QOTD: now with ASL!

It’s time for me to transcribe the kid quotes saved in my notepad app into the Quote of the Day journal, and this edition includes some fascinating American Sign Language quotes from June! Here are the highlights from the first quarter of this year.


Rowan is on track to outpace Greg and me on computer and phone app skills pretty soon. He’s fascinated by computer commands. One day he was watching June crawl around in the mini ball pit we had set up in the living room. After a moment, Rowan told her, “When you want to get out, press the home button.”


While driving somewhere with Rowan, Greg asked the car’s voice command system to play songs from his library.

“There are no phones set up to play music,” the car responded.

“Did she knock all the phones down?” Rowan asked.


Rowan discovered a letter opener in the kitchen, so I explained that it’s for opening letters. Several days later he asked if he could open “the letter A” with the tool that has a pointy beak.


Shortly after entering the “why” phase, Rowan asked why God loves him.

“Because He made you,” I said.

Rowan: “Why’d He make me?”

“Because He loves you. Wait, well, that’s circular, isn’t it. Well little dude why do you think God made you?” I asked

“Because it’s a beautiful day,” he replied.


I accidentally spilled some milk from Rowan’s lunch in the car. After several rounds of Rowan asking “why” that happened, I said I’d have to try harder next time to not spill.

“Don’t try harder two times,” he said. “Then do it right.”


Grandma to Rowan: “I thought you said you wanted the other thing. Did you change your mind?

Rowan looked puzzled and alarmed. “Do you have my mind?” he asked. “Do I have your mind? Can I have my mind back?”


I had to set June down briefly to carry items between rooms, and she began wailing and asking to be picked up. I continued at my task, and Rowan patted June sweetly on the head.

“It’s ok, June. Sometimes Mama doesn’t come.”
(You’d think my kids were plucked from the pages of a Dickens novel…)


In the last month, June has picked up a ton of signs from Greg, Rowan, and me plus watching Signing Time. One morning I was watching the video baby monitor, trying to assess if June was still trying to sleep in or if she was ready to start the day. She was rubbing her face and tossing around like when she’s trying to return to sleep, but I also saw her signing. I caught signs for “eat,” “surprised,” and “more.” I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I even scanned the room to see if she was signing to someone. Then I finally realized….SHE’S BABBLING. In sign language. And trying to get herself back to sleep.


June loves playing with the dog bowls, but she’s not allowed to play with the dog food. So she has to wait for the dogs to finish their meal. As usual, Tracy was taking her time. So finally June sat down beside Tracy’s bowl, signed “all done!” and placed Saharas empty bowl on top of Tracy’s half eaten breakfast.


June discovered Rowan’s awesome crocodile puppet, and I was making it talk to her. I couldn’t resist playfully “gobbling” her hands a few times, which made her look a little hesitantly at this new creature.

“It’s ok,” I said and I held the puppet out to her and petted it.

She pet it as well and signed, “Dog?” to me quizzically.*

“No, it’s not a dog, but I don’t know how to sign crocodile. It’s a croc-o-dile,” I said, as if that helped clarify anything.


This last one isn’t a kid quote, but I’ve been laughing uncontrollably about it for two weeks. I recently got my first professional massage ever, courtesy of a Christmas gift card. When Greg asked me how it was, I said it was interesting and that I tried to figure out what she did to target each specific muscle.

“Like, she used her forearms a lot,” I said.

“Wow, she must be a good masseuse if she has four arms,” he said.


End quotes, begin: nerd rant

*Language development is FASCINATING- a few of my psych courses touched on it- but acquisition of a signed language has unique additional layers. What I think is so interesting about this interaction is that it’s a piece of the incredibly complex puzzle that a child puts together during their first years of language development in which they learn through trial and error whether a word that they associate with an object is a noun or a descriptor, and how broadly that word applies to other things. If June saw a crocodile in the wild, the first word I might say to her in regard to it is “dangerous.” Or if a crocodile showed up in a colors book, I might point to it and say, “green.” Or, in the example I quoted from, I clumsily explained that this crocodile isn’t “real,” it’s a “puppet.” Over time, at this young age, she would eventually reason that a crocodile is not called “a dangerous” or “a green,” but rather it is called a crocodile and has the attributes “dangerous” and “green.” She’ll learn that the descriptors “dangerous” and “green” apply to broad, disparate sets of nouns, whereas things in categories like “reptiles” and “puppets” have more apparent similarities. She’ll learn that a “crocodile” is not a “dog,” but they are both “animals.” And this detailed process is repeated a thousand times over for each noun she learns. /nerd rant

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