“I have a family full of people who love me
People who love me
They take care of me
And I know my family is unlike any other
Your family’s made for you
And mine is made for me.”
(From “In a House” by Rachel Coleman)
My kids adore certain music videos on Nick Jr. One that has special meaning for us is Rachel Coleman’s “In a House.” Please click the link to watch the video on NickJr.com (though you’ll have to watch a Dora ad first, natch).
Rachel Coleman is the mom/performer behind Signing Time, the set of musical DVDs that “In a House” comes from. Her older child, Leah, was born profoundly deaf, and her younger daughter was born premature with spina bifida and cerebral palsy (both girls, incidentally, have made amazing progress you can read about here). Rachel and her sister teamed up to create a short DVD to help their friends and family learn how to communicate in American Sign Language (ASL) with Leah. They wrote catchy tunes that incorporated visuals of grown-ups and kids communicating in (ASL). Very quickly, Signing Time got an overwhelming response not just from parents, educators, and health professionals who work with deaf or special needs kids, but also from parents of “typically developing” kids. And the media sure did notice Signing Time. Remember the baby who communicated in sign language in the sequal to “Meet the Parents”? The twins who played those babies learned ASL with Signing Time. And now, of course, Signing Time has made it to Nick Jr.
As I’ve written about here before, my son has a speech disorder called apraxia. He has made wonderful progress, but he still has a long way to go. Several months ago, I saw him laughing and signing and singing along to the “In a House” video on Nick Jr. It was the most I’d heard him sing before. I think the sign language component definitely helped him pair the sounds with the words. So I thank Rachel Coleman for creating this type of music. And we love “In a House” for another reason. The lyrics talk about the many people who make a house a “home”…mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunties, uncles, and cousins. As longtime readers know, I have been a single parent of two children for nearly 2 1/2 years now…since my daughter and son were ages 4 and 14 months, respectively. But in our house, there really is more than just the 3 of us. There is always the love, laughter, and hugs of many other people, including close friends and, most importantly, the same family members that Rachel Coleman sings about. Those same grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are very much a part of this home. And we couldn’t be more grateful.
I love that through Signing Time, Rachel Coleman reminds kids that some children- and some families- are “built” a little bit differently. Kudos to Nick Jr. for recognizing this talented and inspiring songstress. You can buy Signing Time DVDs here.