Monday, 4 May 2020

Deaf motherhood: baby talk

This month, FFB has learnt that his voice can do more than just yell, giggle, screech and cry. He's learning that he can also make more distinct sounds. And he started with b.

We had two whole days of him concentrating so hard he almost went crosseyed to get his little mouth to form the right shape and then off he went with a flurry of b-b-b-b-bs and bobobobobobos and bubububububs.

He was thrilled. Beaming from ear to ear. He showed off his new skills proudly to Grammoo and Grandude on his nightly FaceTime catch up while he had his tea which resulted in me wearing quite a lot of his dinner as he b-b-b-b-blew it all over me.

First thing in the morning, if popped my hearing aids in and stood outside his door, I could hear his little low husky voice proclaiming 'Bobobobobobobobobobobob' as he wrangled his Jellycat bunnies.

Of course I am thrilled, but if I'm honest, I am also terrified about FFB talking.

I have written about my inability to hear children before, about how I worry if affects my relationships with them, how they naturally gravitate to others instead of me because I'm not able to interact with them as easily.

Now, that's just about dealable with if it's not your child. If you don't take it personally or dwell on it too much. But they idea of my own child gravitating towards others to speak to them instead of me, is less easy to deal with.

I think that's one of the reasons why I am really working on the Baby Sign with FFB. What's more FJM is working on it, too. So FFB has the both of us signing at him, so hopefully he will start to sign back - he already does milk very well. He beams when we sign 'well done' to him. He laughs at the sign for Daddy as it usually gets done with a silly face as well.

One bonus perhaps from my deafness however, is the ability to read body language really well and with FFB it's no different. Tired, hungry, cross, frustrated, angry, sheepish, happy, playful... I am getting better and better at spotting his moods without needing to hear the nuances of the sounds he makes. I know that when he flaps his arms and legs in the highchair at teatime, he's just passed the overtired mark and we need to do Numberblocks and bathtime sharpish to ensure he heads off to a happy peaceful sleep.

I know that when he crawls across the floor and head butts my leg repeatedly, he wants me to sit him up, and then usually shortly after that comes the sign for milk. He also uses that sign for more water at teatime.

When I have bad days - and lockdown is throwing up a whole new world of isolation in what was already quite an isolated world anyway - I have to remind myself of these things. Of the fact that I'm doing OK at this motherhood thing.

As FJM says 'How do you know you're doing OK? Just look at the result!'

And when I look at my happy, bright-eyed little boy crawling at top speed up the corridor, giggling because he knows I'm going to chase him, I know I'm doing alright.

Happy Monday peeps

DG
x

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