime, Bathtime and more
$160 for the 6 week course.

More, Sign, Say and Play
1pm - 2pm - 2nd set of play classes. If you already attended the first 6 weeks and want MORE, MORE, MORE. This is your class.
Now learn safety signs, feelings, outdoors signs, zoo and farm animals signs and more.
Educational component to learn about your baby's emotional development.
$160 for the 6 week course.

Both courses include loads of FREE goodies to take home... signing DVD's, board books and more!
Ask me about $10 discount for having your friends join too!

Call me today to reserve your spot.
($20 non refundable preregistration fee applies)

Amanda Minchau | Baby Signs® Instructor
31544 Lombard Ave.  Abbotsford, BC   V2T6M6

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Raising Readers with Sign

As a signing parent and signing teacher I know the importance of early literacy skills in today's society. I want to raise my children to love reading. I want to raise my children to know how to 'research' or 'find' information on the websites, in libraries or in books. How many of you actually know how to find information or books at the library without going to the 'lady at the desk?' I know I even struggle finding what I need sometimes and it is easier to ask someone.

I challenge all of you out there reading this to raise your little readers well in 2012. Teach them to sign, introduce them to books as early as 2 months old. Teach them vocabulary through pretend play. Use the verbal word and sign together to build that vocabulary. Remember they can take whatever you dish out. So sign as much as you can, talk as much as you can and read to them, read to them, read to them.

Make a weekly library visit and each time, teach yourself how to use the computers and find out how they organize the books and DVD's etc. The more you learn, each time, the more of a library expert you will be.
Then, when your babies are old enough to ask you, where is a book on this or that. You have the answers.

Here are some tips on the BENEFITS of READING to your child.

1. Strong bonding relationship. Just like signing with your baby, reading together can help build a strong relationship with your child. Have a special spot in the house where can cuddle up with a good book or two. Remember, babies and children have short attention span, choose appropriate short books with rhymes, pictures and colour. It is NOT important that you finish each book, just explore and talk together is great too!
2. Increase academic aptitude. Reading is the fundamental tool that will help them learn every aspect in school, such as math, socials, sciences... after all if you can't read and write, how can you learn the other subjects? Teach your children reading is part of your everyday. When you read a magazine or newspaper, give them books too and say 'it's morning reading time.' Give them a bottle of milk, while you have your coffee... snuggle up with your blankie and give them theirs. Too cute!
3. Speech. Reading and Signing go hand in hand when it comes to teaching speech. The signs you show are symbols of words, just as letters are symbols of sounds. Your toddler will soon be signing words he knows in books and trying to 'babble' out the words "just like mom or dad does." They pretend read before they can actually read. These milestones are steps towards language development.
4. Better Communication. Your babies are gaining valuable communication skills through signing and reading. They follow their favourite characters in books and learn how to express themselves. Talk about feelings, emotions and how to positively show and express these. Especially for toddlers, if they have the signs to 'talk about feelings' they are less likely to have 'meltdowns.' There are many good books to read about emotions and feelings. Ask your local librarian.

One of my favourite feeling books is "The Way I Feel" by Janan Cain

A great link to Healthy Children Early Literacy... reading for babies 3 months to 24 months...