The beauty of sign language

Because my children are deaf, chances are they are going to be behind academically compared to non deaf children of their age. This is fine. One, because they are deaf. And two, because I didn’t have any academic aspirations for them anyway. I’m one of those ‘as long as they’re happy’ mothers.

However, saying that, I am about to be one of those ‘my child is a genius and much cleverer than anyone else’s child’ mothers. I am sorry and please bare with me.

Sign language is freaking awesome. Awesome because it allows my children to communicate. But also awesome because it would allow any child to communicate before they can speak. It’s as simple as the fact that the muscles in the hands and arms are bigger than the muscles in the mouth.

So, right now, Harriet’s friends are starting to speak. Except they aren’t. They are frustrated and cross and throwing tantrums left, right and centre. They have maybe one or two words. Harriet has over 20. Don’t get me wrong, she had no qualms about throwing herself on the floor and busting out a tantrum if it suits her. And she can point and whine with the best of them. But she can ask for food, or drink, she can name the animals in the park.

Right now, she’s ahead of the game and ahead of her peers.

And, while I’m only concerned that she’s happy, I’m also a little bit smug about how clever and capable she is. Sorry.

image

Harriet’s words:
Fish
Bird
Duck
Chicken
Dog
Horse
Pig
Cow
Cat
Come
Ready
Daddy
Bath
Sleep
Hello/ bye bye
Please / thank you
Eat / food
Train
Baby
William
Bottle
Mine
Apple

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200 days to go!

Shaun and I are getting married at the end of December. In Scotland. On the banks of a Loch. I have a big dress. Harriet has a big dress. The boys all have kilts. There will be flowers and candles and fancy wine and amazing food. It’s going to be a frigging fairytale.

Every hospital appointment ends with “do you have any questions?” Every time I ask the same thing “when will the operation be?” “What’s our time scale?” “Can you give me an idea of scheduling?”

Because you see, we’re getting married at the end of December.

And I want our kids to be there, in body and mind and sound.

I don’t want them to be recovering from a major operation. I don’t want them to still be at risk of infection. I don’t want them to be scared and unsure because they are still getting used to the new and different sounds they get with an implant.

I want them to be there. I want them to be happy. I don’t need them to be quiet, or still, or well behaved. But I need them to be there.

Because this wedding isn’t about me and Shaun. It isn’t about dresses and kilts and flowers and food and wine. It’s about me and Shaun and William and Harriet. It’s about being deaf and it’s about being hearing. It’s about surviving cancer. It’s about the baby we never got to know. It’s about broken bones and fallen ceilings.

It’s about survival.

It’s about strength.

It’s about family.

And it’s about love.

Where we are

This morning we are off to the hospital. The same hospital we’ve been to countless times. The familiar journey, familiar play room, familiar faces on reception and in the cafe.

But this morning is different. This morning we aren’t going to the audiology department. This morning we are going to the COCHLEAR IMPLANT department.

This is huge. And this is scary.

I’m trying to go about the morning’s usual chores of laundry and dishes and I keep randomly bursting into tears.

These are my babies. I don’t want people drilling into their heads. I don’t want them to have big magnets on the side of their heads. Mostly, I don’t want them to be scared.

But I want them to hear. And I want them to talk.

Even now, 3 years later, I am still surprised by all this. Deaf kids? Me? Now? What? Deaf kids? Genes? Syndrome? What?

This isn’t what I envisioned having children would be like – endless hospital appointments, endless heartache, endless surprises and endless, endless guilt.