Sign Language 101, Reinvented

We were at the mall the other day, which is somewhere the kids don't get to go often anymore. Back in the home schooling days, the kids went everywhere I did, of course, and we frequented the grocery store and the mall and anywhere else we could find to take ourselves. Mall trips became more sporadic when the kids were in school for the simple reason that we live so far away. Between the hours of the mall opening and the school bus dropping Micah off at the house, and then figuring in travel time, I had roughly 1.5 hours at the mall to enjoy myself and get all that I needed.

If you're a woman, feel free to laugh along with me.

So I ran to the mall when I absolutely needed something, because Micah couldn't be home alone. This year, however, he goes to school with his brothers, and that's pretty awesome in so many ways. Not the least of which is the fact that I can be  home any time I want after a shopping trip and it's all good. And then I started working, and my own social life just went kaput. While I have no deadlines on getting home, I have that daily work deadline keeping me at home and working. So the point of all this is that the kids don't get to the mall very often. Yesterday, we did. Gotta love the teacher in-service days, providing the family with a day off. And a weekend to work ahead so that I would have a day off as well.

So we walked around the mall, had lunch, let Micah play at the play area for a bit, waited for the electricity to come back on in the store where I found the super awesome deal on jeans for Micah (it never did happen), so we rounded up the kids and left the mall. Micah made a fist with his left hand and deliberately put that fist onto his right arm. Several times.

It's been verified that the boy makes up his own sign language. Trying to break his code is always a good time. NOT. I love that he's learning signs, of course. Speech is just not a decipherable language with him, so communication efforts need to be forged on both our ends. Except Mr. Stubborn won't use his talker as much as all that because other kids don't use one. And sign language is viewed the same. So why, then, does he make up his own signs? I've told him the sign for grandma (because he asks to go there almost every single day) but instead he insists on calling her Mom. (Every female authority figure in his life is named Mom, according to him.)

His creativity in coming up with signs has been astounding. There was that whole Red Box thing  that we finally figured out, and shortly after that he introduced us to his two index fingers crossed at the tip to make a triangle shape. We googled this sign, cross referenced in the ASL book that sign, asked friends, family, and school staff, and everyone looked back at us with the same blank expression. At the grocery store the other day, he made the sign again. I held out my hand and asked him to show me. I was led directly to the pizza freezer. We bought pizza that day. (Hey, you would have, too.)

So yesterday we were puzzling over the fist on the arm thing when we had a light bulb moment. It was pretty evident that a stamp was involved, and there was a Chuck E. Cheese in the vicinity. Micah knows this. He wanted to go to the House of Mouse.

We did not, for the record.

How genius is the boy to make up signs for himself? And how frustrating for us that we'll have to learn his sign language because he has no intention of learning ours?  Gosh, this kid. Good thing he's super cute.

1 comment:

Tara said...

Ugh! Eon does this, too, and I hate deciphering them! Yesterday, we played charades and he was the best actor in the family. I finally realized that, of course he's amazing at's his primary way of communication!