Day in the life of a Deaf mom…
This morning my son climbed up on the couch with the sweetest smile on his face. Propped on his knees, he reached around me to give me a loving hug. I told him how much I love him and how sweet he was for giving me a hug. Hug finished, he started to get down and then I was completely drenched in lukewarm coffee.
It turns out that the child wasn’t trying to give me a hug after-all, but just trying to get to my mug of coffee behind me on the railing. Sighs.
So began my morning. While folding a mountain of clothes in the living room, I noticed that I had not felt the vibrations of little feet in several minutes time. Alarm bells started to go off in my tired head.
“Wait,” you ask.”What do you mean by feeling vibrations? What are you talking about?”
The good thing about being deaf is that sometimes we develop ways to compensate for one sense by being extra sensitive with a different sense. For me, I am extraordinarily sensitive to vibrations. So sensitive that I have been awakened before from the vibrations of my own heartbeat while asleep on my belly. I once sat on a floating dock across from my dad in chairs as we talked to each other. While gazing across the river, I felt a strong vibration travel toward me, up my chair, and through my body. I jumped in alarm and asked my dad what the sound was (because vibrations almost always mean a sound). He looked totally shocked and began laughing. Apparently the source of vibration was from him farting. We laughed until we cried on that particular event.
The ‘sound’ of my cat jumping down from a counter usually hits my body like a wave. A motorcycle from down the street stopping at a stop sign feels like a series of waves hitting my torso at decreasing and then increasing strengths. Its uncanny.
As you can guess, my poor son doesn’t stand a chance. Unlike hearing mothers who unconsciously keep tabs on their kids by listening, I keep tabs on him by feeling the vibrations. For example, I can tell by the strength of his quick steps where he is in the house and where he is going. I can feel him if he is anywhere upstairs, on the stairs, foyer, or if he hits a wall from anywhere in the house, both upstairs and downstairs, even if I am on the opposite floor. I know by feeling which door he is slamming. I can tell which toy he is using based on the pattern of his steps or the vibrations that the toy makes. I can feel him move chairs or furniture, and thus what he is getting into. I know when he is bothering the dog and when he is quietly reading his books in his room. I can feel when he is emptying his dresser drawers not by the feel of the items hitting the floor, but rather by the feeling the drawers make when he slams them shut again. I can even tell if he is getting into the tupperware/glassware cabinet or the pots/pan cabinet. All of this purely from feeling vibrations.
Anyhow, like I was saying, the lack of vibrations set off alarm bells for me. I got up and went to investigate him in his room, since that is where I felt him go last. When I got there, that child had somehow gotten his hands on some candy I bought to give out for Halloween. His face, hands, shirt, pants, and even his LEGS were covered with the chocolate from 3 mini kit-kat bars! He used his many chompers to open the packages, and then he went to town on the chocolate bars. He startled when he saw me, and then gave me the biggest, most mischievous smile he can. He looked at me, held out the last candy bar, and said, “MMMM! Yummy!”
A day in the life…