Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Deaf Kids On A Boat

Ok, so not ALL of them were Deaf, some were Hearing Impaired. I visited the difference here.

There is a support group in town, for families with kids with hearing loss, and they chartered this boat for a couple hours yesterday.

A founding member of the group lives in my neighborhood. Her son has two cochlear implants, and is mainstreamed in the public school.

(In case you're wondering how I feel about mainstreaming my kid.)

A big contingent from Owen's school were going to be aboard.

I had prepared myself for an Us and Them vibe. Two groups of parents, faced with the same challenge but choosing drastically different paths.

I had prepared myself to feel superior to these parents who'd made the other decision.

But first.

I ran into a high school classmate and her delicious three year old Deaf nugget. Owen tackle hugged her and grabbed her hand.

Several more Deaf classmates and tackle hugs later, we all climbed aboard.

A hundred and twenty five of us; Mommies, Daddies, brothers, sisters, grandparents, of these Deaf and Hearing Impaired kids.

I was happy to see that there were more Deaf people than I'd anticipated. A few sets of Deaf parents even.

One Deaf Mommy was sitting behind Owen and Katie. She tapped them and started a conversation, in sign of course.

You know how hard I had to try to NOT cry, watching this exchange? Really hard. It was awesome.

And though I'd forgotten to feel superior to the other parents, I wondered how this woman felt, seeing the hearing aid or cochlear implant clad kids that couldn't sign.

Would she be offended that those other parents had denied their children her world? Her hot Deaf husband's and her beautiful Deaf daughter's world?

I'd say they are a cute couple, but rumor among the kids is that she and Owen's buddy Nick have a little sumthin' sumthin' goin' on.

There was a ton of food, activities, a scavenger hunt, and lots of prizes for the kids. Mostly, Owen and his friends just ran around like maniacs.

The Hearing Impaired kids did exactly the same.

Conversations amongst us Hearing folk were conducted in shouts on the noisy windy deck. The Hearing Impaired had a tough time, and mostly stayed down below where there was less noise.

The Deaf were at a distinct communication advantage; they could "talk" anywhere, no matter how noisy.

Don't worry. Soon after this hideous sea hag grabbed a hold of sweet little Owen, he was saved by a brave Daddy who tossed the hag overboard.

Lotta Lotta Deaf (and Hearing Impaired) kids.

Tackle hugs goodbye. Can you stand it? Gawd they're cute.

These two can't get enough of each other. After running around the boat for two hours, they ran around and wrestled for another hour.

As they played, other Deaf kid parents and I gushed about our kids, their love for each other and their school.

One Mommy had considered taking her girls out and placing them in the public school. I was heartbroken when I'd learned this a few months ago. I didn't quite understand the decision, but never questioned her.

She has since changed her mind. She said yesterday that she'd realized that what she wants for her girls may not be what is best for them.

We all want our kids to fit in, but nobody fits in everywhere.

Some parents just want 'normal' kids. I sort of don't blame them, even though I've thankfully learned that normal is highly overrated.

All of us parents on that boat had our special children in common.


Their children share a disability.

Our children share a history, language, and culture.

And in my correct opinion, their lives will be richer for it.


  1. I love you SO MUCH for these last two posts!

    This attitude is so sorely lacking in our society. And I find it so sad. Even if I do understand that parents want their kids to be "normal"...what does it say to kids when they know they can never be as "normal" as anyone else, and that is what their whole life is based around? Failure at the core. So sad.

    Go you for providing everything you can to your (RIGHT!) kid!

    *tackle hug*

  2. Hmmm, it showed up in my reader weird, I was referring to this post and the "Pantless telling off" one ;-) And now the Deaf one you linked to! I want every parent faced with a Deaf child to come to your blog :-D

  3. Can't believe you allowed your likeness to be pixelated. Great post, great kids, can't handle the cuteness.

    Lyle Lovett sings a song with the lyrics "and if I had a pony, I'd ride him on my boat" followed by "kiss my ass, I bought a boat and I'm goin' out to sea". Seems oddly appropriate to this post/blog. Great song.

    Glad a good time was had by all!

  4. i think signing is one of the most beautiful languages ever

  5. I must say I hate when people say they want to be normal. What the fuck is normal anyway? If I knew what normal was then I might not want to be normal. I think I prefer who I am just like Owen even if we are considered not normal.

  6. First of all, I LOVE the sharing a culture vs. sharing a disability.

    And B.-why does that hag have Owen's eyes and Owen's nose?


  7. I love it when you write like this.

    It gets lonely when you're in the minority, and you forget the other side of the coin, there is good that comes from this.

    My son has made me a better person. He truly has.

    This was so very real to me.

    Thank you.

  8. Hey! I can pass for normal - if you don't know me too well! Lovely post and pics- great points. Each parent learning these life lessons has to stumble through it their own way, find their rudder and sails so to speak. Hugs all around but don't knock me down!

  9. givingherallshesgot: *tackle hug* back at ya... I think they may show up funky in readers cause I'm reposting from the old blog and giving it the original date it was posted... that make any sense?

    DarcC: I know that Lyle song! I saw him in VT once, on a ski hill... total blast.

    And that is NOT me, it's a sea hag... sheesh.

    Sherri: yeah, I know. ;)

  10. honestly have such a since of community reading this post! I love the boat trip... seriously, I know you disagree, but you get mom of the year!

  11. I've never once met a "normal" kid...any attempts of making a kid something they aren't will come up short and leave everyone disappointed/hurt.

  12. What an awesome story. And great pictures. I love tackle hugs. My niece and nephews love to give those, too! :)

    Have a super fab day!

  13. What a great perspective on the different sides of the issue. I don't have a deaf child, but I can imagine the decision would be difficult.

    Popping over from SITS

  14. My Google reader sucks ass and hasn't been keeping up with your new awesomeness.

    My thoughts:

    1. "Owen"? He's gonna be pissed if he ever finds this blog.

    2. There are more photos of the Loch Ness monster than there are of you. I don't know why, 'cause you're a hottie.

    3. Lurved this post with all of my heart and soul.

  15. I love your conviction and your honesty, you adorable sea hag.

    And you're right, nobody fits in everywhere. Having somewhere you do fit that you love and loves you back, is a magical rarity that can do wonders for anyone's self esteem.


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