The night before last, I had a mini-milestone, something kind of came to a head that I'd been wondering about for a long time. It has always worried me a lot how my children would perceive me and my stuttering, as they grew old enough to take notice of what was going on. To be honest, the big thing in my mind has always been a sense of dread at the idea of them feeling embarrassed of me or something. Not a fun thing to dwell on, and really, a bit of an unhelpful, self-absorbed attitude to spend too much time on.
For a bit of context, I mostly speak reasonably with my kids, using my 'smooth speech' techniques fairly well. So usually if they were going to see me having a really bad block, it'd usually be watching me talk to someone else. They are mostly really patient of me, and haven't ever really mentioned anything to me. I put a lot of that down to E, who is a wonderful example of patient listening. I'm hugely grateful for that.
Anyway, the other night I stuttered, and Little e (5) copied me, and giggled a bit. Totally not a big deal at all, and totally without any malice or anything. But, ughhh, such a sensitive subject that it sent me down into a sullen sort of dark mood for a while. A small event, but suddenly I was picturing this becoming the norm, and in my head it became a really big deal.
So, feeling silly to make a big deal of it, and wanting to straighten it out quickly, I had a chat with Little e as I was putting her to bed. I've always thought she was awesome, and that was only reconfirmed as I talked to her. She's such a clever little kid, with so much empathy and intuition beyond her years. I love her to bits.
I just brought it up, 'you know how I sometimes find it hard to get my words out?' and she said 'you mean when you go 'b-b-b-b..?' , and from there, we just had a really cool conversation. I got to explain what it was, what it was called, and how it feels. She was so understanding and sweet. She said "Daddy, I'll talk like that too if you want, so we can be the same". What a beautiful kid.
Anyway, it feels really nice to have had that conversation. It's nice when you get a mountain out in the open it suddenly can just feel like a molehill. Perspective.