Friday, November 25, 2011

Language Barriers

My child will be 4 in less than two months.  She knows how to say "duck" and "baba" (bottle), and I've heard her say "block," "hi," "mama," and "buh-bye" before, although only a couple of times.  In terms of her receptive language she understands (but ignores) the word "no," and she understands and responds to the phrases "Let go, please," "Night-night," and "Drink your milk."

Sadly, she does not understand "Don't take off your diaper and play with your poop" or "Please stop screaming until we leave the restaurant."

Sometimes, I love that she doesn't talk.  She knows how to communicate her needs and desires through gestures (although she never did pick up on the ASL I crammed down her throat for 3 years) and sounds, and it's usually very gentle and calm.  It's quiet and peaceful in most cases, and what mom doesn't appreciate  a few moments of quiet and peaceful, especially when raising a child with disabilities?

Other times, though, it breaks my heart that she doesn't call me Mommy or tell me that she's hungry.  I can't stand it when she's crying and doesn't want a bottle or to go to sleep, so I can't figure out what it is that she wants.  It's REALLY hard knowing that I can sit and read her a book or talk to her for half an hour, and all she's getting from the interaction is the soothing sound of my voice, not the meaning of any of the words.  It's impossible not to wonder what the long-term implications of her current language struggles will be, but there's no way of predicting whether she'll ever use language, so wondering and worrying bring about no good whatsoever.

I love my child, and I want the best for her.  That includes wanting her to be able to navigate a language-driven world on her own, without me having to stand by to guess at what she's needing or wanting.  It's a struggle I face on a daily basis, and, while I want her to develop language skills, if she doesn't, I won't ever complain.  She truly is perfect exactly as she is, and I treasure every challenge that comes our way because they make us stronger and bring us closer together.  She's my little sidekick, and I love having her by my side.

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