- Ben: Knock knock!
- Neil: Who's there?
- Ben: The Beatles.
- Neil: The Beatles who?
- Ben: The Beatles are glad you didn't say orange or banana!
Ben tells his own stories these days, usually variations on ones that we make up for him. Most of his stories lately have been about the Beatles. [I know, I know -- you all think we're overdoing the Beatles thing. But I swear, the kid is absolutely obsessed.] His favorite theme these days has been The Beatles Go To The Circus. Invariably, there are clowns with balloons, and it is John's birthday, so a clown comes over, announces this to the crowd, and gives John and the rest of the Beatles balloons. The only suspense lies in which color each Beatle will ask for. Most of the Beatles seem to favor black or brown baloons -- read into this whatever you like.
For most of the time that Ben has been obsessed with the Beatles (since he was about 15 months old), his favorite seemed to be John. Now he has settled on Ringo, in no small part because of the mind-bogglingly beautiful wooden drum that my father made for him for Christmas. His favorite album is Let It Be, and his favorite song is "Two of Us." He has also developed an unfortunate interest in the lyrics to "Maggie May." Actually, I don't know all the lyrics to "Maggie May," but I'm pretty sure they're not really appropriate for a two year old. This happens. I'm sure that some of their critics thought otherwise, but the Beatles weren't really writing for the preschool demographic, and more than once we've run into a detail or two that we just kinda gloss over. He can sing all of "All Together Now," and he thinks that the line "Can I take my friend to bed?" is about naptime. And he has absolutely no idea what Kinky Boot Beasts are (do you?), but I must admit that it's rather cute when he refers to them as "Pinky Binky Boot Beasts".
We celebrate both Hanukah and Christmas around here, and Ben was heavily into both this year. Every night of Hanukah, he solemnly undertook the important task of picking out the shamash; most nights, it was orange. [We had one of those modern multi-colored candle collections.] "Shamash" is not an easy word for anyone to say, let alone a 25 month old, but he made a brave stab at it. He also sings the dreidel song at breakneck speed, and correctly identifies each Hebrew letter on it. I'm not kidding. He freaked us out with this one night. Now, each character is a different color on our dreidel, and he might have just memorized the colors, but even so....
I just made a quick count, and I'm estimating that he knows upwards of 100 ASL signs by now, perhaps more. Receptively, not necessarily expressively. In fact, his attempts to make signs are usually pretty primitive. One of his favorites these days is "jungle". For one of our Signing Time playgroups, I taught the group how to sign the song "In the Jungle" (you know -- awimaweh, in the jungle, the lion sleeps tonight, and all that). So several times a week he'll turn to me and say, apropros of nothing, "This is the sign for jungle, Mommy!", and proceed to create trees along his arm and up to his shoulder. Apparently, his idea of a jungle involves lots and lots of foliage.
Ben rarely makes any signs while watching Signing Time DVDs. In fact, much of the time, he seems to tune in and out. When we encourage him to make signs, he actively resists it (but part of that is Being Two -- if Mommy and Daddy want it, that's as good a reason as any to reject it). But then, a couple of days later, out of nowhere, he'll make some of the signs, so clearly he's paying attention. Receptively, he has a much larger vocabulary -- as is typical -- and this is of course the more important skill area as far as we're concerned. When his equipment is off, he talks and we sign.