Monday, October 29, 2012

Deaf Mama's Mustering

Forrest did not want to show off his costume.....

A bit overdue for It's The Deaf Thing Post, am I? I apologize. I've been really busy lately with visiting my sister and her boyfriend along with my family, and my little boy waking me up at ungodly hours. Ha ha, fortunately, Forrest has gotten back into his regular schedule with nursing, and thankfully, this mama is able to get her mental energy back!

Today's post is a mixture of both about my culture and motherhood. It is always so nice to be able to write about a topic covering both since it's equally important to me.

During my pregnancy, people often asked me if I worried about my son's hearing, whether I wanted him to be Deaf like me, and what kind of worries I had for Forrest. In Deaf culture, it was often considered to be a great blessing to have a Deaf child because it was an opportunity to pass down our culture down to our future Deaf generations. However, to Hearing people; they struggled with this concept because Deafness was not a culture, but a disability. As for me, I wanted my son to not to be born Deaf. It was not that Stu and I were not going to love him if he did turn out to be Deaf. In a way, if he was born Deaf then he was lucky to have a Deaf mama to prepare him with adaptive survival coping skills to deal with the hearing world.  Anyway, I didn't want Forrest to experience a difficult life like as I had, and he was going to have to fight harder in the world that was not that quite understanding and accepting of Deaf people. That was my fear for him.

When Forrest was born, he passed his newborn hearing test, and I was relieved. Then I had a new worry. I worried that he was going to grow up feeling ashamed that he has a Deaf mama, and to be teased for that by his peers. I did not want that for him. I admitted this concern to Stu, and he smiled at me then said, honey, that probably will happen even if you are not Deaf. All kids get picked on at some point over something. Even so, if Forrest does get picked on for having a Deaf mom then we will sit down and talk to him. In a way, he is lucky to have you in his life to enable him to teach others about tolerance, respect ,and love for people of diversity. 

I realized that Stu was right, and that made me feel better. This was going to bring me an opportunity to teach Forrest about diversity.

Because Forrest is hearing, he will be known as CODA in the Deaf community, and CODA means Child Of a Deaf Adult. People, who are CODA, are not Deaf yet they are valuable asset to the Deaf world especially if they are very proactive with sign language and Deaf culture. CODA folks act like a bridge between Deaf and Hearing worlds because in a way, they have the best of both worlds. Forrest will have many opportunities to learn about Deaf culture and use his knowledge to educate others who are not Deaf. Even if Forrest isn't a proactive part of the Deaf world (as an interpreter, teacher for the Deaf, etc), he still has a choice to spread this knowledge that he will learn from me, and use it to make the world more tolerant place.

Because of this, I knew that I wanted to incorporate something from my language for my son's nursery room because it was very important to me as a Deaf person. I ended up coming up with a great idea. I decided I wanted to have photographs of me finger-spelling Forrest's name, and hang them in individual frames from a tree branch. Of course, I wanted a woodland theme after Forrest. I asked Dad if he was willing to take pictures for me, and he gladly did it for me! I thought it was cool that I had Forrest's grandpa to take pictures of Forrest's name.

F-O-R-R-E-S-T


Nursery room with Forrest's name 



I am very pleased with how my idea has turned out. This is a good start to expose Forrest to my language. I am always signing to Forrest. I read books to him in sign language. I talk to him. I enjoy how Forrest lights up when I talk to him. His eyes follow my hands rather attentively. He shakes his hands in response to my signing. I know he does not understand what I am saying yet his brain is mapping every sign I make. I look forward to the day when he finally signs back. Hopefully something along the line of Mama. :)

7 comments :

  1. That's such a beautiful thing that you've done with Forrest's nursery. And unique, too! I love it.

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  2. I love the pictures!! What a wonderful mommy he has :)

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  3. I love reading your blogs! I am in same boat as you are. When i first had my son i too worried about him being deaf for same reasons and i worried about how his friends might find it weird that he has deaf parents but now i am not because we are very blessed to have three other deaf families of same age as my son. Now all kids sign pretty well for us to understand them. Just in case you are wondering...all four CODA children are 4 years old :)

    My son understands that our ears are "broken" and often he helps us by informing us when new baby were crying or when phone was ringing. Even one time he interpreted for me at doctor even though i already have a certifcated interpreter...Xavier said "She said she be right back. Five minutes!" Of course we all laughed because he was too cute. We never asked Xavier to interpret or act like our ears. He just do it all on his own. My husband and i would never ever use our children as our personal interpreter.

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  4. My wife and I are hearing, but our ten month old son is Deaf. We've been signing to him since we brought him home, and he's already signing back to us. Warms my heart every time I come home from work and he starts signing "Hi! Hi! Hi!"

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  5. I smiled when I read this blog- such an awesome way to share with Forrest. Deaf culture and Hearing culture. Forrest is very blessed! Hugs :)

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