Linda G. Hill

Life in progress


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#SoCS – Language

I find the mechanics of language both fascinating and frustrating. The acrobatics your tongue needs to accomplish when making its way around different languages is something I’ve never really mastered. I know enough French to make my way around Quebec without getting arrested–in Japan… let’s just say if I was about to be arrested, I was totally oblivious. Yet in the case of speaking French, I barely do. I can read most of it, and I can understand a lot of it when someone is speaking to me, but actually forming the words myself? I trip over my tongue like it’s six feet long. When I lived on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, my local grocery store employees were used to me. They’d speak French, I spoke English, everything was understood and there was no gross salivation to worry about.

Japanese is a much easier language to speak. There’s very little tongue rolling going on, and most of the consonants sound the same as they do in English. Reading it? Pfft. Although I got to know the kanji for place names when I was there (because at the train stations they’re displayed in English, kana, and kanji), and obviously I learned the difference between “Men” and “Women” before I stepped off Canadian soil, much of the written language may as well be Greek. Or Japanese.

Lip reading, on the other hand, is a whole different subject when considering the tongue. Try it: say “dada” and “data.” Concentrate on what your lips look like when you say the two words. No difference. What changes is the position of the tongue. Even trying to say it with your mouth open, it’s impossible to show the difference to a deaf person. I was introduced to this difficulty when my Deaf son, Alex, was about four years old. The local children’s hospital (CHEO in Ottawa) had him in a program to see if he could ever learn to speak. He had hearing aids at the time, but they only allowed him to hear very loud noises. Speech wasn’t one of them. Eventually it was determined that because he never learned to suck as a baby (he’s tube fed to this day and he’s 16 years old) he’d never have the muscle control to speak. We gave up on the hearing aids when he started getting ear infections every other week. But back to the tongue. There are a few sounds that we make when we speak that are impossible to discern from our lips.

Holy spit balls, Batman! I just realized where the expression “mother tongue” came from! Sucking as a baby!!

…and, now I can’t concentrate on my stream of consciousness anymore.

This post is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. To find the rules and join in, click the following link. Please do – it’s fun!! https://lindaghill.com/2017/05/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-1317/


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Angriest, a #SoCS Rant (with swear words and everything)

There are a few things that annoy me about people, but what gets me angriest is when people get annoyed at my kids. This rant is brought on by a trip to the grocery store earlier today and a woman behind us in line. There isn’t much room once you’ve paid for your groceries and you’re packing your own bags. Alex, my Deaf son, was helping me – I was standing at the end of the belt and he was moving things closer to me while standing in the lane where we came out after paying. There was a woman there with a cart who had just paid for her groceries. All she had was a cart full of cases of pop (soda, for those of you in the U.S.). When I turned, after she had raised her voice (I didn’t know she was there) she was saying to Alex that she just needed to get out, that she didn’t have to pack anything, she would just very much appreciate it if we’d excuse her.

Normally an “excuse me” doesn’t require that much explanation, so it occurred to me that she’d probably been saying it to Alex for a while. He had his back turned to her, so he didn’t know she was there. As she walked away, she looked at me and said, “Thank you very much for moving out of the way.” Waaay over the top, even for a Canadian. So I said, “Sorry he didn’t move right away, he’s Deaf.” Or I tried to say that, but she cut me off: “No, no, no, no, I really appreciate it!”

Fuck you, sarcastic bitch.

I want to say I wish people wouldn’t judge, but I realize I’m judging her. Maybe she’d been having a really hard day? But does she need to take it out on us?

I always say that you can make someone’s day with a smile, no matter who they are. Even if they’re a stranger. You can also ruin someone’s day by being sarcastic and jumping to conclusions. Or rather jumping to conclusions and then being sarcastic.  Or maybe I’m just overreacting because I want to protect my son.

One way or another, be nice out there. And be patient.

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This post is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Check out the rules and join in here: https://lindaghill.com/2016/09/16/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-1716/


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#SoCS – Advice needed from parents and horrible grammar

“If you let the dog out of his crate, you’re not getting your lemonade stand today.”

That’s how today’s disaster started. Over and over again I tell my mentally delayed son that if he doesn’t do as he’s told, he’ll suffer the consequences. And over and over he goes ahead and does the opposite anyway. And then we all suffer the consequences.

I’m sure he understands the “if/then” concept. But like a two-year-old (he’s 15), he enjoys pushing his boundaries. He is, in fact, caught somewhere between the terrible twos and puberty. The “what ifs” and “I can do what I want.” And it’s scary.

It’s been so long since I’ve raised a child in a normal situation, that I don’t really remember how long it usually takes a child to understand consequences. It’s normally after a few failures, isn’t it? I’m asking the parents of “normal” toddlers and young kids. If you add the deafness and the fact that Alex and I don’t speak the same language to the mental delay, my situation is hardly “normal.” I want to add to this that I am very consistent. If I say there will be a consequence, I stick to it, no matter how long the screaming, hitting, and breaking things goes on. Him, not me. But I’m tempted sometimes. 😛

To be fair, it’s not a very good day for a lemonade stand today anyway. It’s cool, cloudy, and there aren’t many people about. I promised him next week, if he can be good.

So instead he’s gone with his brother for a ride on the city bus. On the way back home I was listening to the radio in the car (from dropping them at the bus station) and the announcer said the following:

“Get your face painted or get your kids’ faces painted. It don’t matter.”

This in regards to a festival going on in the next town. Wouldn’t you think they’d hire people at a radio station with maybe not impeccable, but at least good grammar? Am I being too picky?

So anyhoo, if I’m not around too much next weekend, you’ll know I’m outside in my driveway selling lemonade. We’ll see what the weather’s like then.

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This post is part of the fun that is Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link to see how you can join in too! https://lindaghill.com/2016/07/15/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-1616/


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#atozchallenge – Reflections times two

I learned a lot from both of my A to Z Challenges.

First, I wasn’t sure I had enough material to pull off the theme I chose for this blog, which was parenting a Deaf child as a hearing mother. I was afraid I’d repeat myself. I don’t think I did. In the process of writing it, I also learned that what I do without really thinking about it on a daily basis is extraordinary. Not to say that I believe myself to be special, but like anything we do until we are no longer conscious of the mechanics of it, whether it’s touch-typing, driving a car, playing a video game, or whatever it is we do well, if we take the time to break it down into steps, we can usually find ourselves awestruck that our brains can do so much at once. Putting it that way, I don’t think I’m any different than anyone. I just have a different set of circumstances.

At the same time, I hope by sharing my life and what it’s like to survive as a Deaf person, I’ve raised some awareness for those who may never know, but who might meet by chance, someone who cannot hear. They are everywhere. To find my challenge from the beginning, click here: https://lindaghill.com/2016/04/01/all-about-alex-atoz-challenge/

For my second challenge, I took on the task of showing rather than telling different characteristics of people in fiction. I learned that it’s not easy, when writing less than 200 words, and in some cases only 50, to pull a virtue or flaw out of a character and relay it sufficiently. I’m sure I failed a few times, but hey, it was an exercise to better my craft. We learn from our mistakes as well as our successes.  You can find the start of my fiction A to Z here: https://lindaghillfiction.com/2016/04/01/apathetic-a-z-april-blogging-challenge/

As much fun as this year’s A to Z was, I admit I’m glad it’s over. As well as editing my epic paranormal romance novel, I’m also planning to self-publish my A to Z fiction (a romantic comedy novelette) from two years ago. I’ve promised myself the latter will be available for sale next month.  On a related note, as you may know, I plan to turn this year’s A to Z on parenting a Deaf child into a book. Therefore, I’ll be removing it from view on my blog at the end of this month. If you haven’t read it all yet, and want to before I compile it for publication, do it soon!

It’s been great meeting new bloggers through the challenge. I hope to participate again next year. It’s been a blast!


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Zip – #AtoZ Challenge

Do you remember those infant’s toys that demonstrate the sounds all the animals make? Maybe you still have one laying around the house. Loads of fun, and a great teaching tool as well.

My first two kids played with one of those things until I was ready to strangle the turkey and eat it for dinner. Yet strangely, when Alex was born, I missed being able to add the detail of what an animal sounded like to its name. Or its sign, as was the case.

This has transferred to everyday life. The word, “zip” makes no sense to him in an onomatopoeic way. He processes impacts such as “bang” and “clap” in a very different way to those of us who can hear. He feels them.

Having said all that, Winston has a very loud bark indeed. Loud enough that it penetrates Alex’s profound, though not complete, hearing loss. I can finally have fun with, “The dog says, ‘Woof!'” once again.

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Winston and Alex


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Yielding – #AtoZ Challenge

In my post yesterday, about how difficult it is for my son, Alex, to play with the neighbourhood children, I mentioned that part of his problem is my fault. Thing is, the other kids tend to play from one side of the street to the other and up and down both sides. Kids, being kids, sometimes run across the street to beat the traffic. If Alex follows them but doesn’t see the car, (and of course he doesn’t hear it) the results are literally the stuff of nightmares for me. The traffic on my street should be going at 40km/h (25mph) but occasionally people speed down it as though they were the only ones on the road. On that account I’ve tried to get the city to put up signs, but they refused, saying they deal only with signs that meet provincial standards.

The signs I’ve seen in this province, in various towns and cities, include “Elderly Persons Crossing,” “Children at Play,” “Turtle Crossing,” and “Duck Crossing.” But they won’t put one up for my Deaf son. There are actually a couple of “Deaf Children at Play,” signs across town, but they won’t put one up here. They told me that perhaps they’ve been there since the guidelines were changed.

As parents, we all have to advocate for our kids, whether for their schooling, the services they need, their health… The list goes on. This is just one of the many I have to deal with. I need to find help, I think.

What have you advocated for on your family’s behalf and succeeded?


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X-Exclusion – #AtoZ Challenge

One of the hardest things for me to endure, as the mother of a Deaf child, is the exclusion of Alex by the hearing neighbourhood kids. Admittedly, part of it is my fault. Explaining why would be going off on a tangent, however, so I’ll leave that for tomorrow’s post.

Alex does have friends at school, but they live all over the province. Some are in residence on campus, many live miles away. So it’s difficult for him to get together with them outside of school. But like any kid, he sees children his own age outside his own house playing and he wants to join in. There are a couple who will play with him as long as their friends aren’t around – understandable in a way, since once they start discussing what they’re going to do, it’s hard to include Alex in the conversation. But even when they’re alone with Alex, they eventually get frustrated with trying to communicate with him. So they stop playing.

Then there are the kids across the street. He went over to play with them once, but they had no tolerance for him. They complained to one of Alex’s friends that does play with him that he “gives them a headache.” I wonder where they got that phrase from. It’s not often you see a perfectly healthy 7 or 10 year old child with an actual headache. Since that one time, they’ve sent him away and left me to explain to him that they don’t want to play with him. Or worse, they’ve let him stay and made fun of him, thinking he can’t understand. As I’ve mentioned before, most of sign language is body language and facial expression. He understands just fine. Incredibly, I’ve even had one of them accuse him of hitting her so she could use the excuse that he was mean to her. She figured, I suppose, that he would be unable to explain to me what really happened.

It doesn’t seem to matter how much we teach our children tolerance (though the kids and their parents across the street could use a lot more), they will be kids. They have their own interests, which don’t always include being able to play with only minimal communication. It’s a tough issue. One I can’t see a solution for.