Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Obama signs

We never planned to teach Joris sign language beyond "more" and "all done", but, as I mentioned earlier, it just kind of evolved. The signs often are approximations of the real signs, like toddler speech is often an approximation of the words they're trying to communicate.

Just the last week or so, Joris has become increasingly creative in making up signs and communicating with more than one sign and/or sound.

Today, when I got home from work I discovered he now has a sign for motor cycle. He throws his clenched fists out in front of him in kind of a frantic move while saying something close to "vroom". It really is hilarious.

The other day, we were watching Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the convention and Joris was still up because he had experienced nap failure that afternoon and ended up taking a very late nap. He'd point at Barack and we'd tell him "Obama!". He has actually been able to identify Obama in magazine pictures for months - a leftover from when we were trying to get "Obama" to be his first word. So, this past Thursday, after pointing at Obama for a while, he starts putting both his hands on the side of his face, similar to his "Oh, my!" sign, but definitely distinct. We think it was in imitation of the Time front page picture of Obama holding his head in his hand. "What?" we asked him. He points at Obama. "Obama?" He repeats the sign. I have to say it was a proud moment for all of us.

This morning we had the following conversation;
Joris hands me the remote control and makes the sign for cat.
"I'm sorry sweetie, the cheetah DVD went back to the library. No cats."
He puts his hands up in the air questioningly [gone?].
"Yes, the cheetah's are gone. We can watch penguins or whales, though."
[Obama]
"You want to see Obama?"
"Ja" Points at tv.
"We can see if we can find Obama. Let's take a look."

It's six o'clock in the morning and Obama is not on any of our 5 channels. The traffic report is, though.

[Truck]
"Yup, there's a truck."
[Car. Truck.]
"Lots of cars and trucks. People are going to work."

I turn the TV off.

[Cat. Gone.]
"No cats"
[Obama. Gone.]
"No Obama"
[Truck]
"Yes, we saw trucks on TV".
[Car]
"And cars, too."

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