Life in progress

Facts of Life – #AtoZ Challenge


When learning any language, we start with the basics, introducing ourselves, explaining where we live, etc. Then we begin to learn the names of things so we can ask for them. All of this is fairly straightforward. But when we learn a new language, we’re normally doing it for ourselves, for travel or to communicate with a native speaker. We’re not usually learning it in order to teach a child his or her first language.

While pointing and naming is all well and good, children ask why things are the way they are. It’s practical. How do we know the difference between the consequences of stealing a cookie versus running out into the middle of a busy intersection? Hopefully not by experience. Obviously, the consequences of getting hit by a car was something I learned to communicate to Alex early on. But what about the more innocent stuff?

Why is the sky blue? How do wireless electronics work? Why is this Russian/Korean/Indian show on my laptop but it’s not on TV, like The Price is Right is? (He watches shows from all over the world; spoken language is of no consequence to him.) I have no way to answer many of his questions, short of becoming completely fluent in Sign Language. The closest place to receive such an education is in Toronto (Ontario, Canada), which is too far to commute to, to take classes I have neither the time nor the money for at the moment.

I might have advanced my education more after Alex was born, but the courses in Ottawa only went to a certain level. On top of that, we lived in the Province of Quebec – a province that has its own Sign Language (Langue des signes du QuΓ©bec). Finding a professional to teach Alex American Sign Language in Quebec was next to impossible, and the only Deaf school for children in Ottawa teaches LSQ. So we packed up and moved to Ontario, to a city with a school whose primary language is ASL.

I do hope to learn more Sign someday. For now, I’m doing the best I can with help from his teachers.

My A to Z theme concerns the joys and challenges of being the hearing mother of my Deaf son, Alex. To learn more about his beginnings in life, click here to go to my first A to Z entry.

Author: Linda G. Hill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

27 thoughts on “Facts of Life – #AtoZ Challenge

  1. I have seen your name so many times (most often in connection with OM’s blog) and yet have never read about this part of your life before. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for loving and being devoted to Alex, and for still having time to write. Amazing.


  2. I’ve never understood why they couldn’t have standardised signing years ago, it’s not as if various nationalities have trouble with different hand signals; the Germans aren’t going to pronounce all the “w” signs as “v” or anything are they, that’s kind of the point of having it in the first place.


  3. I’m just showing up at your blog so am definitely going to go back to the beginning. I can’t imagine how tough this would be. I’ve learned some sign language but it’s hard! I also think it’s quite beautiful. We have a signer at church and I find myself mesmerized by the language. I wish you much success.

    Stopping by from John’s team,
    Michele at Angels Bark


  4. You are a hard working, loving Mom.


  5. You would think that one universal sign language would be seen as being important. I would agree that every school should teach the basics.


    • They should. It’s a great language, even if there are no Deaf people to speak to.
      And yeah, a universal sign language would be handy, but who would give up what they already have? It would be like saying everyone in the world should speak English. πŸ˜›

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! I’m moved by your comment about how the language of movies is of no consequence. It reminds me of the way bands will do world tours and draw huge crowds sometimes in tongues other than English. Human emotion is perceptible beyond words.


  7. This first idea that popped into my mind about learning without the need for travel, was YouTube. You can learn practically anything there. You might be able to become fluent without ever leaving your home. I think it’s neat that he is able to watch shows from all over the world without being hindered by the language piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Truly, these posts are very insightful. I’m encouraging Sassy to take ASL when available and for all of us to learn some more now.
    I can only imagine what it’s like to have taught Alex to fear/respect traffic. Our fully functioning ears are often our first warning system for danger! To not hear traffic, jets, weed whackers, lawnmowers, saws…hearing children definitely have an advantage there, as do their parents!
    Great post.


    • Thanks, Joey. Yes, it’s a noisy world out there. I can’t imagine not being a part of it.
      I do encourage you to all take some level of ASL if one of you does. It’s near to impossible to remember it alone, but if you all use it, you’ll go much further. πŸ™‚


  9. You know, I never thought of that. Of course the parent of a deaf child must know sign language; I just never thought about the actual process–and challenges!–of learning it. Which seems rather stupid in my part, but also (and I don’t mean this as any sort of excuse for me) on the part of society as a whole. Why don’t we all get courses on Sign in school? I have no idea on the percentages, but I’m fairly sure a lot more people can do Morse code than sign. Why not include Sign in every school curriculum? Hmmm… something to think about πŸ™‚

    Great post, Linda. I’ll be back for more.
    Guilie @ Life in Dogs

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think every school should teach basic Sign. There are Deaf people in every corner of society – it’s not like living on the border of a different-speaking country where it’s obviously handy to be bilingual.
      Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting! πŸ˜€


  10. Honestly, I thought you were going to talk of the joys of THE FACTS OF LIFE in sign language! !!

    Liked by 1 person

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