Hey, Athena! What’s your name in American Sign Language?

That’s right!

Well, almost right. The thumb should be in on the “e”. But Athena will sometimes write letters backwards, too. She four. She’s learning. It’s cool.

Athena’s ASL letter capacity comes courtesy of her preschool, which is teaching the kids the ASL alphabet and a couple of selected signs. I approve of this heartily for two main reasons: One, ASL is legitimately a second language (which is to say that it has its own grammar and rules), and so I’m happy to have her exposed to different ways to communicate. Two, because Athena likes to spell things out with ASL, she’s learning how to spell more words. So there you have it: Two educational birds killed with one stone.

And of course Athena knows how to milk it: Athena sprung her ASL spelling trick on Krissy by getting her attention and then spelling “mommy” and pointing to her. From that point forward in the evening Athena could have trashed the house like a rock star and Krissy wouldn’t have minded. She followed it up by coming over to me and flashing the “I love you” sign. Yeah, this kid is good.

An additional note to drive you other parents absolutely insane with rage: The fabulous preschool where they’re teaching our kid sign language and other useful skills, and which is staffed totally by people who either have advanced educational degrees or are working toward one?

$2 an hour.

Ah, country living.

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