Little Johnny never talked. Not a word, when he was four his parents took him to doctors, nothing wrong. Just never spoke. Then one day when he was six the family was having dinner and out of the blue,
“Mom, pass the salt.”
“Johnny, JOHNNY, you spoke! How come you never said anything before?”
“I had nothing to say.”
Well, it was funny when I was a kid.
As you know, Pearlsky does not speak at all. Not a word, no communication of any type. One side effect is that I find myself not talking to her much. We will sit together for most of the evening and I won’t say a word. Not that I ignore her, we are together, lots of time I am holding her hand, or if I’m on the computer and she is next to me, I tilt her wheelchair so her foot is on my knee, so lots of time there is some contact. I will tell her when I am getting her meds or food, or even tell her who is on the phone. But that is minimal. I just don’t talk to her.
What am I going to do? Bitch about my day? Ask her how her’s was? Sure, there are some topics and days where there is something sharable, but it is tough. There is no feedback, no nod, no rolling her eyes, no “oh, daddy, that’s so dumb.” Do I dare say I get the same feedback I would get talking to a fruit? If only I just thought outloud. For how long would you talk to your kid if there was absolutely no feedback, no “look at me when I speak to you,” no response, nothing? A week? Seventeen years?
Every night I do say the same thing to her as I tuck her in so she has heard my voice at the end of every day, every 6200 of them. “Good night, sweetheart. I adore you, sleep goodly.”
I don’t talk to her. I can’t talk with her. I feel guilty because one is supposed to speak to one’s kid.
So, instead of telling your kid to shut up, just have him/her call me.
Oh, and please pass the salt.