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  • Writer's picture Jana

A Poolside Revelation: Teaching my Kids Sign Language!

On Saturday morning we were out at the pool swimming, in the backyard. The kids were in the pool and I was attempting to read my book. I say, "attempting," because the yelling going on in the pool was deafening, making it impossible for me to concentrate on my book.

At first I tried to tune it out. That didn't work. Then I tried yelling at everyone to stop yelling. That didn't work. Then I had the worst offenders take a time out, hoping they would learn a lesson and quiet down. That didn't work. Then I rattled off (in as stern a voice as I could muster up) an impromptu list of pool rules for them to follow:

  1. Do not jump off the side of the pool onto inter-tubes which will lead you to falling backward and cracking your head open on the side of the pool.

  2. (Garin), do not set up pool games with rules so intricate that no one understands them and then strong-arm everyone in to playing, despite their adamant protests to the contrary.

  3. When someone asks you to stop doing something, like stealing their inter-tube, stop! Do not persist in the offending activity, because that only leads to more whining, fighting and insufferable levels of noise.

  4. Do not hold people underwater attempting to drown them.

  5. Do not call out "Mommy" every 10 seconds and ask her to look at and applaud every new use you find for your inter-tube.

  6. Please allow Mommy a modicum of peace and quiet, thus giving her a chance to to enjoy her time by the pool as well.

That did not work. They didn't follow any of the rules.

Finally, I got up and took my book inside (where I could watch them, but not hear them as loudly) in search of peace.

I recall that in one moment of desperation, before heading in, I heard myself yell out that they should learn sign language so that they could communicate with each other in silence. I am not sure where this brilliant idea came from, but it must have been from a higher power. If they became fluent in sign language, they could play their loud pool games in silence. They could whine at each other in silence. They could bicker over someone stealing someone else's inter-tube, in silence. Who knows, perhaps they could even learn to play Marco Polo in silence (although even I admit that might be challenging).

I am not sure I will be able to find sign language lessons, nor get them fluent over the summer, but it might be worth a try? The alternative is to read the same paragraph of my book over and over, for the rest of the summer.

In an act of loving kindness, I bought the kids these new inter-tubes from Target this week. No good deed goes unpunished, as the saying goes.

Graham stayed out of fray, with his book, in the shade.

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