I will never hear her say "Mummy I love you!" I will never hear her say "Mummy, I missed you!"
She says the word "Mamma" but "Mamma" is a bit like "Station". (Total pop culture reference there! Kudos if you get it! ;) )
Most of Nicola's communication is done with a combination of signs and sounds. It sounds a bit difficult for people to grasp, and I guess to outsiders it would kind of be a bit like taking someone who only speaks English and sticking them in the middle of a room where everyone else only speaks Mandarin and ask them to join the conversation.
But, she can converse. She can even argue with me, and argue she does... often!
But it has taken us a long time to get to this point where we can hold rudimentary conversations with her. I tried for months to teach her how to sign the word "Mother" and she refused to even try, yet she learned to sign "Chocolate" in about 3 nanoseconds.
Even now, her actual signs are limited. Most of her signs are related to either her immediate needs (food, medicine, sleepy, clean nappy etc) or her Squeaky sister and even then most of them are butchered from the original auslan and makaton signs because of her restricted movements.
Tonight, after months and months of trying, we had a communications breakthrough.
Not just a little one, but a massive, huge, momentous breakthrough that simultaneously filled me with the most incredible feeling of pride and joy and reduced me to a total blubbering mess.
Tonight we only have Nicola at home, my wonderful Mother and Sister have teamed up to take my other three children after we had to cancel our 'Unbirthday Party' at the nth hour because Nicola's bloods completely tanked in her tests yesterday.
We took our time having our shower tonight because I didn't have to rush off to cook dinner or anything else for the others. We got to play and tickle and have fun under the water. We got to sit on the floor in the shower and just enjoy some quality time... then, just like always, we got dressed. First the right sock, then the left, then the nappy, then her pyjama top and then pants. We put her tube on, and we got her a clean snuggle blanket from the cupboard, then I handed her to her Daddy and we had a big cuddle and I smooched the heck out of her! She loves it, we do it every night, and it leaves her in peals of hysteria...
I gave her kisses and I said "Nigh nigh Nicola, Mamma loves you."
Then it happened.
One simple sign.
One little movement.
One insignificant little flick of the hand that to anyone else wouldn't mean a thing...
But to me, it meant something so significant, so very incredibly important...
It meant "Love"
That smile on her face, that glitter in her eyes, the way her little tongue sticks out when she knows she's being cheeky... then that flick of the hand... together it means something that no words could ever accurately portray.
"I love you Mamma. You are my world."