You may know that I have two little girls. Something has been on my mind an awful lot lately, and that’s been not just my role as a Mum, but as a deaf Mum.

My oldest is almost four. She’s practically four, she has the speech, understanding and mobility of a four old, so she may as well be four so from this point on will be known as the “four year old”. My youngest is one. She is very much the baby of the family, still keeping in her little baby ways and has very little speech but can sign “Duck” with pride and has a wicked smile. She only turned one in January and it’s almost her month anniversary, so she’ll be known as the “14 month old”.

My four year old, is the funniest little thing. She comes out with the cutest of remarks and very cleverly put together sentences, for a four year old. This evening, she declared that when she’s bigger and older, she is going to be a princess and her little sister could be the fairy. I asked her how old was old, and she announced “Twenty”. You can only laugh can’t you? :-D

As much as I absolutely adore my children, I find them quite hard work at times, like any parent. However, additionally to the usual parenting woes, I have found that as my four year old gets very frustrated when I can’t understand things she’s said. At first I thought she was picking up reactions from others to me, so using a tone of impatience in her voice when having to repeat things time and time again that perhaps she’d heard someone else use. But then I realised that there are hardly any situations when people are like that with me on a regular basis when she’s around. My husband doesn’t, my parents and my sister certainly don’t. The only time I can really think of, is when I’m out shopping, or perhaps with someone who doesn’t know me very well. Some people do it without thinking, if they’re having a bad day, others do it because of a lack of awareness or plain ignorance. In fact, the tone of impatience makes me fluster and I struggle even more to pick up what is being said. I can’t actually hear the tone particularly well with the hearing aid, but I hear the tone nonetheless through lip-reading and facial expressions.

I think, it’s therefore become a bit of a natural thing to do for her as she’s now at a stage of development to realise just how different I can be to other people. She doesn’t have to repeat what she’s saying all the time to other people, and she knows how much easier that is. My guilt involved in this is as follows:

“Mummy, can I have a drink please?” She’ll ask very nicely.

“Sorry, what did you say?”

“Can I have a drink?”

“Pardon?”

“Drink! I want one!”

“Don’t be rude, where are your manners?”

And I wonder why she gets annoyed with me. I struggle to remember that she’s only four, she is normally a lovely polite little girl, but she struggles to get my attention sometimes, and I sometimes have told her off for something that wouldn’t have been necessary had I heard her the first time.

Mother’s guilt is such a terrible thing. I’ve mentioned it before, in an early post when I first started this blog (here) and it still haunts me. I wish I had been more consistent with her signing, if she had signed to me in the first instance, I’d have got it right away. But I suppose I got lazy. She can sign, she knows many words and can ask for a drink, or to watch the telly, or to play in the garden beautifully – but she doesn’t do it automatically. Only if I ask her to. I need to change this, otherwise she’ll get more and more frustrated with me.

I do explain to her by the way, the implications of me not being able to hear. She does understand, but she’s only four after all. She’s already got quite a lot of responsibility on her shoulders to tell me if the baby is crying, or if there was a knock at the door. She surprises me sometimes, with her mature head in the way she’s realised that she needed to tell me something I might not have heard.

I hate that I miss out on the best conversations. My friend e mailed me one night after dropping my daughter home one evening after we’d been to a show and I had gone on to college afterwards. She told me what her daughter, the same age as my four year old and mine had been discussing all the way home. How I loved to hear about it, the best conversations with children, can be in the car. Mine consist of:

“Oooh, did you see that tractor?”

“Yes!” She’ll say excitedly, and then she’ll say something else……

“Sorry darling, I’m driving at the moment so can’t see what you’re saying… tell me when we’ve stopped”

And then that’s it and the car returns to the sound of nothing :-(

I’ve got to share with you the e mail that my friend sent me. I really felt I was there after reading it, I felt I hadn’t missed out on it quite so much. But I was sad, that if it had been me driving, I wouldn’t have been able to share the same conversation with my friend.

It’ll make you smile though, I can guarantee that, aren’t four year olds amazing? :-)

A – Sometimes I go to see my Daddy at his work
I – Me too, I visit Uncle Greggy there too but not very often.
A – I haven’t been to your Daddy’s work.
I – I haven’t been to your Daddy’s work either.
A – No I haven’t either…oooooooh MACDONALDS! I can see the ‘M’!
I -  I like MacDonalds, it’s yellow.
A – Me too, Old Macdonald had a farm, e i e i ohhhhhhhh!
I joins in.
A – I like Kinder eggs too.
I – What’s a Kinder eggs?
A – They have yummy chocolate and toys inside them.
I – I like Happy Meal toys, they’re Scooby Doo
A – I like being happy.

Writing this blog post has been more about me letting off a bit of steam, but it also has helped me realise what I need to do. That is to sign more often with my children. OK, we won’t be able to have a conversation in the car, or walk and talk easily, but perhaps the friction that is sometimes caused by my inability to catch what she’s saying will be eased.

She’s a stunner you know, and the 14 month old. I’m so lucky. I’ll share a picture of my four year old signing something to me tonight, can you work out what she’s saying?

A quick CI update is that I turned up last week at my appointment only to find that there had been a mix up with dates on my part and actually, my appointment had been the week before. The next appointment they had was 1st April, so I’ll update after then.

In the meantime, enjoy your children and cherish every word they say. They are special x