Thursday, February 1, 2007

Phone Call for Chenchen!

I said when we got Chenchen's referral photos that the kid was so my kid because she had multiple toy phones in her hands. Little did I know what a phone fetish this kid has! She LOVES toy phones. Loves to talk on them. Carry them with her. Stuff them in pockets. But what she really loves is talking on them. Real ones, that is.

Now, anyone who's been following our blog knows that Chenchen has a cleft palate that hasn't yet been repaired. But what you may not know (I confess, we didn't fully get it until she was with us!) is just how few intelligible sounds can be made by a child with a cleft palate. She can kinda sorta make the "m" sound, and although she should be able to do an N and a P and a B, she doesn't usually manage. That's pretty much it. The rest is gutteral vowel sounds. But boy oh boy can this kid communicate with her face. I don't think in the three months she's been with us (has it been that long? at the same time, it seems like she's been with us for always!) that I've ever felt like I truly don't understand her. (Well, when she tells long involved stories, I have no clue. But when she's interacting with you it's surprisingly easy.) She's got the most expressive face, and her intonations usually make clear what she wants. Plus, now we're learning sign language (she is soaking it up like a sponge!).

But on the phone ... well, no facial expressions or pointing to draw from!

Still, she loves it, and grandma loves her. So grandma will indulge her. (So, for that matter, have my dear friends and critique partners, Dee Davis and Kathleen O'Reilly -- both of whom have had several conversations with Chenchen, bless them!)

When she had her first speech appointment with the school system (story to come), I knew she'd be too shy to talk to them. So I made a video. The best way I could think to get her talking was to put her on the phone. I'm posting this now because I think she's just so dang cute. Also, though, I know there are several folks reading the blog who are in the process of adopting kids with a cleft palate. Certainly when I was that stage, I was hungry for any and all info I could get!

So here's my cutie, chatting up grandma!

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