When the Fab Four dropped their morning nap a few months ago, I started showing them sign language videos in the late morning to keep them happy until lunchtime. I had halfheartedly tried to teach them signs prior to this, but demonstrating the sign and then helping the kids to do the sign—four times—every time I said the word I wanted them to learn was just too difficult to do consistently. So I gave up. Once we started watching the videos regularly, however, the kids rapidly picked up signs on their own—all I had to do was watch the videos with them a couple of times to learn the signs myself. Sweet!
Being able to communicate with the kids in this way has been thrilling, and I am constantly surprised at the things they are noticing in their environment. If they did not know signs, for example, I would have no idea that they sometimes hear a dog barking in the distance, or that all of them are obsessed with cars, or that they are often dying to wear shoes indoors. Among many other things, they can also ask for food, tell me when they're thirsty, and let me know when they're full. I love it!
The challenge is that not all of the kids necessarily make the same sign in the same way—or in any way similar to what we learned on the video. Sometimes, in fact, I can only differentiate signs based on the sounds the kids make along with their gesture of choice, or based on the context in which they are making the gesture. I guess it's their way of making sure I'm paying attention! Check out this clip, and you'll see what I mean: