A few years ago my wife and I saw some TV show with some wonder infant performing miraculous sign language with his parents about the macro-politics of global oil...or something similar to that like asking for milk. Of course we were impressed and did what any parent-to be would do. We bought into it, and the books, and the flash cards. Fast forward to present days--
We've been teaching our daughter this stuff for some time now. She's 9 months and we've cut down the expectations from 60 learned gestures to just 3 - Milk, More, and Eat. We think she's doing "More", or just simply dropping things out of her hand. We do understand her version of signing- like when she tells us she doesn't want more of anything...she swipes her arm across the high-chair table, things fall to the floor and then cries/whines a little. Or when she's done eating, she turns her head, clenches her lips and whimpers. Or when she wants to eat, she'll open her mouth when we eat.
My conclusion, maybe each baby has its own version of visual cues. As for that baby we saw on TV awhile back. I’m convinced she was actually a 60-year-old hippy midget woman with lots of makeup, because no baby can do that. I guess I won't be having any NPR sign language discussions on the sound differences of the viola and cello anytime soon. I’m a horrible parent.