You know when your toddler learned a new word a few days ago and then tries to say it again, but can’t quite pronounce it? Even though you ask him or her to repeat it, a lot of the time you still can’t figure out what he or she is trying to say, right? It’s like that for me every single day.
The Deaf school that my son, Alex, attends is a godsend in many ways. But he comes home with a heightened vocabulary that I just can’t comprehend. And it’s not as though I can look it up. I can find words I want to sign because I know how they are spelt. But finding a sign in the dictionary when you don’t know what the sign is, is like trying to figure out what written Chinese means.
So Alex dumbs it down for me. For instance, he was trying to explain to me the other day that his friend had invited him over to his place to play. But I didn’t know the sign “invited.” I got the friend’s name, (which is a task all on its own, because names are invented by Deaf people on a person to person basis) and I got the sign for “go” and “house.” While I was trying to tell Alex he couldn’t go, he was signing, “I was invited.” Seeing that Mom wasn’t understanding him, yet again, he went the long way around.
Alex: [Friend’s] mom talked to [friend], told me fine, [friend] asked me to go to his house.
Me: [Friend’s] mom said okay you go?
It’s like living with a game of charades.
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.