“Are you telling me a story?” I whisper, watching Oliver’s tiny mouth open into a perfect O after he utters a string of sounds, his own little “words.”
Everyone said we would learn his language, his father and me; that, in time, we would begin to know what the whimpers and grunts and dolphin-like calls all mean. For nervous parents-to-be, this seemed impossible. “He won’t speak English,” I remember joking with Spencer. And we won’t know the Language of Oliver.
Despite assurances from seasoned parents, I pictured myself as this sleep-deprived, wild-haired monster pacing the halls with a howling infant in her arms. In these anxious daydreams, it was always dark, maybe even raining, and I was always exhausted. I imagined being frustrated, so frustrated, that I’m singing every lullaby-esque song I can think of . . . nonsense words to old tunes that rise up out of nowhere…
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