My 8 year old daughter came to me super pleased with herself.
“Mom, I can do sign language! Wanna see?”
“Sure!” I say, getting stoked about how good this is going to be.
“Okay,” she warns, “but its super long.”
Um……..what is she planning to sign?
“Okay,” she says, walking into the pantry. “You know if you’re hungry and you want waffles and syrup and you don’t know how to say it? Well, to sign it, you just walk to the syrup. You point at it and tap the bottle a few times. Then you walk to the freezer and open the door where the frozen waffles are, and you pull out the box and show it to the person making it for you. Cool huh?”
I’m speechless. Why have I ignored my kid’s sign language skills for so long? I begin to think back, reminded of her 5 year old sister’s tantrum display just hours before...
Now I get it! Her 5 year old sister was on the floor, screaming and sobbing and throwing a huge fit over not being able to watch TV….That was sign language for ‘I’m really mad and I don’t like mommy.’ After all this time I have now realized how gifted my children are. They were born (each and every one of them) with automatic sign language ability! (Their first cry in the delivery room should have tipped me off….)
I now realize that I myself use sign language every day!
For example: when I’m on the phone, all my kids demand my attention at that moment. And they want it immediately. So, I shoo them off. (Pretty obvious, right?) But they follow!
Persistent little buggers….
I dart away, running down the hall- and they pursue! I’m so good at sign language, I don’t have to use my hands anymore to communicate. I look at my children, Duh, Double Duh, and Super Duh with facial expressions that read: ‘Leave mama alone, and just give me 2 minutes.’ That should be an obvious message to them as I escape down the hall.
Then it suddenly turns into a game of ‘Hide and Seek.’ (In this case, it’s ‘Hide and Flee’) I dash from their presence and lock my bedroom door with a trail of whiny kids following me. I hide in the closet for good measure, just in case the ‘Duh Sisters’ are master magicians and somehow unlock the door and start an immediate search. I think my sign language is crystal clear. I’m saying: “I’m purposely hiding from you. HeLL-LoOo….”
I stay camped in the closet for as long as I can. All the while I can hear my kids searching for me out in the hall, checking various rooms just in case they missed me…And the longer I wait, the stronger the urge grows that I have to use the bathroom. Soon this undeclared game of ‘Hide and Flee’ will turn into ‘Hide and Go Pee’….
Another sign I have mastered is when I head to the cupboard where all the good leftover Halloween candy is stashed. I take out the bag, tap it twice, reach in, and unwrap the candy bar and devour the chocolate. I practice that particular sign quite often…
What can I say? I’m a pro.
This particular sign takes a few times for the kiddos to get this technique mastered.
Gasp! (To interpret, this is a sign of 'WHAT THE....!!!!!")
No translation needed.
Let's move on to food signs....
Facial expressions are a big part of communicating sign...