Three years ago, the boy temporarily quit talking in complete sentences, preferring to use only grunts, growls and groans to convey his wants and needs to his father’s and I. The doll took notes and has since, ratcheted up how she communicates with us. Instead of using the boy’s method forcing us to use our ears to decipher what message she’s trying to send, she’s decided to rely on inaudible, nonverbal cues.
That’s right. She has literally quit talking, preferring only to speak with shoulder shrugs, eye-rolls, and the occasional sideway nod. While this may seem like a great way to keep our household decibel levels to a minimum, her lack of vocal communication may leave open a wide door to misinterpretation which can raise the decibel levels as well.
“Doll, are you feeling okay?” I asked her the other night and was met with raised shoulders to a stationary head. Hmm is she saying she doesn’t know or something else?” I thought. “Are you bored?” This time she used one shoulder to convey her answer-bringing it forward and then back. “What?” I said aloud. “Marsh she’s saying she IS bored but is undecided if she wants to do anything about it…right?” Her father interjected. For a brief moment, the doll smiled back at him (which brought a triumphant look to his face. Oh brother!!) Before she returned to her sullen teenage look. “Huh..well alright then,” I said going back to what I was doing.
But when she wants us to be aware of something that displeases her, there is no mistaking the long heavy dramatic sigh she belts out. “Doll is something bothering you?” I ask, only to be met with the mother of all nonverbal replies: A dull stare accompanying front shoulder droops with a cocked head to the left. Her body displaying “Are you daft?” toward me.
There have been times when I’ve thought, two can play this game and in reply, raised both eyebrows while furrowing my brow. Hoping against hope, she’ll read my plea for her to return to the land of verbal language skills. Instead, I’m met with her striking a pose/stance while crossing both arms in front of her body essentially conveying to me to”Get a life mom!”
I know someday I’ll eventually have the key to understanding all her nonverbal looks, stares, nods, glances and other miscellaneous body language postures. I also know by the time I have this key, she’ll have changed positions and gone back to speaking in complete and clear sentenses. One thing for sure is certain, the doll will be keeping us all on our toes for years to come.