Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Guest Post by Joey of BTaC

 The following is a guest post by Joey from If you would like to write a guest post, please contact me with your idea. At this time, I am not interested in guest posts for advertising or those that are specifically about a technology that I do not/have not used. Thank you!

Our house has a nifty feature that wasn’t advertised by any real estate listing.  Twice a summer, there are fireworks we can see from the street right outside our house.  In July, we made our 5-year-old daughter, Julia, take a nap so she could stay up to watch the display.

The neighborhood kids are a nice bunch.  There are four other little girls under age 12 that play with my girl regularly.  They understand about her hearing aids and though they’re not perfect at compensating for her communication needs, they get along really well.  There is one boy, age 6, in the neighborhood.

This boy never comes out to play.  He doesn’t care for the girl dominated street or whatever.  He made a rare appearance on this evening of the fireworks. 

He wasn’t really paying attention to the show, so someone drew his attention to the fact that there was music being played.  It was far distant music that I could hardly hear myself. 

This boy walks up to my daughter, my sweet angel with her hot pink, purple, and white ear molds.  He gets right up to her and asks, “can you HEAR that music?  Can you?  Can you hear it?  It’s like doo, doo do do.”

The whole interaction took just a couple of seconds.  Julia said that she could hear it, which may well have been a lie.  The boy lost interest and went away from her.

I was left with tightness in my chest for the rest of the evening.  I had a whole fantasy sequence where I held that little boy by the shirt and told him that he will never be permitted to speak to my child again.  My palms felt sweaty and my heart was beating too fast.  Where did he get off talking to her like that?

When we were inside and Julia was in bed for the night, my husband and I talked about the incident.  We agreed that he was not being a nice kid.  He probably isn’t a nice boy.

There are a lot of boys and girls in the world that aren’t nice.  Julia will be meeting all sorts of kids this year in kindergarten.  I will be not be there to assess their intentions.  She will be alone.

Though I’m frightened for her, I’m glad too.  I can’t take it.  Julia clearly can.  And really, it’s hers to handle.  So until she comes to me with one of these stories, I really should stop worrying.
If only that were my nature.


  1. Yes I can understand the worry, but the boy may not really understand what deafness is like, and when he went away like that, well he probablly did not mean anything by it.

    I remember when I was 9 years old, a friend of my Mum's came round every Sunday. She was a lovely old lady. Now I never really understood how deafness affeacted you in anyway, but I knew I had to speak clearly, and never cover my mouth, as explained by my Mum, because she's deaf and lipreads. I was fascinated I remember, but again I never really asked any questions, but I remember I used to look forward to her coming round every Sunday.

    When your child has been at school for a while, see how she is getting on, especially with that boy in question. Do you know the parents of that boy, if so, maybe you could all get together for a general fun day or friendly chat, and watch how your kids get on, and how they interact, while you just chat with the parents on whatever, on like tv or something.

    Then while you get to know one another, you can talk about each others kids in general, and see how you go from there, on how far you'd like to talk about your kids, like your daughters deafness. It may spark question from the other side, which you can answer. And if they are clueless about deafness, then they will take in what you say. It will be a learning curve.

    Good luck and all the best for your daughter at school. :)

  2. I enjoy reading Guest posts, it's nice to have something little different on the blog. Hope Julia will have a great year and as the year goes on you can stop worrying about her, hugs!!

  3. Joey,

    I can relate so well. Katya just started first grade and said that a boy in her class kept asking her about her hearing aids - specifically about why she needed them. She said she kept saying "because they help me hear better." Apparently he wouldn't let up, but it didn't seem to bother Katya - it bothered me so much more. Fortunately, the little boy must have shaped up because now she says he doesn't bother her and is actually nice. Part of me thinks it's just little boys doing what they do to little girls to get their attention - be mean to them. But part of me worries that it's only because she's a little different than her peers.

    It is their battle to fight, but I had a similar fantasy about telling the little boy to leave my little girl alone!


  4. Rebecca- I went through the exact same thing as Katya, although it probably bothered me a bit more. I always got the question "What's in your ears?" and I would just say "They're to help me hear better," but that was never a good enough answer. One time, after giving my usual response, a girl responded, " hearing aids?" and that's when I realized I should be a little more descriptive. Once kids fully understood, then they didn't really seem to care.

  5. Joey, I can relate. It hasn't really happened to us yet -- the closest was when a grandfather of a child (neither of whom we know) at the playground said to me, in a really brusque way, "So what's with all this?" waving vaguely toward Ben's equipment. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he just had a rough nature, and gave him my usual chirpy explanation. But it certainly *felt* rude. But I know that once kids are in school, they like to identify a scapegoat, someone whom everyone can taunt with immunity, and I'm terrified it will be Ben. Almost surely not, but it's hard not to worry.

    PinkLam, thanks for the comment on my blog. I *knew* I should address the kids, not the parent, but I didn't know how and I panicked. So, temporarily granting you the authority to speak for all CI kids age 8 to 18, what would you say is the best conversation starter? I've heard that some tweens and teens just don't want to be noticed at all, but most people appreciate making contact with another CI family. Is there a pretty safe way to get going?

  6. Hmm- There are, admittedly some teens who would be mortified if you approached them about their CI, especially if they were out with friends or something. Most of my teen friends with CI would be excited that you went up to them, although there are a few that do everything they possibly can to hide their processors, and probably wouldn't be too happy if you noticed them. :P I, for one, would be delighted if you went up to me (and had adorable Ben in tow) asking about my CIs.

    I would say if the processors are visible, make eye contact, smile, and do some sort of gesture demonstrating "my kid has one too!" and seeing how they react. If they quickly turn away, it's probably best that you keep walking. If they smile back, it's probably safe to strike up a conversation. Something along the lines of "This is Ben, he loves meeting people who have CIs too! How long have you had/how do you like/ yours?" (varies by age, of course)

  7. Sadly, I'm almost 100% sure that the only reason the kid would ask Julia if she could hear the music was because she was wearing hearing aids. I'm also nearly 100% sure he meant what I thought he meant by it. I know the family and though the daughter is my favorite 10-year-old ever, the boy is well... not. Thankfully he's a year older and we won't have occasion to interact with him much. Plus I'm sure at some point his sister will put him back in line!

    Thanks for the opportunity to guest post here!


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