I have been trying to write a post for a while now about Will's speech. Or lack of, rather. He still doesn't have any words and it's taking it's toll on me. Since he started wearing his hearing aids consistently he has come so far and the difference when he has them in is breathtaking.
But we have stalled. Predictably, I guess. Nothing can continue along that steep trajectory of progress. He has more sounds than before. And more listening skills. More understanding. More signing. All so very positive but my heart longs for a word. Just one word.
We work so hard, every day. Repeating, playing, reading. Nothing.
Today we went to deaf playgroup. It was much better than the previous time. There was a new boy there that William took quite a shine to. They played beautifully together around the toy kitchen and then with some jigsaws. One of the jigsaws was animals, an area where Will's signing excels. He was showing each animal to the other boy and telling him what it was, through sign. Horse, giraffe, elephant. Monkey, dog, alligator.
The professionals that run the group were so excited that of course my heart swelled with joy and with pride. My baby, not only communicating but teaching.
We decided from the beginning to sign with Will and always knew he would sign before he spoke. In sign he has as many, if not more, words as the children we know with normal hearing.
And whenever he signs a new word, I get excited, I praise him, I hug him and I am genuinely happy for him and for us for making such a smart kid. Because he is super smart.
But I still long for speech. Just for one word so that I can be reassured that one day there will be more. Because as much as I boldly say 'Will may never talk' and 'we are learning and teaching sign because he is deaf, it's part of who he is', there is still a part of me that is desperate for him to be normal. The part of me that is worrying about nursery, school, friends, bullies, exams, careers, relationships, grandchildren. That part of me was given hope when he started wearing his aids. Hope when he started to make sounds that I thought would become words. Hope that he would grow up to be just like everyone else but with hearing aids in his ears.
But the truth is he won't ever be like everyone else. Because he is different. Because he is disabled. And as much as I know I need to embrace this fact. Some days, most days of late, I just want to embrace him and cry about it.