There was a time when my son was right into trucks of any sort. He was about 20 months old when a little bit too much excitement occurred just before his nap. A large snowstorm had hit the night before so we had about 6 inches of fresh snow. My son napped at a regular time each day and it just so happened that they were clearing snow just be I was to put him down. My son would sign and say TRUCK over and over again, so we went to the window and watched the large grader plow the snow. It made a circle around and came back. Then the small sidewalk plow came by and cleared it. My son was abuzz. “Two” he would say, then TRUCKS and then SNOW. He was combining signs into sentences coupled with words. Then he signed and said (to the best he could) SMALL and BIG. He was having a conversation with me about what we were seeing.
This didn’t end at the window though, it continued into his nap. I put him down as I always did and from the baby monitor I could see that he was uneasy. It sounded as if he was tossing and turning in his crib. This wasn’t totally unusual, but it persisted so I went to check with him just to make sure nothing was wrong. I asked him if he was okay. The conversation continued! TRUCK, SNOW, BIG, SMALL and now he was talking about Mom getting picked up by her friend to go out! So he said “but-but” for car and “bye-bye” while waving. Over and over again, we talked about all the excitement.
I wonder what the conversation would have looked like without signs. Yes, he might have made it clear he was excited, but his combination of signs and words were very descriptive. By combining both, he was able to tell me, more or less, what he was thinking. He painted a wonderful portrait of his thoughts to me – much more than he could have done without signs.