The last couple of months, Axel has been refusing to sign at home. We have no idea why, but are guessing it's because he's trying to "code switch". Meaning he's figuring out that at school everyone signs, because if you don't people don't have a clue what you're saying. At home people sign, but if you talk people can still understand you. (well, we can when you speak words, not Axelese.) It's been a source of many parent/child standoffs recently, and there have been times when Dean and I walk around carrying on fake conversations in our own fake babble language to get our point across. (this backfires when Axel makes up answers to our babbled questions by saying, "Sure" or "Ok!")
What we didn't know was we only needed to give him a brother.
Tonight Axel, Asher and I were on our way home and stopped at the gas station for dinner from the freezer section. (Yes, really. I'm so tired of not having a kitchen!) We were standing at the check out line when I turned to observe this instructional session between Axel and Asher. This is one of those times when I wished I had a video camera on my head and just needed a "record" button so I could share it with you. This conversation was all in sign combined with spoken words:
Picture: Axel standing next to me, Asher holding his hand. (not the other way around.)
Axel: signing in Asher's face "Asher. Asher. (frantically tapping Asher on the shoulder.) ASHER! "EAT" " Demonstrating the sign "eat" so that Asher will copy it. Asher didn't catch on so Axel took Asher's hand and put it to his mouth, "EAT. Your turn. EAT".
Asher: signed "eat".
Axel: "Asher. Go see Papa. Papa home. PAPA. Asher. See? PAPA"
Asher: did his version of "papa" which is a fisted hand on the back of his head.
Axel: "No. Asher. Papa" ( Axel carefully opened Asher's hand and placed it to his forehead to form the sign Papa.)
Asher: signed Papa.
Axel: Good work Asher. Good boy. Papa home. Go home see Papa.
I stood there the whole time at the register, watching this exchange, beaming from ear to ear. I'm sure those around me, if they couldn't see what was happening, were wondering why there was a tear running down my cheek.