by: Mimi Brian Vance, Words by the Handful

Have you seen the adorable YouTube video of the chattering twins? They’ve got lots of adults watching…and chattering about whether or not they are communicating or just mimicking, what they might be “saying” to each other. One of the experts who has weighed in posits that they are ‘acting like’ they are talking as they approach the ability to talk.


I’ve had lots of experience with children who use signs (American Sign Language) before they can speak, and I have a different take on this. I think these two guys are reliving a memory. Something they’ve done or seen that had a big impression on them. Keep in mind, these guys are still ‘meeting’ the world, and there are some pretty impressive things in the world. Everything from animals, structures, colors, and noises, to oddities like hats and socks – all of which can be really funny and fascinating – even if you aren’t a toddler.

Twin-speak is a known phenomenon, and it has been the subject of a number of studies. I think it’s a huge advantage for non-signing babies of that age to have someone to share and interact with. Just like these guys are doing. With single babies, signs helps them interact with their parents, as well as other signing babies. They can ‘talk’ through their signs about things that they find fascinating, scary, and, yes, funny! And sometimes they really want to talk about experiences from weeks or even months ago.

One of the prominent bloggers I met last year at the Mom 2.0 conference told me her signing story. She had twins, and had decided that trying to take on, learn, and teach signing to her babies was just one thing she didn’t have time or energy for. She decided not to try signing with them. And then one day as she was watching them, she realized that they had developed their own nonverbal communication. They were successfully communicating, and she was left out. So she started teaching them signs that she could enjoy with them.

Wouldn’t you like to know what the little boys in this video saying? I would. These two guys are having a great time. Can’t you tell? Of course you can! There are plenty of non-verbal cues going on here for easy confirmation. I want to have as much fun as they’re having, but without some interpretation, I know I’m really missing the punch line. I wish they were throwing in some signs so we could have a hint!