We have always said SJ would be some kind of detective because of how in tune she is to detail and facial expressions. Even the most subtle forms of body language do not go unnoticed by her. I have written before about language and neural pathways. They are formed very early in life (like in the womb) and are rapidly developing in the first couple years. That means that we are designed to make the most sense out of the world around us using what we have when we are born. For SJ, she was born without hearing and so she adapting extremely well by reading facial cues and gestures.
I am giving you this background because we have had a thing lately that I hesitate to say is unpleasant, but it is. Okay, it’s down right annoying.
The first time I heard her say the words “Mommy, I am trying to talk to you.” I was overjoyed. What an articulate sentence for her at this stage. It actually sounds like “I am trying-a talk to you”. That’s probably influenced by my lazy speech, because I am always trying “ta” do something. So anyway, it’s so cute, until she starts tapping on you saying it over and over. Screaming “I am trying a talk to you!!!” You can respond, but if she doesn’t have your undivided attention she will grab your face and make you look at her.
I am a multitasker. What mom isn’t? So when I am putting on shoes, packing lunch, and looking for my keys while trying to be less than 15 minutes late in the morning I get a slightly perturbed that SJ doesn’t settle for the answer of “I know! I am listening. What do you want?”. Or even when we are in the car and I try to tell her “SJ I can’t look at you, because I am driving, but I can hear you. Just say it.” This has been going on for a couple months now.
Eventually I realized why it is so important for her to be able to see my face and know that I hear her. Her body is wired to listen through visuals. Does that make sense? We are working very hard at teaching her to be able to listen with her hearing devices. We want to convince her of how useful sound and language can be, but it’s not natural. At this point in the game in takes a very conscious effort! That’s why she is in a deaf-ed preschool full time.
I don’t know to what degree she reads lips, but she does. She seems to do it very well actually. So for her, she listens best when she can see you and she probably thinks I am the same (and in some ways this is true). It makes sense that when she says she is trying to talk to me and I say I am listening, while simultaneously cooking dinner, she doesn’t buy it.
As I was pondering all this the other day the Lord so graciously tugged at my heart. He always has a way of teaching us through our children doesn’t He? I realized how often God is saying to me “I am trying to talk to you” and I say “I know God, I am listening”. But he is not buying it and he continues to pursue me “I am trying to talk to you”. “I know God, I know. I can listen and drive at the same time! I am not texting, just listening. Totally legal.” Then He repeats Himself through Psalm 46:10 when he says “Be Still and know that I am God”. That’s when I realize I want to respond like David in Psalm 27:8 and say “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Not just reading or hearing words, but to seek his expressions. There are many ways to listen. Are we listening for God’s voice with every part of us? Are we using our hearts? Are we using our ears? Are we studying His face and his movements on a spiritual level? I know that I have not been, but I am glad my heavenly Father has even more tenacity than SJ to keep calling to me and saying
This time I am listening. I am going to stop, and with every part of me I will listen.