The realisation of how valuable speech is has been brought home to me in a new way recently as my nearly two year old daughter is a complete chatterbox.
“Drink” she proclaims. “Sore” she says when she hurts herself.
And it’s of course bittersweet - like so many things - because I think of how easy she has it compared to Brody who struggles to tell us what he wants constantly.
Communication is so important.
When they want something, you guess what it is.
When they’re unwell, you guess what’s wrong.
When they come home from nursery or school, you guess how their day went and rely on others to tell you.
Because you’re playing with life. With feelings. With wants and needs.
It’s so hard to imagine what it must be like to be Brody.
When I get frustrated at him lashing out because he himself is frustrated, I try to take a breath and imagine how it feels to be a child who isn’t able to tell their Mum what they want or what is wrong.
Sure it’s not easy for me, but my God it’s a lot harder for him.
I look at how demanding my daughter is at the age of two.
How many times a day she tells me she wants a biscuit. How many times a day she wants “Baby Joy Joy” on the television.
How she tells me when she wants to play with play-doh or stickers or go to soft play. How she takes such pleasure in pointing things out to me and repeating their name.
Brody points (he didn’t use to and I’m oh-so-grateful he now does). But he can’t tell me what it is he is pointing at.
I know how excited he used to be to sign “bird” when he saw one. And how excited we were to share it with him.
Communication is a wonderful thing.
I’m hopeful that we’ll find better ways to communicate. That he’ll learn more Makaton. That one day maybe we’ll be able to use PECS.
That one day maybe speech and understanding will come more easily.
Until then, we’ll just have to continue with this guessing game.
Because we do - with all our hearts, all of our words and all of our actions.