Recently while eating in a restaurant, our waiter came to the table to ask us how our meal was and if we needed anything. When he left, Owen waved to him and signed "dad". I was a little confused so I asked him if he wanted his Dad. He shook his head and kept on eating his meal. The same thing happened at a store when he was waving to the cashier, except he signed "Bye, mom", as the cashier was a woman.
So Solito and I started watching to see if he was doing this all the time when addressing strangers that we come into contact with. We watched for about a week or so and figured out that he was identifying people based on their gender. The kid knows what it means to be a man or a woman AND he was using dad and mom as identifiers for them! Go figure!
Well I hopped online to Baby Sign Language to see what the signs are for man and woman and have been using them with Owen for the last month each time we encounter someone to say hi or goodbye to while out and about. He's got it down and does it without prompting now. I suspect he's known the difference in gender for awhile, but is now trying to communicate it on his own. And that is pretty darn cool!