Friday, April 30, 2010

Formspring Q & A #3

Q: Do you ever have people get mad at you because they think you are ignoring them? Then how do they take their foot out of their mouth after that?

A: Excellent questions! Yes, it has happened to me and the usual reaction on their part is "He is so rude". How did I know that? The look on their faces and their body language when I finally do acknowledge their presence. To answer the second question, my experience tells me that you should use the "Oh sorry I didn't realize" approach and treat me the same respect that you show to everyone else.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Say What? "Where's the lesbian?"

Scene: At a pizzeria with my older daughter (after wife and younger daughter went to the bathroom)

Her (looking concerned): Where's the lesbian?
Me (after looking around for a "lesbian" and realizing maybe that's not what she said): Where's what?
Her: Where's the last piece (of my pizza)?
Me (now composed after suppressing my hysterical laughter fit): Oh, C ate it. Sorry.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Formspring Q & A #2

Q: What has been the biggest challenge as a father who is deaf?

A: Not counting the communication issues with my girls, I would say the biggest challenge was overcoming my paranoia of S.I.D.S. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) because I could not hear their breathing. I'd sneak up to their crib and look at their chests for breathing movement. I used to rely on a device called Cry Alert that would make certain lamps flash on/off and shake the bed when someone cried loudly enough. My problem with that was...I could not see what was going on, let alone know where the sound was originating from. So, I put up video monitors at strategic locations in order to pinpoint the source. The monitors didn't ease my S.I.D.S. fear though. And now? I would say it's keeping the youngest one on the straight and narrow. ;)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Deaf P.O.V. - "Smoking is bad for you"

There's this older gentleman who would come into my workplace every day for his tutoring sessions.

Every time when I see him for the first time, he would be walking by like there was nothing wrong with him. Where I sit in my assigned spot, I am close enough to smell his cologne. I am glad that he puts a little on unlike some people who feel the need to use up the whole bottle every day.

I've noticed that he would leave few times - up to 6 times in 2 hours. Each time he returned, he would be limping a bit and looking ahead to his seat with a small scowl on his face. I can smell why he leaves frequently - he goes out for a smoke. On each subsequent return trip, his limp would be more pronounced than before and he would walk with a bigger scowl than the last time.

What did I gain from this observation? Smoking is bad for you - you're liable to injure yourself while smoking and you become stressed out thinking about the next smoking session which you know will result in further injuries to you. ;)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Say What? "He is mad at you"

Scene: My boss tried to introduce me to someone but that person was being a jerk and basically walked away from me.

Me: What happened?

Boss: "He is mad at you"

Me: Why would he?

Boss (confused): Huh? What?

Me: You said he is he mad at me. Why?

Boss: Oh! I said "he has a bad attitude"

You can see how I was confused when I thought he said "he is mad at you" when he actually said "he has a bad attitude".

Monday, April 19, 2010

My unusual writing style

Editor's note - oops, I scheduled this for 6 PM, not AM. Sorry about the delay!

I keep hearing from my readers about my unusual writing style. I never learned grammar...because I happened to be where I wasn't supposed to be and got moved up a level earlier than scheduled.

That day in the fall, I didn't feel like being outside during recess and I was wandering around on third floor at my deaf school when a teacher poked her head out of a conference room and saw me. She asked me to come in and there was a bunch of college students sitting there. The teacher told me to wait here and left me with the college students. We stared at each other, wordlessly. The teacher came back few minutes later with a 13 year old male student in tow and he was 3 years older than me.

The teacher wrote down "infrequent" on the blackboard and asked the 13 year old student to explain that word. He tried to bluff his way through but it was clear that he didn't know what that word meant. I was asked to explain and I wrote down "not often, rare, uncommon". The teacher was astounded by my precise definition. She asked me to put it in a sentence. I wrote down "it is infrequent for me to skip recess." Next week, I was moved from Intermediate to Advanced.

So, how did I learn? I acquired my understanding of grammar from reading books, long before that teacher pulled me in for a demonstration. I remember begging my mom to buy a book here and there. I'd sit down and read books & magazines at stores, libraries, and other people's homes.

One day, a family with twins moved in next door and I happily discovered a room in there, filled with books in stacks as tall as me. Every day, I would go over and upon seeing me, the mother would step aside and let me go to that room upstairs. I would go through their books like there was no tomorrow. My mom always checked that house first to see if I was there before looking for me elsewhere in the neighborhood.

My unusual writiing style is the melting pot of all these authors' construction of and creative use of words. I was fascinated by that, but I didn't discover my flair for writing until I went to high school. When I entered 9th grade, my reading level was determined to be at college level. When I arrived at my first college, I was tested for English (my reading level had progressed to "beyond college"). I was placed in a writing class that had students in their 20's. I was the only minor in that class. LOL

My knowledge of grammar was not without frustrations - I didn't learn the difference between "a" and "an" until I was about 30 when my wife explained to me why I shouldn't say "an house" (versus "an hour"). I was relying on my memory of how people would use on certain words. Nobody had thought of telling me this; maybe they figured it was a quirk of mine.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Formspring Q & A #1

I got two questions over the weekend. The first one asks:

"Here's a funny question...Does your wife blog too? My hubby doesn't but my ex does"

No, my wife doesn't. She used to, but she dropped it altogether because she felt there was no point in blogging on a recurring basis. The funny thing is, she loves to "mini-blog" with the frequent updates on Facebook.

The second one asks:

"Do you miss 'Morning Glory' at all?"

Yes, I was always fun to check MG because I would have no idea what MG would do next.

Can someone please help me with a glitch on this formspring widget? I thought that by answering on formspring, it would automatically post on Blogger. It the wrong blog. I need help. Thanks.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Deaf P.O.V.

This is a recurring series on what/how we, deaf people, perceive things in the world. The lack of sound/aural information that's readily available to you is what colors our take on everything. What we rely on is what we see - body language, mannerisms, societal customs, etc.

When I share with you my p.o.v., my observations may seem weird or odd or funny to you, but this is designed to help you understand a little bit better about how/why I think or act the way I do. This is not a true representative for all deaf people - it's just me. Once in a while, I will throw in some humor.

The first one will publish next week Friday the 23rd and the series will publish on Fridays.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shelle's question about communicating with my girls

Shelle from BlokThoughts asked this in her comment on my "Chicken or Egg" post: "How do your daughters communicate? Did you teach them sign language? Are they fluent in it?" Sunday from Adventures in Extreme Parenthood also asked me in e-mail almost the same thing as well.

I will tell you was very frustrating for me to try to understand what my daughters were saying as they went through their babbling stage and their mispronounciation of words stage. What most people don't realize is how equally frustrating it can be for them when their daddy cannot comprehend what is being said to him.

You could be thinking "What about his hearing wife?" Yes, she does step in and help clear up the chaotic messages...when she is there. She has a job so she can't be there 24/7. Now, you can see how frustrating it can be for all of us.

My wife and I knew long before we even started thinking about having a family that teaching the babies basic signs would greatly reduce the frustration of expressing their needs. Research has backed that up many times over. Babies do not learn how to speak words for a long while and they need a way to tell us what they need. As you can see, it really doesn't matter if both parents are hearing when it comes to decoding what the baby long as the baby has a way to express it clearly.

Basic signs like "drink", "eat", "milk", "play", and "hold me" helped my girls express their needs. As they grew up, my wife and I would add signs to their vocabulary. The funny thing is...their exponential rate of learning the signs would begin to level off as they start to learn how to speak and form complete sentences.

They seem to prefer to speak to me than to sign to me, forcing me to read their lips. My wife and I have been trying to get them to sign to me so we could understand each other. I would think that the family dynamic is different for us versus those of all-hearing families because of that. How so? Since we are all "bilingual" (meaning we can speak or sign), we can choose how to communicate with each other in the presence of others.

For instance - while my mom was visiting us last week, my wife was ticked off that I hadn't cleaned the dining table off and used sign language to express her feelings. I signed back to her, "My mom may not understand sign language, but she sure can read body language." My body language was that of a calm person.

Imagine how I can choose to deal with my daughters when they misbehave in the public. I can talk to them either in the privacy of sign language or without the privacy by speaking to them. Believe me, they rarely misbehave in the public...because they don't know which way I'll go and they don't want to find out. ;)

Monday, April 12, 2010

How should you label us?

There has been some confusion over how those with hearing loss prefer to be labeled as. You've heard the following terms:
  • deaf
  • hard of hearing (or HoH)
  • hearing impaired (trust me on this - do NOT use that term with anyone)

Those terms do not come with a "one size fits all" tag. I prefer to be called "deaf". I am deaf enough that you cannot lump me with others who have slight hearing loss because that infers I can hear something. I have deaf friends, HoH friends, and hearing friends.

By rule, we do not feel offended if you ask us how we prefer to be labeled as. By asking us rather than labeling us, we get to assert our own sense of identity within the hearing world and we feel that you have shown respect to us.

As for the "hearing impaired" term, we would prefer that you never use that - it is offensive to us. However, this warrants another post because it is too long...and deserves its own post. I promise to discuss that issue in the near future.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Emmy's question about reasoning & philosophy behind lipreading

Emmy from Right Turn Without Signaling left this comment on an earlier post, as verbatim: "My daughter's teacher who is deaf told us interesting stories about the philosophy of being raised deaf. She was forced to learn to read lips before they allowed her to learn sign language because of the philosophy at that time which was to make deaf kids "normal". What was your experience like?"

I can tell you from experience that she wasn't kidding about the mentality at the time. Doctors and educators felt that they knew what was best for all of us and told our parents what to do. The parents were given Hobson's choice - either learn the way that was recommended for the deaf kids or learn the way that was recommended for the deaf kids.

My parents told me the doctors had recommended to them that I go to a school with hearing children (commonly called "mainstreaming") but they felt I would benefit from deaf education. They opted for the kind of school that emphasized on oral communication rather than sign language because they were told that this was the best way.

I went to that school for several years before the school decided that I was ready for mainstreaming at the age of 13 years old. According to my mother, I tested well enough to be placed in 8th grade which is on par for kids in that age range, but extraordinary for a deaf kid. However, she felt that 8th grade would overwhelm me and opted for me to start in 7th grade instead. Looking back, I have to say she was right.

*Editor's note: I want everyone to know that I am not agreeing and/or disagreeing with what was decribed in Wikipedia's definition on "mainstreaming" - this was for your education on what that word means exactly. You are more than welcome to research this on your own time. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Say What?

This is a recurring "Say What?" series. It is based on what happens to me when I lipread people and I wanted to share with everyone my experiences. Despite all of the training I have received in lipreading with years and years of experience, there have been humorous (and disastrous) moments of misinterpreting what was said to me. Stay tuned. ;)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

I promised that I would answer questions and Anjeny asked me a question in her comment to Tuesday's post - "Do I read lips?"

Yes, I do...but I do not comprehend 100% when relying only on lipreading. I prefer sign language which greatly reduces the chances of misunderstanding what was being said to me. I've discovered, with great amusement on my part and others, that I can cyber-lipread. Hehe!

I have an account at - here's the link. Please do feel free to ask me any here, by e-mail, or at formspring - nothing is out of bounds.

Psst...the answer to the title is "the chicken" because there's no way an egg could be formed without the assistance of a chicken. ;)

Sorry about the "phantom" posts that originated from my blog. I wasn't thinking when I typed in the publish dates for two posts and after looking over my blog for appearances, I noticed that I had already published two posts...and this one was one of the two. Oops! Sorry about the confusion!