Friday, March 14, 2008

Speaking to My Son

Within the last two weeks, I have had the pleasure of spending time with two of my dear friends and their little boys. And each time, my friends' children have touched my heart with their tenderness and compassion toward my little boy and the language that is all his own.

Last weekend, we met Alli and her family for dinner, followed by games and dessert at our house. Alli spent some time preparing Ethan for the events of the evening, helping to prepare his expectations for everything, from start to finish. She explained that Tucker uses sign language, and that means that he speaks with his hands instead of his voice most of the time.

(Ethan is busily learning to speak fluent French; he showed me how to say the French version of "My name is Ethan, and I am a red fish." A very useful phrase, undoubtedly.) It was easy for Ethan to comprehend the use of a second language (or in Tucker's case, his first), and he was very interested in learning a few signs he could use with Tucker.

When they walked into the restauraunt, Ethan went straight to Tucker to say, "Hi, Tuck! Bunny! Bunny!" He signed bunny to Tucker, and my little guy lit up to see someone talking about his favorite animal.

And just a couple days later, my friend Jen came over to spend the morning at my house with her two little boys, Reece and Mason. Reece and Tucker played from beginning to end, and Tucker seemed enthralled with Reece's creativity with the toys he had grown bored with. Reece brought new life to our house.

But aside from fun playtimes, he also kept a close eye on Tuck, making sure all his needs were met. When the two of them sat side by side at the table, having a healthy morning snack of chocolate chip muffins, Reece said, "I think Tucker's thirsty, Tricia. He would like a drink." Sure enough. I can do that: beverages all around.

When they were finished, Reece stood in front of Tucker and said, "Tuck, are you all done? Or do you want more?" He signed to Tucker, and Tucker signed back. Reece announced, "He's all done, Tricia. You can get him down now."

I love it. I have always said that anybody who is a friend of my children is a friend of mine. It turns out, anyone who takes the time to learn to speak to my son in the language he is mastering is someone who has stolen my heart.

I love those little boys... and I sure love their moms. Thanks, ladies, for teaching your boys to have such tender hearts and to love little children who think and talk differently than they do.

It's a gift to this mom.

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