I have been taking baby A to sing and sign classes since he was tiny - he was about two months old when we started...I think. I can't really remember now, the first twelve weeks were a bit of a blur but I'm pretty sure we left the house occasionally.
Sing and Sign with Shell is the highlight of A's week. He knows when Jessie Cat is about to leap out of her box and barely manages to hold it together as she makes her way around the class for cuddles. For some reason we are always the wrong end of the classroom - I should get my act together and sit us in prime puppet territory. We did some intense peek-a-boo training early on so that he could cope with his beloved stuffed feline toying with his emotions. The first time Jessie Cat went back into her box for peek-a-boo my boy was in a glass case of emotion (much to the amusement of the rest of the class). I don't know what the Sing and Sign mascot is stuffed with but he doesn't feel nearly as strongly about any of his own toys!
It's not just baby A who loves the cat, knows the songs and goes mad for a maracas, Sing and Sign is captivating from the very beginning. From the little tiddlers laying stock still, watching you sing to them in term one to them suddenly commando crawling towards the bag of instruments in stage two and then running around to help tidy up (there's a tidy up song that I hope will work as well at home as it does in Shell's class) in stage three.
When your baby uses a sign for the first time its mind blowing. Your tiny person is communicating with you - without crying! For us the first (and only) sign was for "milk", his tiny first opening and closing in a frenzy at the sight of his bottle and he'd sign-babble, if that's a thing, whilst downing his drink. He still signs 'milk' whenever he is hungry, happy or excited...milk, milk, milk, MILK! I think he's a tad lazy though as it's clear he understands other signs but he feels it necessary to only respond with milk.
I was desperate to capture my baby's delight during our sign and sign classes so that I could show his Dad and preserve these fleeting moments for me. I would often get my phone out to snap a quick picture of him loosing his **** if front of Jessie Cat. Other parents would do the same but the photos never came out that well and this is a class for us both - I can sign the entire farmyard and I'm quite proud of my 'elephant' sign too (it's a cross continental farmyard/savannah!).
When Shell suggested coming into her classes once a term to take photos for her parents I jumped at the chance. It's an opportunity to capture the shared joy of her fun packed classes and to record some beautiful and wholly natural moments between baby and mum or dad. It's a chance to capture these special moments for parents. Something to look back on when the time comes for classes to stop being a shared activity and you are left standing at the school gate. Judging by how quickly the last year has gone I'll be at that gate before I know it. Sounds bit ominous but you know what I mean!
If you are interested in Sign and Sign classes take a look at Shell's Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/singandsignbaby or www.singandsign.com.
I'm Helen and my passion for photography began in-front of the lens. No, I wasn't a model - far from it! This is me with Spot-the-dog when I was about 3. I love this picture but as a teenager I endured formal family portraits that still seem to make it back onto my parent's shelf (despite my numerous sabotage attempts). I now channel my creativity into creating pictures that every member of the family wants on display!