Signs Of The Times

Teaching your baby sign language may be a neat parlor trick, but is there any point?

There's nothing more fun to read than the faces of newborns. We pore over babies for signs of enchantment, enlightenment and intelligence. We project diva-size personalities and try to interpret every gurgle and gesture. We videotape incessantly, make them wear ridiculous hats and talk about their bodily functions in public.

But for many parents, projection isn't good enough. They have to know what little Tiffany or baby Joshua is thinking. And since preverbal children are, by definition, too young to talk, more and more parents are teaching their babies sign language--including one developed for the hearing impaired.

In theory, it makes...

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