This afternoon, I called Evelin after Celeste and I had a short hike in Greenbelt Park to let her know that I was preparing a bottle for the girl. Evelin asked if I'd seen Celeste clap yet. I hadn't, but I soon would.
Evelin wasn't sure if the clapping, which just started today, was Celeste's attempt to sign MORE or if it was just a fun thing for her to do. For a while now, she's like to watch us clap (either just to praise her or to keep rhythm with a song or for fun or as part of a "Here we go Red Sox!" chant) and about a month or so ago, she started putting her hands over my or Evelin's clapping hands to "force" us to clap, but today she started clapping all on her own.
The question of whether this is language or expression is still out. The first claps I saw where right after I got off the phone with Evelin and signed MILK to Celeste to see if she was hungry. She started clapping. I immediately called Evelin back, and she proffered that the clap might be Celeste's MORE sign and that she'd sign it before she's had anything because she knows more food follows the MORE sign.
The next big round of clapping came when I brought the bottle into her field of vision. And there was more as she pulled away from the bottle while feeding. This was looking like language.
But, later in the afternoon, she was clapping while playing with some of her toys. The clapping didn't seem to fit the MORE context, but I can't read her mind, maybe she was trying to tell the rubber duckie to get back into the cup so she could dump him out again.
There was other random clapping including a clap-fest where she started clapping, I'd clap back and then she'd clap some more. So the jury is still out; probably there are elements of both language and clapping here.