We treated ourselves to McDonald's for dinner last night, (okay, it was more like I didn't plan anything for dinner and was getting home from my class at 6pm, but the kids saw it as a treat) and Owen immediately spots the Shrek cut out board and tells me in sign "Gorilla" while doing his best gorilla noise. It takes me a second to identify what he is talking about and when I put it together I tell him I can see how he might think Shrek looks kinda like a gorilla. Next, he goes on to point out the dog in the picture. Nope, there's no dog. I don't know the donkey character's name, but that's who he was referring to. Now I know another good signing opportunity. Last night would not have been a good opportunity because I had money in one hand, Owen in the other and two other kids to keep from bickering while waiting to place our order. Amberly, however, took the queue and started telling Owen that a donkey says "HEEE-HAAAW" with an exaggeration that made me proud (for those of you that take my classes, you know I love to draw out the animal sounds and make it sound as authentic as possible). Owen paid her no mind really because he was still intrigued by the green gorilla, I mean, Shrek.
This morning I was searching through the on demand kids movies on Starz and when the picture came up for Monsters Inc. Owen signed "gorilla" again! He has identified a certain look of a character that is not an animal to most closely resemble a gorilla. I get it! This signing thing really shows me how each of my childrens' minds work, it is as if I get to see the wheels spinning in their mind. Baby Sign Language, I LOVE IT! So, I'm busy showing him MONSTER and he looks at me with that questioning look and signs gorilla again. It will take a few demonstrations and good signing opportunities to present themself, but he'll get it. The reason why to demonstrate as many signs as you know to your baby at this age? So they don't beat you to the punch and categorize an object themselves and you have to re-work their thinking. This often happens with babies making up their own signs and then it is harder for us to figure out what the sign means. I'm just glad Owen likes gorillas so much and saw the resemblence and I could put it altogether to know what he was talking about. Pretty soon though he'll be signing for things out of context as he becomes more conversational and the object is not actually present. He's got at least a hundred signs, but for the conversational milestone that is just around the corner I need to keep up on his quick learning curve!