By Claire Murray 37, from Richmond, North Yorkshire
Oliver was lying on his back gazing up at his mobiles quite happily. He was 10 months old – why wasn’t he sitting up like other babies of his age? I must have tried 100 times every day to prop him up with cushions, hoping it would encourage him to sit up. But he just flopped to one side again. One day, my friend Sian popped around.
“Have you thought about Musical Minis?”, she asked.
I’d never even heard of them.
“Its a music group for babies and toddlers. Its supposed to help with their development”, she said.
The nearest group was in Darlington – 12 miles away. It seemed a bit mad driving all the way there for a 45 minute music lesson when Oliver couldn’t even sit up on his own. But anything was worth a try. The teachers sang songs with the kids and gave them instruments to play. Oliver absolutely loved it. He began sitting up on his own and banging away on the drum. A few weeks later, doctors said tests showed Oliver was profoundly deaf in his left ear. That explained why he couldn’t sit up on his own – his balance was affected. My husband Sandy and I were shattered and wondered if he would ever learn to speak properly. I thought about Musical Minis too. Was there any point in carrying on with his hearing like it was? But then I remembered his little face beaming up at me during the sessions. It couldn’t do any harm. Then the day before his first birthday, I was in the kitchen when I suddenly heard Oliver’s voice.
“Head and shoulders knees and toes” he sang. OK the words weren’t perfect, but he was definitely singing the tune. I’d know it a mile off. Even his older brother Cameron, who has no hearing problems, hadn’t done that when he was 12 months old.
I wanted to cry with pride. I knew right then that Oliver would never let his disability hold him back.