Queen Teen has a new, three inch long, shiny gold whistle that she keeps in her craft basket near the kitchen table. Right before dinner, she blows it, filling the kitchen with an ear-piercing, echoing, high-pitched tone that the neighbors four blocks away can surely hear.
"See what I can do?" she says, blowing again.
I wince. "That's great, honey."
Just this past summer she couldn't blow that whistle at all. Now she takes a deep breath and blows six strong, shrill blasts before setting down the whistle and saying, "I'm getting dizzy." She takes a short break, then blows the whistle some more.
It's therapeutic I think. All that blowing is good for her. I remember back when she was three and her therapist showed her how to blow cotton balls across the table with a straw. It was hard for Queen Teen to do, but after a couple of years, she started to win the "cotton ball races." She also practiced blowing bubbles and noise makers. Then we moved on to musical instruments, like recorders and wooden whistles. She could make thin, gaspy tweets, but rarely a full, strong sound.
Until now. After several months of practice with her new whistle, during which time she tried blowing it at different angles and directions, she finally found that sweet spot that emits the loudest, piercing sound. She has no idea how loud she is because she's hard of hearing. To her, the volume probably sounds perfect.
My ears are so happy for her.