Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Notorious Fender Bender

Yesterday, I was walking Turkey (our Basset, Layla) while Stu pushed the stroller with Forrest in it. It was a really pleasant walk during a beautiful morning. We were chatting. All of the sudden, I tripped over my foot, and quickly regained my balance before I plastered my face on the sidewalk. Stu looked at me with an exasperated look, and shook his head. One of these days, you'll break your ankle. I smiled, rather chagrined, and shrugged then said, Well, it's the Deaf thing. 

All of my life, I have a horrid sense of balance. I did not learn how to walk until I was over a year old. It took me longest time to learn how to ride a bicycle. Roller blades, and ice skating was a bane of my existence. I could not stand up and have a sturdy sense of balance while treading on thin lines of wheels or blades. Throughout the years of my life, I often tripped, bumped into the stationary objects, and had my ankles turn over. Most of the time, I regained my balance, looked around to make sure nobody was looking, and popped my collar trying to be all cool about it. Face it, people knew.  My friend even bestowed a nickname for me: Fender Bender. I finally resigned to assuming a role of a major klutz, and left it at there. 

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For the longest time, I did not make the connection between having a lousy balance to my Deafness. Then I learned that balance, and hearing loss had a connection during my graduate school years.

Here's a bit of anatomy lesson. In our ears, we have complex labyrinth of an organ to enable our hearing, and they all play a critical role with balance.
Inside the canals, there holds million of little hair follicles that waves around in the fluid as you move around your head, and it basically alerts your brain to say Hey, the head is turning right, and it alerts the brain to send that message to your optical region (in the back of your brain). Once the optical region receives that message, it goes straight to our eyes, and it helps to coordinate what we are seeing with the movement with our head. 

If there's lack of hair cells, or structural problem with your inner ear, or an issue with optical region receiving communication from the ears then a balance problem occurs. Your whole equilibrium is thrown off. 

It is not always a structural problem that can cause balance issue. Sometimes, as a hearing person, you are struck with a sinus infection or ear infection, and you find yourself slightly off

In my case, I'm always slightly off. I suspect it is because there is a lack of hair cells or fluid inside my inner ears, and that can cause miscommunication between the synapses between my ears and my optical region of the brain. Something during that communication process is disrupted, and wham, I lose my balance. 

I find that if I walk off the curb onto the grass then I will find myself losing my balance for nanosecond before regaining my equilibrium. If I take my focus off something, especially while signing and looking at other person, and that cause me to become unsteady. This is why I hate IMAX theaters or 3D picture shows or Planterium. When I sit still and focus on one moving item, but knowing that my body isn't moving, and after the show is over, it takes me awhile to regain my sense of balance, and it's not a fun feeling to put myself through that. Hence, my nickname: Fender Bender. 

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Now, not all Deaf/HOH people have balance problem because not everybody's source of Deafness is from structural problem inside their ears. For instance, one of my good friends who is also Deaf, Sharon, is an expert skiier, and you know how that requires a great balance. It just happens that some of us Deaf people, or those with hearing loss, can end up with a balance issue.

I have accepted this as a part of who I am. When I find myself tripping, instead of feeling embarrassed about it; I just smile, and say It's the Deaf thing.......

Or you can just call me a Fender Bender. *grins* 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Anniversary #2: Year of Trials and Enrichment

The second year of our marriage has arrived. I cannot believe how quickly those two years have flown by. We are approaching our 9th year of being a couple, and still going strong. 

Our second year of marriage was full of lessons, both wonderful, and heart-wrenching experiences to learn from. Without that, we would not have grown to become a stronger couple, gained confidence as parents, and determined individuals. 

The biggest change we had in our marriage was becoming parents. As we watched my belly grow, we shared our fears, dreams, and hopes for our unborn son. We wondered what it was going to be like parents. Given our enormous love for our son, and that we would already give down our lives for him; we still silently worried that a baby was going to change our marriage in undesirable ways. Would we have time for each other anymore? Would we be good parents? Will we make a good team? 

A few weeks prior Forrest's arrival, our uncle had passed away due to a medical complication, and we held our hands at the memorial service as we lend each other strength to get through a sad occasion. Our family was strong especially our aunt. It was a true testimony of family coming together in a time of trial and tribulation to get through a painful moment. 

Suddenly, it was time to bring Forrest into the world. I sat in the backseat with tiny newborn buckled up in his car seat  and my eyes met with Stu's in the rear view mirror. We saw deep love for each other. We also saw new parents' concerns wavering through our sight. We silently spoke through our gaze to each other that we were terrified, and that was alright because we were going to make it. 

We did more than making it. We thrived. Forrest brought something so special into our relationship. He had enriched us. In his little, short life; he had taught us so much about ourselves, and to count our blessings. 

Stu worked long hours to support our growing family. He poured all of his heart into teaching, and coaching. On top of this, he diligently studied for his Master's degree in Administration. Stu got up in wee hours of the morning, barely had time to sit down for breakfast with Forrest, and I, and whisked out of the door before 7 am. He was often not home until past 7 pm, and on some nights especially school nights, he returned home at 9:30 pm. Stu worried that the hours he was often absent that Forrest would become used not having his daddy there. He often walked out of the door, teared up a little as he turned the key in his car, and hoped Forrest understood that the time he was putting in was to give Forrest opportunities, and good life down the road. 

I eased into a role of motherhood without much trouble. There was some tears shed about whether I was doing a good job of being a mom. I struggled to achieve a healthy balance of losing myself completely into being a mom, and retaining the woman I was prior having Forrest. I was overwhelmed by taking a precious little life that relied so much on me for survival, and not having much physical support from family, and friends since we lived 2 hours away from both of our families. I juggled housework, doctor appointments, mom-son outings, mother support groups, family time, marriage, taking care of the pets, taking care of myself, and raising a baby with a husband that was away quite often. It was a bumpy road in the beginning that turned into a smooth path. I learned that it was easier to laugh, and find humor in a beautiful chaos instead of giving into anxiety, and miss out on finding the silver linings in the grey skies. Once I did just that, I became confident, and relaxed as a mother. 

We decided that it was healthier for our marriage, and family to move out of our little flat to a bigger home in a smaller town. We already knew we wanted to return to the town where we both attended college, and found a perfect-sized home to raise our family. We put hard work into packing, and moved half hour away to our new home. 

It turned out to be one of our better decisions. We spent more time in the morning before Stu left to work. The pace went from being very harried to relaxed. I brewed a pot of coffee for both of us, and made breakfast for my men. I smiled with a cup of hot coffee in my hands as I looked at Stu, and Forrest eating scrambled eggs, and toasts while Layla's quivering nose determined whether she was going to get some leftovers. Yes, it was a decision well-made.

We are looking forward to what this year will bring to us, our marriage, and our growing family.

As it is our tradition that was bestowed by wonderful women at my bridal shower; I opened the jar with the stored letters, and searched for an envelope with 2 on it. 

I wondered briefly whose the handwriting belonged to, and what the letter inside had to reveal about our marriage. I opened the envelope, and immediately saw the name. It brought a big smile to my face. It was from one of my favorite family members, and my only living grandmother, Bernice. 

"May you be as happy as you were when you got married.
Be kind to each other.
May you have many years together.
Grandma Bernice Russ" 

Be kind. Those simple words resonate such a profound message especially in a successful marriage.
"Sometimes your spouse is the last person you'll show a little kindness to. He or she should be the first." A.J & Anne Jefferson, married July 18, 1946 (A Love That Lasts: Inspiring Insights from couples married 50 years and beyond). 

Indeed, Grandma Bernice, an advice well written.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ten Months Old

Dear Forrest,

You are 10 months old today. You're in double digits! These past 10 months have been a pure joy thrown in with some craziness in the mix.

You are a sprint-crawler. Oh my gosh, you go everywhere in the lightning speed. You started doing that a day before you turned 9 months old, and ever since, you've been crawling like nobody's business. Your favorite game is being chased by Daddy. You crawl as fast as you can then stop to look over your shoulder, and giggle at Daddy as he runs after you. When he nears you, you zoom off once again with that glimmer in your eye! Mama has to baby-proof all the exits to prevent you from escaping from your play area otherwise she spends the whole day chasing you! 

Along with your mastered skill of crawling, you are cruising. Earlier in the month, you took a few steps as you grasp your hands on the edge of anything you can put your hands on, and move cautiously until you reach your destination. Now, you are confident cruiser, and have no problem moving around on your feet as long as you are grasping on something! Unfortunately, that does mean you earn a bruise or two from falling. It does not deter your determination to continue cruising. 

You are adorable with your little one tooth. Daddy and Mama thinks you have another tooth on the way because you've been drooling exponentially lately, and you have a teething rash all over your cheeks. There is a white spot on upper gum. AND, there's a second tooth breaking through right next to your little snaggly tooth on the bottom gum! Soon enough, you'll have two lower incisors! Daddy jokes that you'll end up with a hilly-billy teeth by your first birthday. Silly Daddy. 

You are picking on signs! You are able to understand many signs that Mama is saying to you, and you are beginning to respond. You hate the sign NO, and clearly shows your dislike for being told no. It is so funny. Mama tries not to laugh when she tells you no, and your lower lip quiver just a few seconds before you throw your temper tantrum. You are able to sign MILK, MORE, and HELP. For the sign help, you lift your hands up in the air, and wait for someone to come along to scoot you along to what you need to have done. Your sign for more isn't perfect, yet you repeat until Mama or Daddy knows what you are asking for.  Mama is teaching you BATH, DONE, EAT, WATER, SHARE, DIRTY, CHANGE, SOFT, PLAY, MAMA, and DADDY in hopes you'll respond whenever you are ready. 

You had your 9-month check-up this month. You are 40% in height and weight, 28 inches tall, 20 pounds even, and like always, your head measurement is whooping big:  90%! You wear a few large 6-9 clothes (not 6 months clothes seeing that they no longer fit you), and are mostly now in 9-12 outfits. 

You are a regular food machine. You love everything in the sight, and will eat whatever that is given to you. The sky is limit for you, my little boy. The new food you've tried lately are hummus (a huge hit), chicken, ham, ice cream, blue berries, strawberries, rib meat, turkey, spinach, zucchini, squash, string beans, and cottage cheese. However, cottage cheese is off the book for you right now. It has too much diary for your little body. You ended up with a reaction on your elbows, which was the strangest spot ever, and a localized hive. No worries though, you will have it again when you are a bit older. You absolutely love ice cream, and will get your hands on it with every chance you get. You really love lasagna. You take after your Mama's heart with lasagna, don't you?

You are still in cloth diapers. Mama prefers pocket diapers the most for you because it is easier to wash especially when you have a big poop! Your poop has definitely changed since you started eating solids, but Mama will not go into details, and spare everybody else from reading about this. Because of the evolution of your poop, she prefers pocket diapers over other brands out on the market. You prefer cloth diapers over disposables because it is more gentle on your bottom. It is an investment well spent! Mama will cloth diaper your siblings due to such positive experience of cloth diapering with you! 

You are still getting boob milk as your main source of nutrition even with you eating meals three times a day. Even with boob milk, you are starting to drink water out of your sippy cup with a straw. You are offered your sippy cup mostly with your meals, and all day especially when it is hot outside. Matter of fact, you blazed through stage 1, and 2 cups. You wanted nothing to do with regular spout sippy cups. You spent time playing or chewing on the spout more than drinking of it. One day, Mama caught you drinking straight from her plastic cup with straw, and thought you might preferred baby cups with a straw. She went ahead and bought you one, and you took quickly to it!

Mama is considering about weaning you from nursing this summer. As much as you enjoy your boob milk, you are starting to get squirmy, and restless during the nursing sessions. You would very much rather crawl or cruise instead of laying still to eat. Even sitting in dark quiet room does not hold your attention for too long. You pull at Mama's hair, kick, scratch, and pinch while nursing. Needless to say, it is not enjoyable anymore for you, and Mama. On top of this, you are starting to nurse less, and less. Mama is a bit sad at the prospect of losing that special time with you yet at the same time, Mama knows that there is different ways to bond with you. Due to this, Mama is starting to work on weaning you in July, and hopefully by your first birthday, you will be transitioning to regular milk, and be down to at least 2 nursing sessions (morning and night).

Daddy and Mama pushed your bedtime to 7 PM from 6:00 PM, and it has done everybody a great deal of good. You are sleeping finally sleeping through the night, from 7 to 7:15 PM until 4-5 AM, barring nasty teething episodes that wakes you up in the middle night which is happening quite often now due to your second and possibly third teeth coming in. It appeared as you've had mostly weaned yourself from middle of night nursing sessions! No inference or help from Mama in this scenario--it was great to just follow your suit, and allow you to naturally do it on your own.

You absolutely love singing, and songs. Your favorite song is If You are Happy, and You know it, Clap Your Hands because Daddy sings that with you all of the time. You clap your hands, and wiggle your little bum. You break into a big smile every time when Mama comes in the bedroom, singing You are my Only Sunshine, and you absolutely love it. You enjoy Twinkle Little Star book that Grandpa Dave recorded for you. Mama turns on baby music with every chance she has because you are a little musician in the making. Perhaps you are taking after your musically inclined family members? 

You are very independent little baby. You like to do everything by yourself, and you can be so determined until you figure it out. Mama is following your suit, and allowing you to express yourself through what you like to do. It is so much joy to watch you grow, and finding out more of your personality. 

Daddy, and Mama loves you so much, our dear Forrest, and you mean the world to them. 

Mama & Daddy 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Liebster Award 2.0

Thanks to Jes's nomination, I have been awarded with Liebster Award button for my blog, and I am flattered to be bestowed with this! I've decided to follow the new guideline for the award because the google reader for you bloggers are going away shortly, and the rules are becoming kind of outdated. 


New guidelines for Liebster Award 2.0
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers on GFC, or Networked Blogs, or Google +, or Twitter, or Pinterest, or less than 200 likes on Facebook.
    • Also eligible are bloggers who have less than 200 posts
    • Also eligible are bloggers who have been blogging for less than 2 years.
  • Share your preferred way for your new readers to follow you!
  • Reveal 11 facts about yourself, and answer questions!  
 (Credited to Country Bunkin Mama). 

11 Fun Facts about Me:

  • I absolutely love graphic novels. 
  • I enjoy painting my nails with textured polish. Plain ones are boring.
  • I have a shoddy circulation so I'm always cold.
  • I love spelling ABC's really, really, really fast in sign language to wow people.
  • I love steampunk clothes. Absolutely love them! 
  • Sometimes I come off having a cool exterior, but I am a huge mushy on the inside. 
  • I can't stand seeing animals suffer. 
  • I love to cook especially new recipes.
  • I can't decide between Star Wars, and Star Trek. Damn you, Captain Picard for making it harder for me to decide!
  • Fall is my favorite season.
  • I love B horror movies. The crappier they are, the better they are! 

As a kid, what did you do that got you in trouble: I was the oldest kid in the family, and because of my role being the oldest, I felt I was being looked up to by my younger siblings. I was very well-behaved, and unassuming child with a lot of imagination. I lost myself in the books, and writing. I was a good kid.

What do you miss most about being a kid?: The freedom from responsibility. It was nice to not be burdened by worries that I have as an adult. I did whatever I wanted, spent my money without feeling guilty, had tons of time to explore my hobbies, and interests, and it was pretty easy to be a kid. 

What is your first memory of being excited?: I was six-year old when I was given a gift. It was an unassuming cardboard box, and my aunt asked me what I thought was inside the box. I was so excited, and shouted a Kangroo! I must be going through a kangaroo phase? As it turned out, it was a kitten named Winnie, and I had her for next twenty years. Loved that cat.

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?: I don't remember! Maybe a toy. 

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What story does your family always tell about you?: My dad always brought up by teasing me that I had a huge crush on David Hasslehoff from Baywatch, and I used to get so mad about that. I think he got a huge kick from my reaction of being embarrassed. I definitely DID not have a crush on David Hassleoff yet my dad insisted that I did. Har Har, Dad.

If you were to turn on your most used music device right now, what genre of music would be playing?: Rock, and alternative. 

Are you a night owl or a morning dove?: Hell, a night owl! I hate mornings, and would gladly sleep in. Unfortunately  my little boy is a morning dove, and because of that, I do get up early. At least I have a lot of things done by the time afternoon rolls around.

If you could travel in time just once, what year would you travel to?: Ooh, a tough one! I would really love to be present during huge social movement changes such as feminism, civil rights, and standing up against Vietnam war then going to all the concerts, and seeing great bands perform. At the same time, if there ever exists a time where it is post-apocalyptic with steampunk fashion, then I'm in. 
What is your favorite board game or card game?: Apples to Apples. 

Traveling only by car, where is your favorite road trip destination?: Door County. I love it up there. It's so beautiful. Sampling wine is also fun!

What is your favorite social media platform?: Facebook, and blogging. I can't choose one between them. I like staying in touch with my family, and friends. I also love blogging because I love to write. 

Nominations for Lebister Award

Questions for the nominates

Do you believe in destiny?
What was the best moment in your life?
Does your name match your personality?
If you can pick a movie that reflects the best about your life then what would you pick?
What makes you to be YOU?
What was the most embarrassing experience of your life?
How did you meet your significant other?
Explain your blog title, and what it means to you?
Who was your favorite professor/teacher, and why?
Would you lie to someone to spare his/her feeling or just say as it is?
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Come and follow me through Bloglovin! 
For non-bloggers, it is a site to save all of the blog you want to read.
For bloggers, our google reader list will go away by end of this month or early in July. This is a good place to transfer all of your blogs that you follow, and you won't lose them!
(Just click on the button icon below)

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Greatest Irony: Baby Signs

Ever since I became a mother, I was suddenly propelled into the marketing world, and I was bombarded with varying developmental toys, and tools for my son to learn. One of the developmental tool craze was to sell Baby Signs. Of course, the target audience was the hearing parents. It became a fad among hearing parents to teach their babies how to sign. 

The reasons are to teach babies to express themselves to prevent meltdowns, frustration, and anger from not being able to convey what they need from their parents. It alleviates the feeling of helplessness from the parents, wondering why is their child so upset, and what does he/she want from them. Also, the benefits of teaching a second language is vast, and it fosters a child's cognitive development in incredible ways that we can't begin to fathom. 

As a Deaf person, I have a mixed feeling about this for many reasons. I love the fact that my language is finally being recognized as a language, and I have a common ground with many hearing mothers. I enjoy seeing the benefits being reaped among the parents. I like being able to talk about using sign language, and seeing it in a positive light. 

At the same time, what I am torn about is that I meet so many hearing parents of Deaf babies, the hearing parents immediately turn to auditory approaches of oralism, cochlear implants, and speech therapy. They are so quick at wanting to fix their Deaf baby because they are overwhelmed by their grief of not having a hearing child. Are they in wrong for wanting to do this? I don't think so. I do believe that it is very overwhelming, scary, and sad to have a child with a disability. As parents, we want the best for our children, and we worry if we are doing the right thing for them. We worry that they will face hardships in life, having same experiences as their peers, and providing foundation for them to grow from. On top of this, hearing parents are bombarded by doctors, audiologists, and even other parents about what they should do with their Deaf child. The overwhelming majority will tell them to consider cochlear implant, speech therapy, and not to use sign language because it may hinder their ability to learn how to speak. Of course, not all hearing parents are quick to turn to this, and go straight to using sign language, early intervention, and immersing themselves into Deaf culture as much as they can. Even so, this is not very common or at least it is not in my experience among the hearing parents with Deaf children.

Among my Deaf and HOH friends, I only meet a handful people who are like me; who are blessed to have been exposed to sign language first, have had a minimal experience with speech therapy and hearing aids, had interpreters throughout our school careers, and are still using ASL as our primary method of communication. We are comfortable in our skins, our hearing loss, and not needing any hearing aids to get by in the hearing world. It is not that we are without challenges. Even with that, we are pretty okay with where we are. 

Not so many Deaf and HOH people have similar experiences. More often than not, they talk about how they had to go through intensive speech therapy to learn how to speak flawlessly, never quite achieving this feast, using hearing aids to get by, and feeling stuck between wanting to be themselves, and wanting to please their parents. Some eventually ends up rejecting hearing world completely while some others are busy rejecting Deaf world. Some are like me, they are pretty content with being in both worlds. I have noticed that some Deaf adults are very bitter about oralism was pushed upon them, and how they never had a chance to use their native language (ASL) in the first place. I understand that anger; the lifetime of oppression whether intentional or not, and feeling torn between wanting to fit in, and wanting to be yourself. 

It is why I am very uncomfortable at times when I see this very subtle undercurrent of oppression when it comes to Baby Signs. Some hearing parents slam baby signs, claiming that it is going to interfere with a hearing child's speech development, and there is where that underlying current of oppression lies. I am not saying that they are wrong or right for voicing this opinion. I am saying that they are unconsciously harboring that attitude that oralism is the only and the best way to use.

I am uncomfortable seeing people rejoicing at this very popular You-Tube video where a mother cries at the fact that her Deaf baby, having his cochlear implant turned on, hearing for the first time or when a Deaf child utters a single spoken word. Yet, nobody rejoices when a Deaf child explodes in a large vocabulary of signing. I certainly don't remember being praised for learning hundreds of sign when I was a child. I do remember being praised for voicing I LOVE YOU regardless how badly I had sounded. By the way, it is why I am very uncomfortable with speaking words--not because I feel conscious that my words have that Deaf accent, but because I am being praised for something that feels unnatural to me. 

In gist of all this, people praise when their hearing baby signs one or two words at time, and exclaims how great it is to be able for the baby to express her/his need for something. 

This does not make sense to me. 

Does it make any sense to you? 

The Greatest Irony: This cartoon illustrates the ironic paradox of not allowing deaf babies to learn ASL despite the large amount of research showing the benefits of doing so for hearing babies. The benefits of learning ASL can also be enjoyed by deaf babies if we all recognize and accept this fact! Celebrate ASL and Bilingualism for deaf babies everywhere! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Behind The Camera

More often than not, I am behind the camera, busily capturing life as it unfolds before my very eyes, and my subject is often my son. It is not very often that I find myself in front of the camera. I find that I am awkward when someone takes a picture of me. I feel "watched", and unnatural which leads to me being critical of how I look in the pictures. It is a bit strange because I have no problem getting on my knees, and snap away the button. I am not sure if this is a "photographer" thing. I put a quotation for photographer because I am, by no mean, a photographer. I happen to enjoy taking pictures, capturing life, and creating memories. I do not seek for any credit, or to show off my work. It just is. I love taking pictures. Love it. But me as a subject...not much so. 

A cow from Russ Family Farm, picture I took back in 2011 

I look at pictures of my son, and my husband or random things I happen to like, and take a picture of then I wish I have more pictures of myself. Now, it is not for vanity purpose, mind you. It is to leave something for my son, and any future unborn kids I may end up having someday to look at. I do wish I had more pictures of my mom from when she was younger. 

My mom claims that she doesn't like how she had looked, doesn't like the camera, and doesn't have time to be pictured. I respect that. At the same time, I do really like seeing pictures of her throughout her life. I see a graceful, beautiful, and a powerful woman in her right. I don't see what my mom claims to see. I see my mom. I won't have her forever in my life, and I would like something to look back on. 

My dad's work, please do not take without permission

The funny thing is, my dad is kind of the same way. I don't have much pictures of him. He is pretty much like me. Not really a fan of being in front of the camera. He prefers to be behind the camera. His work is gorgeous, and he has a gift with photography. That is why I wonder if it is a photographer thing not to be 100% crazy to be in front of the camera? Or maybe it's just my personality. Surely, I can't be the only one? Anyway, I figured that I needed to take more pictures of myself so my kids can look back and say, hey's that my mom.... So I will have to start taking more pictures with Forrest, or just by myself, and with Stu. Besides Stu, and I are a bit overdue to have a nice couple picture! 

Our recent weekend was really lovely. We went up to the Farm to get away from life for a bit, and enjoy ourselves. Stu wanted to spend his first Father's Day with family. I was game for it. I took a lot of nice strolls with Forrest, and the kids played together. Forrest had a lot of kick out of his new swing! We set up a date for Forrest's Baptism in July. By the way, I finally found a really nice white Polo Shirt for the baptism! 

Aunt RO, and Mom came up for a visit. They spoiled Forrest, and Forrest loved seeing them. We had a stroll in the Downtown, and it was lovely. Stu, and I agreed that we needed to go down for a visit to see the other side of family (my side) soon to catch up with everybody else especially with my dad's birthday coming up. 

It is hard to believe that June is nearly over. It feels like time is flying so quickly, and that July of 4th is coming up soon! I'm planning on enrolling Forrest in a swim class if everything works out. Our second wedding anniversary is coming up soon. It doesn't even feel like 2 years has passed by...yet it has. Stu is busy with starting up summer graduate classes, and teaching summer school. I am so glad that this will be his second to last semester because by next spring, he will be graduating, and it's one less thing on his plate! We are already planning to enter 5k (for me), and 1/2 marathon race for Stu. Because of that, we have been diligently searching for a decent running stroller that is affordable. It is definitely a quest in itself! 

I lost 2 potential strollers. Drat. I am keeping an optimistic attitude though, and we will snag one soon enough! Thinking positive here! Let's hope we will find one. Then it will make me one very happy Mama. 

I have a few "It's the Deaf Thing" topic ideas plucked out, and all they need to be typed down when I have time to sit down, and think without welcomed interruptions. I think those ideas are pretty good. I look forward to sharing them with rest of you! 

In the meanwhile, enjoy the rest of this beautiful day. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Day in the Pictures

This post is picture-heavy! So for some of you with slower internet speed connection, the pictures may upload slowly! :) 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Why Isn't Your Son Deaf?

The other day I had a conversation with a person, who shall remain unnamed, and it left me wondering how many hearing people carried the same assumption. Now, mind you, I am not saying that everybody thinks exactly this way, but the underlying assumption is there.

Person: You have a son, right?

Me: Yes. I have a 9-month old boy.

Person: Is he Deaf? 

This is a very common question that I do get from people upon them learning that I am Deaf, and a mother. It does not bother me in the slightest. 

Me: No. Forrest is hearing.

Person: Will he eventually end up having some kind of hearing problem? 
Me: I am pretty sure it won't happen. I don't have any hereditary Deafness  in my family. I am the only Deaf person in my family that I know of. I am married to a hearing guy. His family has no history of hearing loss. Therefore, there's a very slim chance of Forrest ending up with some kind of hearing loss later in his life. He is more likely to be a carrier that carries a Deaf gene. 

Some children of Deaf parent(s) do end up with hearing loss, but in many cases, most of children of Deaf parent(s) do not end up with hearing loss. You'll more likely find a child with a hearing loss that comes a hearing family. Hereditary hearing loss is not the main reason for the child's hearing loss in the hearing family. The child could have a hearing loss that formed in the womb before birth, or during birth, a result of illness, or a result of an injury. In my case, I am sure that I became Deaf before birth or shortly after birth, and because of that, my brother may be the carrier of Deaf gene. Then again, he could not be especially if I became Deaf after birth. It applies to Forrest as well. 

Me: If we are going around to use labels, then I would say that Forrest will end up being CODA. 

Person: CODA?

Me: Child of a Deaf Adult. It's what Deaf people call their children since they are hearing, and  they are still a part of our culture. 

Person: I am confused though.

Me: What is confusing for you? I can help to clarify as best as I can. 

Person: Well, I thought Deaf people only make Deaf babies. 

Me: It is not necessarily true in all cases. Deafness isn't always passed through genes. Yes, there are cases with generations of Deaf families, and that is definitely hereditary/genetic. It's not very common. A lot of Deaf people are born to hearing parents in hearing families. 

Person: But that does not make any sense. Blacks have black babies. Chinks have chink babies. Mexicans have Mexican babies.  
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I sat there, wondering for a moment if this person was truly uneducated, and have good intention, but happen to phrase thoughts in, how shall I say this nicely, wrong way? OR...was this person being an asshole? It was hard to guess seeing that chatting on internet did not exactly give you good prediction of what the person might be feeling while he/she was typing. Typed words can be so easily misinterpreted based on our internal feelings.

I normally see the good in people. Given my experience, it is often that people don't know how to say things, and they come out wrong.

So I figured that it was the case for this person. I waited a several beats, thinking how I can explain this, and make sense for this person to understand. Then it hit me. I decided to run with the assumption that the person had.

Me: That is a general assumption that people have. Deaf isn't race, or an ethnicity. It is a culture. You know, not all blacks have black babies, not all Mexicans have Mexican babies, and not all CHINESE, not Chinks-okay....Asians people have Asian babies. Sometimes, you do come across to a couple that are together, and have different skin color, and their baby have that pretty mixed complexion. Their genes make up their children's skin color. With me so far? 
Person: Yeah.

Me: It is kind of same for Deaf people. You'll meet some Deaf parent, who happens to be with a hearing parent, and they have a hearing child together. Sometimes, it's a hard of hearing or Deaf child. There are Deaf parents that end up having hearing children, and not have any Deaf children while there are other Deaf parents that do end up with Deaf children. Just because the parent(s) is/are Deaf doesn't guarantee that their children will end up Deaf. It is a genetic gamble. It depends a lot on hereditary hearing loss, history of Deafness in the family, your partner's genes, your genes, and the cause of your Deafness that will impact on your children. 

Person: That does make sense.

Well, I was glad to be of some help for this person.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Currently & Are You A No-Reply Blogger?


Conveting: A full night of sleep AKA at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. My little man's sleep schedule is all messed up, and I am determined to correct it. A warm weather. I'm sick of this rain, and chilly spells. The summer is here so it's high time to have summery weather! Cute outfits for Forrest to wear for his first birthday picture session that we will be doing with Michelle, but I have to be good, and hold off until July for that. Delayed gratification, my friend...delayed gratification

Imagining: What it would be like to have a warm weather so we can start planting our herbs. 

Asking: For patience. I'm having a hard time being patient, and I know that it will come before I know it. 

Saving for: A house. It's our ultimate goal. We are tired of moving from one place to another, but the truth to be told; we aren't nowhere close to settling down just yet. We are waiting on Stu to finish up his administration degree, and seeing where his job will take us to. 

Fearing:  I don't have any worries at this moment. Life is pretty good. Sure, I have some things I want to get started, but it is not at the point where I feel that I need to worry about them. 

On the side news, I recently learned something interesting about leaving comments to our blog posts, and I want to share it with you, my dear readers. For the longest time, I thought that my readers could get my responses via their emails, and get their questions answered. Well, my assumption was way off. 

Apparently, it depends on what you have set up in your blogger profile. I had it turned off in the first place, and it was why I was not getting any responses from leaving questions to other bloggers. Oops. I was a "no-reply" blogger for the longest time without knowing.......

So please click on the icon down below, and it will take you to a cute blog that is blogged by Lisette. She explains this way better than I can! Then you can fix this little blip!! :-)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

But, But You're Deaf?

My hearing friends, and I are sitting at a table outside on the patio at a restaurant. We are enjoying our company. Suddenly, there is a loud crash, and I turn my head around to try find the source of the sound. One of my friends is baffled, and asks, "You can hear that?"

I replied, "Yes." 

My friend says, "You're Deaf though?"

I nods.

My friend continues, "But...but, you are DEAF." 

I smile and nod my head once again. My other friend jokes, "She's just faking it." The first friend sits there, baffled, and unsure. 

Yes. I am Deaf. According to my audiogram chart, I am profoundly Deaf. 

And no, it doesn't mean I can't hear anything. 

Yes, I can still hear sounds. 

So many hearing people I have met are so surprised when I am able to hear a disruptive sound. The common assumption that people have about Deaf people is that we can't hear all. It is not true at all. 

There are Deaf people with varying degrees of hearing loss. 

For example, my friend, Nicole: She absolutely can't hear anything. There is void of sounds in her world. You can scream, shout, and clap the pots together as loud as you can, and she will still not hear you. Then there's my other friend, Teri: when she wears her cochlear implant, she pretty much can function like a hearing person, can speak on the phone, can talk pretty good, and carry on just fine yet when she takes her cochlear implant off, her world suddenly goes quiet, and she is unable to hear people speaking. Then there's my other friend, who is also profoundly Deaf like I am, can only hear low sounds. High pitch sounds? Forget it. She can't hear them. 

My world, for the most part, is silent. It is all I really know. From time to time, there's sounds that sneaks into my silent world. It can be a scream emitting from Forrest's mouth. It could be Layla's deep barking. Sometimes, it is a whistle coming from Stu trying to get my attention. Sometimes, it is a rumble of a tractor passing by me at the Farm. Or it is a loud laugh coming from my side. It does not bother me that I am able to hear those sounds. 

Matter of fact, one of my favorite things to do is to crank up my favorite CD in my jeep, and rock out to the music. Just ask my friends, and you will see.

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Does it make me wish that I am able to hear more? Sometimes. It stems from my curiosity than it is about feeling sad regarding not being able to hear. 

What's about Hard of Hearing people? Again, they have varying hearing loss as well. Some are on the verge of becoming profoundly Deaf, some can carry on pretty well despite their declining hearing loss, some can spend years, and years being on the "plateau" with their hearing loss. There are some people you can tell, by the sound of them talking, that there is some form of hearing loss happening with them while some others, you are surprised to find out that they are either HOH or Deaf. 

Just because we label ourselves Deaf or HOH doesn't mean our world is void of sounds. It is better to ask than assume. 

Even so, I still find it pretty funny when I see a reaction of a hearing person, who doesn't know me well, once they learn that I am able to hear sounds! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Quest Continues: Finding A Right Carrier

We had a really lovely time up at the Farm. I love it up there especially in the summer and early fall because everything is so green, and so beautiful to see the nature. It is nice to unplug from technology, and life for a short while to kick back, relax, and be with family. It seem to put me in a contemplative mood, and kick-start the ideas to write on my blog. Some posts I want to write should be coming up soon! 


For those who are wondering about my carrier, I have decided to return it back to the company, and I am a bit sad about that. It is a cute carrier, and I can't keep it just because it comes in a cute design. 

Well, Stu did try to adjust the strapping system, and got the straps tightened all way especially on my shoulders. Forrest ended up being high enough, and it felt comfortable to stand around with him in it. I had to wait a full week for the weather to make its mind up to stay warm to go hiking. When I finally got a chance to hike, I didn't like how the waist belt was digging into my belly, and the shoulder strap was all way up to the base of my neck. Forrest started to get lower in the carrier, and was not high enough anymore. We both were sweaty, and hot because he was squished up against my back from the straps being so tight. I did feel better this time around, and even with that, I was not 100% satisfied. Stu said that it was pointless to keep the carrier if I was not 100% satisfied, and ought be looking into a different carrier. I agreed. 

I started looking at ERGO sport carrier. It had its perks, and one of those perks I liked was more ventilation. However, one of my friends warned me that the waist belt on Sports version was likely going to present the same problem I had with Beco Soliel carrier. Ugh! However, the regular version was pretty good , by what I've heard, and I decided that I would rather try it on in the store or try to get it for trial try-out from ERGO company rather than buying it then ending up with the same problem! 

It is just really frustrating because I am not what you would consider petite. I am of an average build, and weight. I am tall, but not that extremely tall. My waist is the source of trouble. My waist is narrower than most people, and it is a pain in the ass especially with bra measurement. But I'm not going there....because it would be TMI, right? Anyway, it is like ugh.  

I am hoping I will find a right carrier for Forrest, and I. I am hoping to get the one that fits us well so I can take it with us for hikes, walking around at Wisconsin Dells, strawberry picking, and activities that may require Forrest to be baby-worn. For example, the other day I went to Barnes and Noble bookstore, it is when a carrier would come in SO HANDY because holding a squirmy twenty-pound baby killed my arms. 

I don't want to have lug my heavy Graco stroller everywhere with me. It is really nice, and I do love it. I use it everyday in the morning when I walk with Turkey (Layla), and Forrest loves riding in it. It is not always ideal to bring with me especially to rough terrain areas, or it takes up so much space in my jeep trunk. It can be a pain. Literally. I end up with multiple bruises on my legs just from lugging it around. 

For the bruises on my legs, people quickly look at them, and look at me with a puzzlement on their faces, and I have to assure them that I am not being beaten up. Okay, a bad joke to be using here. But seriously, I think that beating has crossed their minds. My legs are just horrible. I have been taking my prenatal vitamins, and gotten better at eating iron-rich food yet I still get bruises. If I don't have my cup or two of coffee then I'm just so fatigued. I may be borderline anemic for all I know. I promise I'm not that negligent of my health, and will be looking into it. I may have to get back on iron supplement again. 


I am eager to cross off some items off my bucket list this month such as visiting the horses, starting hitting up the farmer's market, strawberry picking, planting the herbs, and visiting Wisconsin Dells. Hopefully, I will be able to find a good carrier by then.