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Baby Sign Language

Twin of the Week: Clementine – The girls are now 5-months-old, and although I’ve been tracking their developmental milestones, it’s too early to declare a winner. Penny has been outpacing Clemmy in the motor skills category, but Clemmy has been crushing Penny in the “baby talk.” She’s constantly babbling and cooing — and it’s friggin adorable — except for when she strikes up a conversation at 4:00am. Seriously — what’s so important that it can’t wait till morning? For better or worse, it’ll be another six months before she starts using words. In the mean time, I recently purchased a “Baby Sign Language” book. BSL lets babies, as young as six months old, communicate their needs rather than crying. Any day now, Clementine will be able to calmly express her needs rather than screaming like a pterodactyl.

“Daddy, what the heck are you doin’ with your hands?”

“I’m asking you if you’d like more milk.”

“You’re damn skippy! But why not just use your words, daddy?”

“Because I’m teaching you baby sign language.”

“Wait a second! Daddy, are you sayin’ there’s an entire language just for babies?”

“No, sweetie. It’s American Sign Language. ASL was created for people who can’t hear or speak.”

“Wait a second! Are you tellin’ me there’s another way of living — in which I don’t have to deal with Penny’s constant whining and crying?

“Yes, sweetie, but it’s not something you would ever wish for. Consider yourself blessed.”

“Yes, daddy, I get it. Song birds, thunderstorms, Led Zeppelin — that’s all dandy — but sometimes I just want to get away from it all.”

“Believe me, sweetie, I too appreciate the sound of silence. And, BTW, I also totally understand shaken baby syndrome.”

“Shaken what, daddy?”


“Hey daddy, what’s the sign for child abuse?”

“Gee, I dunno, sweetie — this book just has the essentials: milk, more, done, mom, dad, cat, dog.

“Daddy, I assume the needs of the hearing impaired extend beyond infantile desires. I want to learn it all!”

“Well, sweetie, I only know what’s in this book. You can learn all the signs you want when you’re older.”

“That’s not fair, daddy! Kids acquire language so much better than adults — I’m in my prime!”

“I’m sorry, sweetie — I don’t have the time to learn it all — let alone the skills to teach it to you.”

“How about this, daddy — my friend Olivia is learning Spanish from her Nanny.”

“That’s good for Olivia, sweetie. Would you like us to hire a Hispanic nanny?”

“No dummy — I want an ASL nanny!”

“Sweetie, ASL nannies are hard to come by — and need to be available for hearing impaired children.”

“Well, I think it’s time for a cultural shift, daddy. Everyone should learn ASL! Imagine how much better this world would be if we all paid more attention to body language.”

“You may have a point, sweetie. I could’ve spared myself a number of awkward dates if I had known anything about body language.”

“Daddy, you’re a simple man with simple plans.”

“Sweetie, I…”

“Hush, daddy. Do you see that kissing couple outside?”

“Of course, I see them all the time. Ugh! Happy couples are the worst! Here’s a good lesson sweetie: Never engage in PDA.”

“I agree, daddy — but that’s NOT a happy couple.”

“Huh!? Sweetie, are you blind?!”

“On the contrary, daddy — I’m seeing things for the first time. Look at her body language between the smooches. See her smile?”


“She’s only smiling with her mouth. A genuine smile affects the muscles of the face surrounding the eyes.”


“It’s fake! Her smile isn’t real, daddy. That poor woman is trapped in an abusive relationship.”

“Really, sweetie? That’s quite a leap of logic.”

“It’s not logic, daddy. Are you blind? That woman has a bruise under her right eye. It’s partially concealed with makeup, but it’s sooo obvious!”

“OMG! I see it! I mean, I totally didn’t see it before — but now it’s clear as day.”

“It’s ok, daddy. Visual perception is guided by our preconceived notions. You conceived them to be a happy couple, so you only looked for evidence to confirm your preconceived notion — it’s known as confirmation bias, daddy.”

“You’re right, sweetie. I can’t believe I was so blind to such obvious signs of abuse.”

“Well, now you know, daddy. And now we have to save her!”

“Sweetie, I don’t want to get involved. I’ve already got so much on my plate”

“I can’t believe you just said that! Didn’t you spend years helping victims of domestic violence?


“And who received an “unsung hero” award from a domestic violence shelter?”

“I did.”

“Damn straight, daddy!”

“Yes, but that was then — now I’m a humble standup comedian. My superhero days are over, sweetie.”

“I’m not asking you to climb back into your three-piece. Just make a police report — as a concerned citizen. Because you’re concerned, right daddy?”

“Ok, sweetie. I promise, I’ll do it tomorrow.”

“Daddy, your words give me hope… but your eyes suggest otherwise.”

“And what do my eyes say?”

“They say: I wish this annoying girl would just finish her milk bottle and go to bed, so that I could watch Westworld on HBO.”

“Gee whiz! My eyes say all that?”

“Hey daddy, I’ve got a sign for you: 

1 thought on “Baby Sign Language

  1. Another amazing wokedad chapter..and the cutest picture of Clementine…….Love, Estelle

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