Alice is the sort of daughter to make any father proud.
Not only is she incredibly beautiful (credit to her mummy there) but she is a real joy to be around. Always happy and smiling and she has a laugh that could make even Gordon Brown smile. That’s not to say she doesn’t have her moments. Alice is a determined little so-and-so and has a naughty streak that even her brother would be proud of.
It is so very hard to reconcile this normal, inquisitive, bright and beautiful young lady with her world of silence. The thing that breaks our hearts more than anything is that when she cries, whether it be because she has hurt herself or she is just a bit sad, you can’t comfort her in the way you would any other child. You can hold her, cuddle her, stroke her but you can’t tell her everything is ok in the way we can her brother.
It is such a torment for a parent knowing that she can’t hear us when we tell her we love her. Of course, we make up for it in many other ways.
As her Daddy, one of the first things I said to Alice’s Mummy when we found out she couldn’t hear was that all I wanted was to hear her say ‘Daddy’. Such a small thing and probably entirely selfish, but it is the small things that make the biggest difference.
Somewhere in Alice is a voice and I have no doubt a wonderful one at that. If she has a CI and performs very well, will I ever hear this voice or will she always struggle to talk in the way God intended?
Whatever the outcome, we never want Alice to be frustrated by her problem and, even at her tender age, this is starting to creep in. Communication is something we all take for granted. It is a basic instinct and you can see it in her eyes sometimes that she doesn’t understand why she can’t communicate in the way that we and her brother can.
Bless her big brother Joseph. He knows Alice’s ears don’t work and even at 3, you can see he wants to help. He has been learning some of the basic cues and tries so hard to help Alice to understand.
It is a humbling experience and I am the proudest Daddy in the world.