Oh, the irony. Today is Wonderboy’s final speech therapy session before the summer break, and I have completely and totally lost my voice.
Not that I’m normally the one who does the talking during his sessions—but today there would have been a fair amount of summing-up chitchat between me and the speech therapist.
I guess she’ll get to be the one who sums up.
As for my boy, all I can say is thank goodness for sign language. The girls can hear my hoarse whispers but as far as Wonderboy’s hearing-aided ears are concerned, I’m just mouthing in silence. This is frustrating for him, because he is in the middle of a huge language explosion and wants to practice verbal speech all—the—time.
You know how it is with toddlers—practicing speech means they say something, and you repeat it back, and your part of the game is vastly important to them because it shows you know what they mean.
I was thinking about that, how important it is to human beings, from our earliest days, to be understood.
There’s a reason "you know?" and "know what I mean?" are common tags in our conversation.
There’s a reason St. Francis included "grant that I may never seek to be understood so much as to understand" in his famous prayer.
Even the baby has this desire. She is beginning to use sign language herself. When she signs something, and you understand and sign it back or say the word in English, her eyes light up; she beams. Your comprehension of her meaning delights her utterly.
It’s the same look on my boy’s face these days when I know that what he said was, "Daddy puts his phone in his pocket."
We are now going to be LATE for speech therapy because I’ve been sitting here overlong, writing. But I can’t tell the speech therapist today (because she doesn’t speak ASL) how excited I am that Wonderboy is so excited about saying sentences like the above.
And I am excited. It’s awesome, in the old sense of the word, to see him making these leaps of expression. And I had to share it with someone, you know?
Um, Yes, I’m Sure That’s What He Was Saying
A Fan Letter to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
The Speech Banana
It Must Be a Sign
Resources for Learning American Sign Language (ASL)