I wrote yesterday about Joshua’s eyesight, so I thought that I would look at another of his senses today, as at his initial diagnosis at 4 days old, we were told that he might not see, hear, talk or walk. There is nothing wrong with Joshua’s hearing as far as I am concerned and formal tests when he was two confirmed that, so his brain can pass messages from his ears better than from his eyes. In fact, due to his deep love of music, Joshua’s hearing is very precious to him.
Even from being a baby, if he was crying, to dance with him in the lounge, with music blasting out, would sooth him instantly. As a toddler, he was fascinated by speakers – he would always seek them out in a cafe or when out in public, and want to get as close to them as possible. It was as though he felt music, it sends a vibration through him and makes him happy. He was in trouble as a toddler, as he put some chunky chalk inside his dad’s precious speakers, which did not, he explained, enhance the sound!
Joshua first watched the live 8 show in 2005 – 20 years after the original Live Aid concert – and Joshua has watched ‘The Show’ almost everyday since then! Luckily it is a 4 disc DVD, but he has his favourite performers and it is usually ‘Robbie’ and ‘Travis’ that he asks for and who make him grin and wriggle most. In fact in the last 14 years, we have worn out several copies of The Show. When he was younger he used to dance endlessly to ‘The Rising’ By Bruce Springsteen and ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ by Blondie, skipping round and round in circles with those tracks on repeat.
Joshua has enjoyed many live music performances in his life , from Bruce Springsteen several times, to Status Quo and ELO .He has enjoyed those gigs as well as musical theatre including Joseph, Matilda, Lion King, We will Rock You ,The Snowman and Club Tropicana most recently. So we have indulged his love of music, but as with films, it is hard to get him off his favourite DVDs. That being said, he loves a busker, and will watch them for ages when out shopping, particularly if they have a guitar, and he enjoys a brass band performance too. In mainstream nursery school, he had a repertoire of Burt Bacharach songs that he would sing in the mirror – Magic moments and Close to you, being my favourites. So his music taste is pretty eclectic and only having a good strong beat seems to be essential.
Joshua’s life would be much poorer without his love of music in it . He may not be able to vocalise a response, but Joshua responds instantly when you call his name out. I am not aware if his right-side weakness has also impacted on his ears, but they both seem to be in perfect working order to me. That being said, he is not above ignoring instructions and pretending not to have heard me too, but I guess that is just human nature and his naughty sense of humour too, when I call him telling him that we are ready to go out, and he jumps up and runs upstairs to make me chase him! His ears are not to blame for that common response and lack of cooperation.
One thing that he has never done, which I would love him to use his hearing for, is to listen and talk to me on the telephone. He loves a telephone and will endlessly watch himself in the mirror pretending to be taking or making a call, he loves to hide them and he loves to press buttons on a real phone, and will not be fobbed off with a toy one or an old one. But when he is away in respite or if I am working away, it would be brilliant if he would talk to me, just once on the phone, but it has never happened. If he is passed the receiver and asked to say hello to someone, he will kiss the phone or possibly wave at it, but he will never talk or even listen for more than a second or two.
I am really grateful that Joshua has his sense of hearing and I feel that he really makes the most of it too.