One of the things I have long lamented about Danny is how he just didn’t connect. Opening any kind of two way conversation – words, gestures, smiles, anything – was so hard. He just wanted to remain in his own world, and even when be wanted to come out, he didn’t know how.
Slowly, over the past months, that has been changing, and I feel like I’m finally getting to know my son past the tiny glimpses.
He sings, mimics gestures, acts coy, laughs, talks, writes… It’s amazing the child he has become. He babbles a lot, and sometimes I wish I listened more closely, because I know a lot of what he says has meaning even if I can’t decipher it. He called John “gaga” the other day, and for a kid who can’t form a /d/ sound, that’s just awesome.
He has learned the power of the phrase “I want,” and “my turn,” and pairs both with words all the time. He comes to me for needs, for wants, and most importantly for love. “Hug!” he says, throwing himself at me. He knows I’m here and cares – and not just because I provide food and milk.
At night, we sit at the chalk board in his room, sometimes with CIs on and sometimes not, and he amazes me. Having to be creative about communication – especially when he can’t hear, since his signing vocabulary is growing so slowly – I’ve started to write to him. He loves the written word, and it makes so much sense to him that I use it to reinforce along with encouraging him to express himself with it.
He loves to play a “game” where I give him words and he writes them, telling me a firm “no” when he doesn’t know how to write it.
At bed time, I scrub it off and put his schedule on the board: 1 story, 2 hug, 3 bed. At first it was just hug and bed, and with a little grin he added his own “hug” after bed on the list. Last night, after reading his current favorite – Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You? – he hopped up and grabbed the chalk. 4, he wrote, then studied the first line and, letter by letter, copied “story.” He didn’t know how to spell it on his own, but he knew what he wanted!
A year or two back, I had this image in my head of one day IMing and texting back and forth with Danny… I think that could easily come true, the way he is already learning to read and write. Now that we are connecting, he has found motivation to communicate, and he just might have finally found the method that will work for him.