December 22, 2010

My Unfortunate Introduction to "Sign Language"

I was six years old riding the school bus home one afternoon. I sat in the back with the older kids, a thirteen year old girl with curly blond hair and pink framed glasses and a boy of similar age with his dark hair neatly parted to the side. There were a few other kids on the bus, but I only remembered these two, because they were the "big kids."

The girl turned to me and said, "Now listen up. I am going to teach you sign language."

I sat up and leaned towards her. I was happy that she was talking to me; a little kindergartner nobody. I was interested in what she will show me.

"This means I love you," she said as she put her hand up and made the gesture. I had never seen it before. It looked really cool.

I put my little hand up and copied her hand shape. "Like this?" I asked.

"Perfect," she said breaking out in a big smile.

I was so proud of myself!

Meanwhile, the boy looked appalled. "No! Don't do that!" he exclaimed. He shook his head and looked at me with his pleading eyes, "It is a bad word!"

"Ah, don't listen to him! It is a nice word. He's just joking around," she assured me.

I believed her and squeaked, "I'll have to show my mommy!"

The girl laughed and adjusted her glasses, "Yes! She'll love it!" Then she started laughing again for some reason.

The boy continued shaking his head and muttered, "That is very bad."

Why should I listen to him anyway? He's a boy. Girls are supposed to be nice. He was probably jealous.

When we got to my stop, I hopped off the bus and ran up the driveway to my house. I was eager to show my mom this new sign! I ran into the side door into the kitchen where my mom was waiting for me. She smiled and asked how school was.

I yelled, "I have something to show you!"

Immediately I gave her the finger, waving it in her face. (Oh dear!)

My mom's smile immediately went away and she gasped. 

I kept giving her the finger proclaiming, "It means I love you!"

She left the kitchen in disgust.

Confused, I followed her asking, "What's wrong mom?"

My older sister who saw the whole thing, was in the other room snickering. When I found out what it meant, I was horrified. I couldn't believe I did that to my mother!! I never talked to that awful girl on the bus again.

I wasn't ready to be with the big kids yet.



  1. OMG!!!!! You, too?!? When I was in oral deaf school, girls dorm...between hallway there was two rooms which was one for older girls and other was for little girls. I was on little girl side. We, little girls hung around in the large hallway while older girls came out of the large room. One girl showed me the 'sign'. Next morning, after reading for my first grade teacher, all of sudden I flipped my very first 'birdie'. My teacher nearly had a reaction but regained her composure after realizing that I didn't know what it was. She asked me if I know what that is. I shrugged and shook my head. She said it's bad, bad and I shouldn't use it. Of course I didn't use it till I turned 11 or 12 after learning what it was.

  2. LOL. I would love to see what your teacher's expression must have looked like!


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