When Elise Tate and husband Golden Tate decided to teach their then-9-month-old daughter sign language, they didn’t realize how impactful it would be upon the wide receiver’s trade from the Detroit Lions to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018.
“We literally got a call one day, and it was like, ‘You’re traded to Philly,’ and I remember I was standing at the top of the stairs, holding Londyn, and Golden called me … It was just the craziest, we were like, ‘Wait, what?’” Elise recently recalled to Page Six.
Tasked to pack up the family home, Elise — who was also pregnant at the time with the couple’s second child — was fortunate to have bridged the communication gap with her young daughter via sign language, following the suggestion from her mother, a former special education teacher.
“During that hectic time is when Londyn started really signing back to us,” Elise said of her daughter, who is now 2.
Elise TateCourtesy of Elise Tate
“She would sign me something like ‘diaper,’ and I would be like, ‘What?’ and try to find the box with the diapers, and this and that. And I was like, ‘Wow, instead of her screaming at me, she was literally able to tell me that,’” Elise continued.
When Elise documented Londyn’s progress on social media, she was met with inquries from followers, who also wanted to teach their children sign language. Unable to recommend a resource, Elise decided to craft her own.
“That’s how the book started,” Elise said of her book, “Sign Me Up for a Happy Home,” which includes 15 basic starter signs.
“I just started with a note sheet on my phone, and I started jotting down all this stuff that I wish was condensed into one easy starter resource and then over the months, it just kept flourishing,” she continued. “Londyn was truly able to communicate with me before she could talk.”
To help bring her vision to life, Elise enlisted Colleen Farrell as an expert consultant. Farrell is deaf and also holds a Master’s Degree in Deaf Studies: Sign Language Teaching.
Londyn, who is now a big sister to 1-year-old brother Golden Jr., has helped her younger sibling sign.
“She is extremely verbal, well-surpassed all of her milestones,” Elise said. “[Sign] has been the biggest game-changer in our family and I just wanted other moms to have the same little wins throughout the day.”
With another book on the way, Elise added that inclusivity will remain a key factor in the “Sign Me Up” series.
“My kids being biracial, it was so important for me to have kids of every ability and race in this book, so when you’re looking through the pages… it’s these little illustrations of kids of every race. There’s a little boy with Down syndrome, there’s another child in a wheelchair,” Elise said.
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, Elise said she’s proud to have had a book already published illustrating her family’s beliefs.
“It was something that was kind of instilled in me as I was growing up, cause my mom really taught us about diversity and inclusivity with intention as we were growing up, and so it just was second nature for inclusivity and diversity to be a huge part of the book,” she said.
With 2020 nearly in the rearview mirror, Elise said she and her loved ones had planned a “low-key” New Year’s Eve at home with family.
As for Golden, his New York Giants will battle the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday as the NFC East title race intensifies.