Technically, I gave Peeper “credit” for signing both “please” and “thank you” a little more than a couple of weeks ago – before she turned eighteen months old – but in the past week or so, she’s really started using them a lot, even spontaneously.
I’m pretty sure she thinks that “please” is a magic sign that makes us do whatever she wants (much like “more” was when she first started signing) because she will not only tack it onto a request, but will sometimes just sign it all by itself.
I’m trying to be careful, when she’s signing or saying what she wants, to prompt her to sign please by saying “Goody, please” or “Outside, please” rather than just “Say please” – or, as I had gotten in the habit of saying when she was trying to pull my shirt up, “Sign it, please,” – so that she doesn’t think it’s a substitute for all those other words and signs!
I have noticed that, more and more, she’s pulling at my shirt and signing please, rather than signing “milk,” so I’m trying to remember to say “Sign ‘goody, please'” and waiting to see the “milk” sign.
She’s also using “thank you” quite consistently when prompted – either “Tell the lady ‘thank you'” or if we tell her “thank you,” or even if she hears us tell someone else “thank you.”
I think I’ve seen her spontaneously sign “thank you” a couple of times, but it’s hard to be sure, because it’s a pretty sloppy sign. (Well, most of them are, to be honest.)
The actual sign is a flat hand, touching the fingertips to the chin, and then moving down in an arc.
She skips the whole chin and arc thing, and just holds her arm and hand out in the ending position. It looks sort of like a one-handed shrug, or as if she expects you to put something in her hand. But we know what it means.
Please is supposed to be an open hand moving in a circle on the chest, but she just draws a line across her chest. Sometimes she does it with both hands at once.
I guess that means “pretty please, with sugar on top.”