Friday, August 7, 2009

You take the high road and I’ll take the low road

To be honest, my knowledge of "deafness" and "hearing loss" is both minimal and vicarious. In an ideal world I would research the subject in detail but I am short on time, so I make do with an emotional yet entertaining version, 'Deaf Sentence,' by David Lodge. I learn about pitch or more accurately, 'frequency,' which proves startlingly helpful.

We gather at the table in the garden for dinner under the pergola. My youngest son squalks in protest. He is very, very loud, perched on his hunkers in a carver chair for containment. Nonna sits two spaces down in the semi rocker chair. As she rocks she admires the Honeysuckle above, abuzz with bees, huge, black workers. She is deep in contemplation as she tears small puffs of warm bread. I attempt to drag her back into the conversation, or what passes for conversation around here. I already knew that many voices all talking at once, is especially difficult for the hard of hearing. It’s another added incentive to move the campaign forward, the campaign, for us all to take turns. Until recently this has not been a priority. The priority was to extract as many words from each child as possible, but times change.

There are lots of ways to describe it. One way to describe it is that the brain has little hot spots, near the surface for easier access but they are also fragile and semi-transparent. These spots are the ones that are used most frequently, but because they’re so hazy the brain can’t figure out whether they’ve already been used that day. Hence the repeats as they float around, bumping into consciousness. It’s a bit like at the end of the day when partners meet up with a whole list of important matters to cover. We ask the other one, just to make sure, “did I tell you already about……?” It’s because we’re so busy, it’s because we’re not certain, it’s because it’s just hovering, the reminder. But that’s just the scientific version. The reality is far more obvious. It’s just like when I nip to the supermarket to pick up a prescription together with a short list of necessities. I don’t write ‘prescription’ on the list, because that’s the main purpose of the trip. When I return home, I have everything on the list, but not the prescription, too busy, too harassed, too pressured, too scrambled.

So we live with repeats.

One of the repeats, one of the many, is the absence of Hummingbirds. I’ve added to the list. It’s one of my many pre-emptive strikes to stave off the repeats. I wait until I spot one. I don’t have to wait long.
“Look!” I tap her on the forearm and point, “look! A Hummingbird!”
“Ooo yes. Look at dat. Such a pretty little ting. Dat’s dah first one I see dis year. Such a shame you ave no Hummingbirds dis year.” We beam at each other, each with our own different sadnesses, bitter sweet. She rocks and returns her gaze to the foliage on high.
“Why you ave so many bees?”
“Well the top side, the other side of the pergola is full of blooming Honeysuckle.”
“Hmmm but why they are working now? In dah evening?”
“They’ll keep at it whilst it’s light.”
“Dey are so loud aren’t dey?”
“Yes indeedy.”
“Shame I ave not eard dah parrots dis year. Did dey get rid of dem?”
“No they’re still there, four doors down. They still put them out in their garden in the evening, on their perch, all three of them.”
“Dats funny. I wonder why I din ear dem no more?”
“Hmm……maybe we should walk up there later…..take a peek?”
“No dats alright……no need really……..we ave im don’t we!” she beams as she flaps a hand at her grandson, still squalking in protest as he submits to the last spoonful of veggies.


farmwifetwo said...

::Grins:: as the noisy flapper in my house plays his DS....

Niksmom said...


mumkeepingsane said...

:) Yep!

Patois said...

I'll third (or fourth) the :)!

Anonymous said...

Very sweet! Love Nonna stories.

Kristin said...

I don't see an email, so, well, here goes. Sorry this is unrelated to your story.

I have a question. How do you get your kid to eat vegetables? I've tried everything I can think of, even bribery. And nothin works.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

I love it! Nonna's fantastic!

Rachel said...

You have such a way with words... and truly have hit this one spot on.

So glad to see that you have made such an effort to communicate. What an education, eh?

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