Deaf

Deaf Mama Pride: Signing Like You Mean It

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Micah came home from “skooWOL” the other day and was talking about his “nemesis”, a boy named something or other. Micah said, “he’s not like us.” I thought, hmmm. “Not like us? What do you mean?” “Oh, you know,” Micah said, “he doesn’t sign.”

He doesn’t sign?!” I gasped. “No,” said Micah, scrunching his lips right up to his nose in disbelief “and he doesn’t even know what signing IS!

Now, I know it’s not likely to always be this way, where we live in a region where signing is hip-hoppity cool and most everyone knows what it is and to some extent, engages in it. I know there may very well come a time when Micah doesn’t want to sign or might be embarrassed by it.I know all of this, so I’m thoroughly relishing this moment that he is shocked that someone can’t sign, and even more, “doesn’t even know” what signing is.

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We’ve been watching a ton of Signing Time for Moxie. Her signing has shot off – I think she’s easily learned at least 10 signs/week. She gulps it down like Popeye does Spinach. It makes her happy-level bulge; she loves signing. She loves that she’s able to “talk” more. She loves seeing the kids onscreen doing the same thing she’s doing. She turns into a zombie-child when she watches it. She loves the music.


A word about the music.

Mikey thinks that Rachel Coleman missed her calling in life to be a “B-Grade Country Western Singer”. He thinks she looks a smidgen psychotic as she fiercely smiles through each and every song and sings songs about loving and kissing her shoes (if you watch Signing Time, you know what I speak of!). I think he’s really funny and I laugh a lot at his jokes.

But I am secretly annoyed with her for creating such ridiculously catchy and repetitive songs that prance around in my head ALL FREAKING DAY without so much as a by-your-leave. Songs that have me belting out “wash, wash, scrub, scrub, I use soap and water!Yeah, baby, yeaaaaaaaaaah! – and all the people at Trader Joe’s turn to stare….

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Signing in our family seems to be the *it* way to show you are sincere about something. If you mean, it, you sign it. When I’ve had it up to here (like I did at Target yesterday), my hands come up on auto-pilot with STOP, and I think even more than my bellows, it makes the kids truly listen.

I’ve also noticed them signing when they really want something to be heard: Micah will say he’s sorry  but then when he’s just flooded with the sincerity of his overwhelming sorriness, he signs it. I’m sorry. And I nod. For some reason, I believe that more, always do.

I suppose that my belief in it carries over for them – that they learn from me and cue in, perk up with their senses alert when they see me signing? I’m not sure.

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Moxie talks very little – she says perhaps 7 words, tops. And I honestly couldn’t care less. I’m nowhere that casual about her signing; I care tremendously that she learns, that she applies. I am fierce about making her “say” things rather than grunt/point. And by “say“, I mean “sign” – of course.

Micah makes this easy for me.

He asked for more bread this morning. I didn’t hear him; he signed it (and yes, he also signed “please”!). Moxie saw, heard him saying “Mommy, may I have more bread please” and so signed, “more”

“bread”
“more”

This makes my Mamas-heart very, very proud.

And happy.

PS
I was kinda-sorta just joking about the previous stuff. I really do love Rachel Coleman – I read her blog (“Strong Enough“) and love her perspective on things. She is Good People and deserves a better audience than me and Mikey

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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