I can't imagine how crazy-making it must be for my son to communicate.
He can't speak. He uses sign language, but it's hard for him to manipulate his fingers into the correct positions because his hands are so weak. Most people don't understand sign, so we often have to interpret for him. And then there's the 'Dodo factor' of his parents to contend with, when he's signing something perfectly, but for some bizarre reason we can't make it out.
This happened last night. Ben and I had been checking out computer games on Amazon.com. Later in the evening he told me there was another game he wanted to get. This took the form of a sign made over his nose.
I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the sign was. I was guessing all kinds of stupid things - any sign I knew was associated with the nose - like a desperate person playing charades. "Pig?" "Clown?" He continued to shake his head.
Then I asked if he could sign the letter the game started with, and he signed a perfect "F." Then followed the perfect "O" and the perfect "X."
"Fox," I screamed, like a mad person with the winning answer on a game show. "Spy fox!"
I was blown away that Ben was able to sign the letters.
"You wanted the Spy Fox game." He beamed and nodded.
But then I reverted back to my clumsy Dodo stance.
I'd forgotten what the sign for fox was, and I got it mixed up with wolf. So even though Ben had signed a perfect fox (which is the letter F circling your nose - see here), I told him: "Oh, fox, this is the sign for fox," and I made the sign for wolf, which looks like this - pulling your hand out from your nose and into a tip to indicate the wolf's pointy nose.
"Fox," I kept saying, all the while producing an over-the-top wolf sign.
He wasn't able to correct me, and I can only hope that in his mind he was chuckling at his crazy mother.
It wasn't until today, when I looked up the sign for fox online, that it hit me: Ben was signing the perfect fox sign. And there I was, saying wolf. Doh!