So we have moved, entirely relocated actually, just west of Derby. It has been a mad few months. There haven’t been any blog posts. I am hoping that will change. I need to write. I need to get back to expressing into cyber space (and your head if you are reading this). It’s generally better for me if my thoughts are in cyberspace rather than my head at 3.30 am when the world should stop spinning and I should be asleep. But Smiling Flower isn’t overly fond of ‘shoulds’ and likes to keep us on our night time toes….
I have just been standing in the garden looking at the stars. It helps me feel calm. At the moment the moon is the thinnest sliver of silver and the stars are burning brightly through the clear, cold air. I started thinking about a friend who lives on Bardsey Island and takes incredible pictures of the stars. He took this one and says ‘This is the Great Orion Nebula our nearest star forming region. Bright young stars illuminate the clouds of interstellar dust and red glowing hydrogen gas’. His amazing life can be read about at www.portersonenlli.blogspot.com
I needed the stars to feel calm because actually I feel stressed about language. We are meeting lots more deaf and fluent BSL users in Derby – which is great. The school, the signers at church and the professionals at the deaf toddler group are all amazed, thrilled, enraptured with smiling flowers level of signing. It is fantastic. But being British and prone to self-criticism, I am feeling the weight of it today. The weight of feeling that I am not free to communicate with her as I want to. I want to tell her so much and yet I end up signing so little. I know how to sign ‘fantastic’, but I don’t know how to sign that I am enraptured, blown away and thrilled by her. I want the freedom to babble on about things she can’t hope to understand like politics and God, knowing that one day the sentences will begin to make sense. But this is beyond me. I can moan to baby boy about David Cameron and the immoral press – he looks at me pensively and signs ‘mummy’ which melts me, but smiling flower misses the babble.
And then there is the grammar. Joyfully, Smiling Flower’s sentences are coming on apace. But sentences need grammar and BSL grammar is quite different. To tell it simply, and badly, you have to communicate like Yoda out of Star Wars. The subject comes first – confused I am, weary I am, etc. To tell it with more complexity you need to paint a picture with signs. Again, to tell it badly, it reminds me of those sci-fi movies where the actors don’t use keyboards to type but put their fingers in the air and whizz images around in the space in front of them. So instead of signing ‘the black cat chased a mouse up the tree.’ You would sign – tree there (locate tree in signing space), cat, black, sees what? Mouse. Chases mouse (become cat chasing mouse up tree) Or something like that – it makes perfect and beautiful sense when done properly but for a novice it is quite tricky to spontaneously think in pictures rather than words…
I feel rather churlish in all this because some children with Charge have very limited language and we are lucky that smiling flower has so much capacity to communicate. It is just that to feel the constant pressure of a ‘foreign’ language in your home, that you have by no means mastered, is weighty and hard some days.
It helps to look at the stars. To realise what a small cog our lives are in such a vast universe. Stars always put life in perspective. Some look tiny, pinpoints in space, but they blaze a trail through millions of miles of darkness. When I look at my amazing kids I think they’re the same. So small in this world, but they illuminate the dust in my soul and blaze a white hot, sparkling trail through the space of our home and beyond.