Looking From The Inside Out

by Rebecca de Azevedo Overson, Editor-in-Chief

May 2008

OK, OK, so I am a little biased, being one of Rachel and Emilie’s sisters and all. On top of that, as the General Manager at Two Little Hands Productions from 2003-2006, I had the true privilege of connecting with so many of you. I am really quite blown away that my two crazy sisters could have ever created something so magnificent as Signing Time. Yet, I can’t imagine it any other way!

Having worked closely with every volume of Signing Time after 1, 2 and 3, I really got to know these shows inside and out. Part of my job was to take the editor’s final work, turn it into a “shelf-ready” product and release it to the public. And because I was part of the family, I could speak about Signing Time and my sister Rachel’s story from a personal vantage point. Sometimes I would attend conferences and speak about Signing Time (and even sing!) when Rachel was unavailable.

Then in September 2006, I had my first child and my whole view changed. My five sisters threw me a baby shower and you’ll never guess what Emilie and Rachel gave me ““ Baby Signing Time! We all had a good laugh about that. When my son Shawn was around three months old I was surprised to find myself having the same questions I used talk to customers about, “How early do I start signing? When will he sign back? Will this really work?” All that plus of course the high hopes I had for my son being able to appear in a future volume of Signing Time! (Oh my goodness, what was happening to me?!?!)

I get it, I really get it now. This stuff really works! Shawn signed back to me at only seven months old and was talking pretty clearly by 12 months. He is now 19 months old, speaks in full sentences, and knows nearly every sign on Volumes 1-13 and Baby Signing Time. We love the Lullaby CD; he sings “Who Has the Frog”; he knows “You are Very Special to Me” and fills in the words when I pause. He could recognize all the letters and numbers 1-10 in American Sign Language (ASL) by 12 months, and I did not teach him those ““ he learned TOTALLY from Signing Time! The Signing Time DVDs are the only children’s DVDs we have in our house. I loved them before, and now when I see how much my son loves them I understand why we all care so much about this “product.”

We were up at Rachel’s house one day and Baby Signing Time was on. Of course Shawn was riveted to the screen, and then Rachel went into her room and got her orange sweater. She put it on and sat in front of Shawn and signed along. He looked very confused. How could the lady on the TV be right in front of him? And what happened to my Aunt Rachel? Maybe that’s what Clark Kent’s friends felt when Superman would suddenly appear. I still don’t think he knows that the Rachel on TV is the same Rachel that lives at his cousins Leah and Lucy’s house!

Perhaps the thing I love most is seeing my husband sing and sign along with Shawn. It’s very sweet. When my husband is putting Shawn to bed, I can often hear him singing lullabies from Signing Time through the baby monitor.

My neighbors, friends, and in-laws are blown away by Shawn’s signing and verbal abilities. Even strangers at the park are amazed at how advanced his vocabulary is, which I attribute to signing. (My family, of course, is not surprised at all!)

I am so proud to be a part of this amazing family; my family of origin, my own little family and now the great big Signing Time family of which you are all a part!