Saturday, July 21, 2012

scattered thoughts on understanding...

Today, I was excited to be able to take the kiddos to this:

As soon as the show began, I found I was struggling to hold back the tears. Not only because my babies were so enthralled with the music and signing,

but because I saw children being understood. Valued. I saw parents--the vast majority young like me--being lifted and helped for an hour. I saw them holding up their deaf babies and maybe feeling as if they were being a little lifted.

And then, I wished that there was something like this for Noé. Perhaps there is, and I will be looking for it. That's the thing with Noé's struggles. They are often so hidden, so hard to pin down. Deafness, though a great challenge, seems that in some ways it would be so much easier to "treat". To know how to help, equip. I speak as one who knows nothing of raising a deaf child, just musing.

Another thing that pricked my eyes as I sat there was the feeling that a parent that has a child with any kind of challenge--be it physical, behavioral, emotional, mental--seems to automatically understand another parent in the same boat. Though the struggles may in a visual sense very different--there is a commonality there that seems to instantly bond you to another parent. You read their kids differently, exchange tired, knowing glances. Smile at behavior others may identify as strange or inappropriate.

On a flip side, I realized this concert was not really in synch with Noé's needs. Rey worked for several years at a deaf school as a single guy, and I remember being surprised (as nearly every other visitor) when I went to the school at how noisy it was. I guess I assumed that a school for deaf children would be... quiet! Full of children happily signing away. Quite to the contrary! The kids can't hear themselves, so the walls would literally be echoing with all kinds of shouting, squawking, grunts and whatever other kinds of noises the kiddos could make to express their excitement, sadness, frustration or need for attention.

That's how it was at the concert. Any time between songs, the noise and "crazy meter" was way up. There was constant shouting, talking, running and "odd" noises. Noé really needs noise to "make sense", be organized and on purpose, so by the end of the concert, he was very withdrawn. Pulling his blanket over his head and humming to himself. Pretty unresponsive to me... so we left a tad-bit early. (By the way--Aleni took the signing very seriously and worked hard to imitate correctly.) ;)

But, as soon as we got outside to the lovely silence of the outdoors, he perked right up.

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