Show me a sign

14 03 2007

We’ve been teaching Ethan to use sign language since he was about 8 months old. He didn’t actually begin using any of the signs until he was about 11 or 12 months old, I think… I don’t know, its all kind of foggy, and of course I didn’t do anything crazy like write it down in his baby book. But we stuck with it and once he grasped the fact that he could communicate with us, he began making up his own signs.

For “cold,” he hugs his arms around himself as if to say “brrr!” And for “eye-wateringly toxic smell that could kill something already dead,” he waves his hand in front of his nose. But my favorite sign is “beard,” wherein he places his hand over his mouth and chin. The first time he used this sign we were at Potomac Mills, and I had absolutely no clue what he was trying to tell me. “You have to vomit? Your lips are chapped? You’re an Indian? WHAT?” But when we passed a man who I’m sure had to be Santa’s slightly thinner brother for the third time, and Ethan made the same gesture yet again, also for the third time, I finally put one and one together (why did I want to write “two and two together” just there? Clearly that wouldn’t be accurate; is that another one of those common mistakes we “English speakers” make?) and figured it out. It was also at this time that I realized that Ethan is slightly more intelligent than I (no surprise, considering I am, after all, the person whose biggest responsibility in life at the moment is wiping someone else’s bottom).

404769672_966509aa70_m.jpgEthan took his creative signing a step further (farther? I’ll just go check… Yep, further, I was right; I like this site– thanks, Doug!) a few days ago, when we were at our last swim class. We were standing next to the water, psyching ourselves up to just do it already, stick a toe in! (My strategy– “I’ll do it if you do it, Ethan…”– didn’t work; that water was freaking Cold!) And then Ethan started signing “beard.” I looked around, doubtful, since half of the people you find at a rec center pool at 10:30 on a weekday morning are usually stay at home moms, the other half being much older women who are there for their water aerobics class. I was preparing myself to look at an unfortunate old woman with a VERY noticeable excess of facial hair, when I saw him. He didn’t have a beard, but he did sport the World’s Hairriest Chest. And Arms. And Legs, Cankles, Back and Shoulders. Hair everywhere BUT on his face. Apparently the sign for “beard” and the sign for “frightening hairy Monster” are one in the same.


Countdown to Hawaii: 7 days!



One response

20 03 2007
Mom A

You are doing such an awesome job as Ethan’s Mom. I so enjoy hearing the experiences you encounter along the way. Thank you for taking the time to share them with us.

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