Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Speech Diary: Mountains and Molehills

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.

16 comments:

Deb said...

She is awesome. Good to have a pal at your side.

Belle said...

This made me teary! Your little girl is a sweetie.

Gary Ware said...

*snif*
I've got something in my eye.

There's something incarnational about that, you know.

Alistair Bain said...

Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Aw, thanks guys.

Gary, can you explain the incarnational thing? I don't get it.

Gary Ware said...

It just reminds me of a God who showed His love for me by becoming like me, considering it as no diminishment to Himself.
That's special.

Karen said...

Empathy in a five year old is pretty amazing to see. What a great conversation that must have been.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Yeah.. empathy is rare, even in 'grown ups'.

Oh, I get it, Gary- that IS cool!

onlinesoph said...

what a beautiful girl. You guys are awesome parents. I hope I can raise a daughter like e.

Apricity said...

That's so beautiful. My dad has a severe stutter and the only way he could 'easily' talk to me growing up was to read me stories - needless to say I was read to heaps! I was never embarrassed of my dad but I used to absolutely hate it when other kids used to make fun of him and I think experiencing this has made me really empathetic towards, and protective of anyone with any sort of challenge. I've no doubt your girls will grow up to be beautiful caring and sensitive women.

Ruth said...

Little e is so beautiful. :)

Ben McLaughlin said...

Thanks Soph and Ruth:)

Apricity,thanks so much for commenting, it's really great to hear the perspective of a daughter of someone who stutters. The way you speak of your dad is lovely. I identify with the reading thing:)

Jessica said...

Made me smile.

Dawn Merz said...

Just catching up on your blog... and now wiping my eyes after reading about that beautiful little interchange... so lovely, Ben! It is amazing that even our children give us so much grace. What a gift. And I think it is wonderful that you had that gentle conversation with her... beautiful!!

peter y said...

Still praying for you Ben. It's good to hear an update.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Thanks guys, youre awesome.