Maura is somewhat verbal – but not always in English, and not always coherent. So my job is to figure out what she’s trying to convey to me. Yes, I say “my job” because she is trying to communicate, and doing it the best she can – which is her job. Understanding her communication – that’s my job.
Luckily, I have years of practice with such stuff. Even better? Maura is a very expressive girl. When she smiles, her whole face lights up and the smile goes up straight into her eyes. When she’s tired, you don’t have to ask, her weariness is written across her face. And when she’s plotting against me, I know as well, there’s an extra sparkle in that girl’s side eye.
Just now, she was pulling stuff out of an empty tissue box. She loves boxes, loves putting things in them and taking them out. It’s part of our norm, so I didn’t think much of it, but instead, asked her what was in the box.
Mind you – the following bit was all non-verbal on her part.
She got a searching look on her face as she dug around the box, then did her wide-eyed, wide open mouthed surprise look as she showed me what she’d found in the tissue box.
A little round light blue bead.
She presented it to me to ponder.
“Is that an egg?” I asked – because Maura is into eggs, and it was robin’s egg blue. “Or is it a bead?”
She tilted her head a little, her eyes narrowing and her lips pursing, pondering this question herself. I waited for an answer, which came in the form of her aiming the little blue bead-like thing towards her mouth.
“I don’t think that’s food, boo.” I said with a laugh.
She paused, considered my words, then grinned, lowing the bead as if to say “You’re probably right.”, then put it back in the box.
And we both laughed about it.
Some days, Maura is “on” verbally – using words and sentences and making her point. Other days, she’s quieter, not saying much at all. Tonight? Well, it’s Friday, she’s been busy at school all week, and is probably in need of recharging. Being verbal might be too much for her right now.
But she’s still communicating with me. And I am still listening.