So you know how every language has its hilarious faux pas, leading to mortified teenagers who grow up with the same funny story to tell? In French, if you say "Je suis pleine," meaning literally "I am full," you have just announced that you are pregnant. Ha ha! Or in Spanish, similarly - "embarazada" means pregnant, not embarrassed, though you will certainly be blushing if you make that mistake.
Well, I just learned about one in sign language that tops those. I was at a "Babies in the Library" group (for the first time, and possibly the last, because: chaos! And the hormones that make me care about my baby crying don't work for other babies, so they're just loud and annoying) and we were learning to sign some stories and songs. We made it through "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" with no problems, but when we got to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," one of the women stopped the lady teaching us (who teaches baby sign, so oops - how embarazada for her! But this other woman works with deaf kids and actually uses ASL, so she wins). She was trying to be gentle about it, all "doesn't that have another meaning?" Blank response. She had to lay it out: "I'm pretty sure it means vagina."
There we were, more than a dozen men and women holding our thumbs and fingers together in a diamond shape, waving our vagina hands above our babies as we sang to them. It was fabulous.
It's true that baby signs are often simplified, because they can't quite manage the grownup version - just like when they talk, they simplify words - but that's a far cry from mixing up diamond and vagina. Although kind of funny if you think about all those ads for diamond rings being swapped out. They're irritating enough with their message that men can buy forgiveness and love because all women are so shallow that they only care about the bling. But now I'm getting sidetracked.
And yes, we are starting to use some basic signs with the boy, in the hopes that he'll learn to recognize them and start using them in a couple months. We'll see how it goes, but I'm all for expanding our communication.
Also, my title was kind of misleading, so here's how the new version of the song really goes:
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a vagina in the sky...
Try it, it's fun!