Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The constant talking phase

When Julia was diagnosed with hearing loss, those close to me tried to pull me out of my devastation by saying, "some day, you'll beg her to be quiet." I would smile, nod, try to suppress the lump in my throat and pray that they were right. They were and I wish they'd have offered some tactful advice on initiating some quiet time.

In a few days, Julia will have had her hearing aids for 18 months. A short while ago, I was calculating her "length of utterance" to see if she was using three word sentences. Now we have trouble having on an adult conversation during her waking hours.

She has something to say about everything. She has no internal monologue. She has been in bed for forty-five minutes and she still hasn't stopped talking.

During the day we chat about everything. I do nothing but pay attention to her for the majority of our time together, there's no need to have her stop talking. I've given up luxuries such as having a moment to think my own thoughts.

My husband gets home and I get the distinct impression he might like to say something. This is because he often tries to speak. Julia barrels right on, she needs fifteen different questions pertaining to the plot of Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame answered. "Daddy is trying to tell me something, you have to wait," I tell her. Her sad little face looks like someone just shot our dog.

It seems hopeless in the daily grind that she'll someday be able to modulate her talking. Then I remind myself of the tiny signs of growth in this area: that she doesn't interrupt when I'm reading stories to her, that she can wait while Daddy tells his story. Someday I'll be begging her to tell me what she's thinking. Moments of silence are coming soon!

One thing I've gained from parenting a hearing impaired kid is a supreme appreciation of her speech. We waited such a long time for her to sing us a song or tell us a story, every word she says (and there are so many) is that much more special.

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