I am a fairly good listener, enjoying talking to those near and dear to me and hearing what they are up to in their lives, what is causing them joy or heartbreak or struggle. It is a characteristic that I am proud of. But like many things, I could be even better at lending an ear and really hearing those around me. Sam is teaching me to tune in to an even greater degree to the nuances of sound, the behaviors associated with certain words or noises, the humanness behind all of our actions and words. And he isn't even speaking yet, at least in recognizable words in the English language.
If I listen to him I can distinguish between a hunger cry and a need for a nap. A dirty diaper and the whimpering of boredom. The tones are different, the frequency and pitch as well. And the behaviors that accompany these orations are good clues as well....rubbing of the eyes, squirming, the sucking of hands or slurping of the mouth. There is a listening developing that goes beyond words and has become this body response, mine to his, and in this process a connection that intensifies between the two of us.
It is possible to practice this sort of listening with others besides my son, which is really a practice in being completely present. Not jumping ahead to what I want to say before another is finished speaking, not interrupting, not looking away as someone talks. Truly tuning in and hearing. As Sam is showing me, this is a powerful way to really connect with someone, to really see another's essence and position in the world. Thank you little one.