Every night, at bedtime, Hannah chooses which book she would like to have read to her in bed. We give her a choice of 6, laid out in front of her on her duvet, she looks at and then touches/picks up/throws at you the one she wants. For some time now, the book of choice has been Charlie and Lola, ‘Excuse me but that is my book’ (which is funny since Hannah has never liked watching Charlie and Lola and generally yells at it on TV until we turn it over).
Tonight, as she reached out to touch the cover, she simultaneously looked at me and said a word. Not a recognisable word, not ‘Charlie’ or ‘this book’ or ‘for goodness sake mother don’t you know I ALWAYS choose this book?’, but a word, a new one.
Hannah rarely makes vocalisations anymore which are more than a shout, we hear the occasional ‘nono’ or ‘dada’, but that’s really all that’s left. So a new sound, in purposeful context, said with intonation and intent, is a rare treat. She touched the book, looked at me, and spoke. It took my breath, something inside me leapt a little, and for that infinitesimal moment, I got the most microscopic, fleeting glimpse of what it might feel like to hear her voice again.
And then she giggled, so I giggled back, started reading, and by the time Lola was shouting ‘I just want my book Charlie!’, Hannah was snoring, with a slight smile still lingering around her mouth and closed eyes. I guess she likes the sound of her voice too.