Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Deaf Awareness week

DAY two-

Deaf awareness week is "celebrated" September 26th-30th or around the last week of September- it gives us a opporunity to celebrate and socialize with other people that are deaf- and also to educate the general public and students and co workers about what deafness is all about.... and really.. ask anything.... we have heard everything a-z- I am almost never shocked anymore.

being deaf doesn't mean I live in a world of silence... It means my life is more enriched by having 2 cultures.  I grew up in a hearing household and my children are growing up in a bilingual culturally life and household. they are so lucky. I often say I am just on the bridge between both worlds because I can talk and sign and hear with my cochlear implant so everything is "open" to me so to speak.  there are people that choose to stay in the deaf world- marry a deaf person and maybe luckily have deaf children someday and work in a deaf supported enviroment.  

Now, going to the deaf panel yesterday- my job isn't working or being a student right now- it's being a mom and teaching my 2 beautiful kids all about ASL and trying to raise them to the best of my ability and hoping someday to make them into amazing, wonderful young people that I love.  It was so much fun talking about my kids- I have stories and stories full of just "vincent" :)  Victoria is too little to start telling stories about but she has her own development milestones that I love to brag about as well.  it doesn't hurt they are cute.

Now... for today I will fill you in on some common deaf awareness things so you know for future reference- in case you come across a deaf person and you.......... want desperately to know what to do?

first of all.. don't feel stupid- there is no such thing as stupid questions really.. and we don't bite... 

1. just make sure we are looking at you when you approach.... I've noticed now with my kids espically- if I have my kids with me I am often focused on them and not really thinking about if someone else will approach me- so tap us on the shoulder if you want to converse.  
2. about 90 percent of hearing parents HAVE deaf children.  Often times- deaf people have hearing children- it is about 10 percent of deaf people that go on to have deaf children (depending on genetics)
3. gesture if you need to- don't be afraid to look stupid.
4. if you converse with a person that is deaf and can read lips... don't overextragge lip movements or try to talk reallly slow (like hoooooooooooow aaaaaaaaaaaaareeeeeee yoooooooooooooooou) its very annoying to us and we ARE used to reading lips and if we need you to slow down or write something down we don't understand- we WILL ask
5. how do deaf people know when sounds are happening? we have flashing lights or some people have a hearing dog for this purpose- OR have a hearing person around.  Pretty much now days with texting you could actually text a deaf person now and tell them you're coming and they will expect you.  
6. deaf people live and die by texting.  its the newest mode of communication other than IM- and it's made life a LOT easier because now we can text a hearing person too and it is like "chatting" on the phone.
7. deaf people have videophones that we can call anyone and sign. It's really cool
8. remember always... deaf people ARE just like you- we are normal human beings and our ears simply don't work- there are deaf people with more disabilities as well but MOST deaf people are normal.. we vary as well there are people that can talk and sign, people that don't talk but sign... and different SIGN choices like (ASL, PSE and SEE)  
I hope I educated you a little bit about what to do around deaf people... oh yeah.. it doesn't hurt to learn a few of the basic signs as well... don't be afraid to ask a deaf person to sign with you- we are always willing to help you learn our language. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

going back to old stomping grounds

Today- was a interesting adventure... I decided two weeks ago to become part of a deaf panel for deaf awareness week at NWTC (my old college- and may be re-new- college lol) so I decided that it would be best if Vincent went off for the afternoon with a Sitter- and Victoria would get to come with.  :) 
This week is deaf awareness week- which means you educate yourself or learn about what is it like to be deaf.  or how to acclimate yourself to socializing with a deaf person and so on and on. 
it was so nice to visit my stomping grounds and show off my newest little addition to our krause family.  victoria is so sweet- it is just so easy to show her off.  Everyone was asking about vincent though and how he was doing and what he was up to.
The deaf panel was very interesting and there was 4 of us on the panel and we all got to explain different point of views or opinions about deaf people and our experiences of life.  I- of course a proud mother of 2 CODA cihldren couldn't resist talking about my little ones.  :)  It is very interesting how 4 different deaf people have different experiences and learn differently and have different opinions and also STILL have silimar experiences with "deaf-impared" people as I like to say.
Afterwards it was actually more fun because it was time to really socialize and chat among ourselves the hard work was over and really discuss different things we wanted to happen at NWTC- it sounds like a ASL Deaf club may be in the works there...  I'm starting to think about setting up something where young people can get together and chat in the GB area- or even the FV area.  funny- now that tori is getting older- I find that I am starting to have the itch to still be a mom- but start exploring the possibilities my life will go in now foward as mother of two.
Vincent was a little disappointed that mommy was busy- but he was having such a blast with his sitter that I don't think it even really mattered- he even convinced her to buy him some skittles and some dinosuar toy.. that boy is going to grow up really spoiled because he knows how to work it!  (sigh) :)

going to blog more tomorrow about deaf awareness--- stay tuned!



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

being a deaf mom

On october 22nd,2008.. My life was changed forever- I recieved the first and 3 postive tests- I was pregnant with our first child- Vincent Michael...... now began my journey into motherhood and began my journey into being a deaf mother and juggling 2 cultures... and life itself... crazy.

I absoutely loved being pregnant with both of my kids.. My pregnancies were both very different but it was a joy carrying them.  I still think about the days I spent carrying them and feeling them.. what a remarkable experience I will never have back.

I worried about everything like a first time mom would do, I read books, I set up vincents room with clothes and bumpers and prepared for his arrival... and once he was here.. In the hositpal- how would we deal with him crying and I wouldn't be able to hear him?  Luckily bellin where we had our kids offered rooming in AND sending the baby to the nursery- and I worked a solution out where We could keep our little baby with us until about 10 at night- and I would feed him/her and send them off to the nursery and they would take care of vincent so I could sleep- and came back every 2-3 hours depending on when the baby was hungry.  It was a perfect solution......... then coming home.  It was crazy.... waking at all hours with the baby montior or Andy would wake me up- we decided not to go with the lights flashing because andy needed his sleep for work- so I had to make do until the kids slept through the night.  
Being a deaf mom- I know I get a lot of attention when we go shopping and I have to yell at vincent in the store (he's two after all) People stare- (oh that poor deaf woman is yelling at her kid in a STRANGE accent)  or people just smile at me shyly and wonder how on earth could I have one kid, or even TWO perfectly healthy normal children while being deaf (and to those that think that I heartily bop you on the head :) :) ) 
Here is a funny example that happened last week... I went shopping at target and Victoria was being happy as can be and either wanting to be held or looking around in her carseat.  Vincent was running around the infant/toddler dept throwing his pooh bear around to himself and laughing and chattering- ok maybe to the average person- my child was having too much fun- but to ME it meant I could have about 30 mins of shopping to myself without him annoying me about something.  so i am picking out the kids fall outfits for this fall and winter.... they are getting so big! so  I am shopping and shopping because i have 2 kids to buy for and I wanted to get done before lunch so i could get the wee little one to nap, and vincent home to rest.  All of the sudden vincent was running around and being goofy.. and I realized our dear little pooh bear boppy blanky security thing went missing.  FOOK! FOOK! we have to find it now... so andy's mom (we'll call her Nanna B) Nanna B started helping me look for it while I was freaking out on the inside, and we asked vincent a MILLION times in many different ways where it could be.  Vincent in his simple 2 year old style was like.. I don't know I don't know I don't know.  so we LOOKED EVERYWHERE... under the clothing racks.. in between the clothes.. on top of the shelves.. even in the carseat aisle........ NO bear found.  so I am going in circles and now freaking out because I know vincent does not care NOW but he will later when it is time to go to sleep and he wants it.  Ah.......  Ok, so I asked Nanna B to ask the nice target worker if she had seen anything- she had said no but if something was dropped or whatever- sometimes someone picks it up and brings it to customer service or front desk.. Ok fine.. so  I sent V and Nanna B off to front desk to see if they had it.. and they didn't........ so I am now majorly kind of freaking out and going oh my god what am i going to do tonight when he goes to bed?! and he asks for it?! so I told Nanna B we have to look for it some more.. we are not leaving here without finding that fooking thing!!!!!! Nice target worker comes back up to us and says they found it under some clothing racks in the Infants dept and someone brought it up front.......... GREAT. so I sent nanna B and Vincent to go retrive it.  I'm buying more stuff... and then they came back and vincent was carrying his pooh bear and I am like SO thankful to see that damn thing but at the same time a little mad.  SO i start signing to vincent that he needs to be nice to pooh bear and that he can't be hiding pooh bear in places we can't find because it is not nice to give mommy a heart attack.  meanwhile Nanna B is like I can tell you were majorly freaked out and she was giggling the entire time.. Ah Grandmas! how soon they forget. 
That whole experience made me realize i am going to have to brush up on asking people for things and help.. espically with two little ones and their security blankys.  We have a cute Monkey Boppy head thing for Victoria... I think after this.. I am going to buy her 2 or 3 of the same boppy head blanky so we don't have to freak out if we lose one. lord help me.

I asboutely love it when people ask me questions on how it is like to be a deaf mom......... I seriously dead pan- and go............ of course- it is just being like YOU except i cant hear....... granted my kids have to take on a little more than most kids and help their poor amazing supermom (if i say so) I only hope it makes them a better, stronger couple of kids.

questions people have asked me:
How do you hear the baby cry?
Baby monitor or for some people- they use flashing lights I use a combo of using Andy- and the baby montior
when you're pregnant and u go to the doctor and you want to know if the babys heart is beating?
Luckily my OB at the time was very nice- and I had a great interpreter- the interpreter would sign if the babys heart is beating and if it is fast or slow and sign the heart rate number when the doctor announces it- also I was allowed to feel the doppler thumping.
wow, deaf people can have a child??
yes, really, I have two.. deaf people can have sex just like you can and probably louder too. 
is the birth experience normal?
Normal... yes.. lots of pain.. the only difference is at the end you have one extra person in the room with you other than your husband or BF or some family members that is translating everything that is being said and done.
does it make it easier for your children to be bilingual?
yes.. vincent has learned early on that he is BI-lingual- he is my little coda in training so to speak.  I have seen him go back and forth between english and ASL pretty flawlessly.  He will go to his grandparents and speak english with them and chatter.. while at home with me and Andy he will use ASL (which is enforced here) and english if andy is speaking with him.  WE also enforce reading books here- we read books often throughout the day and right before bed...... enforcing ASL and english.  

I couldn't imagine not being deaf and being a mom.  Being a deaf mom brings a extension to my life that wouldn't otherwise exisient.. and I really love seeing Vincent sign.. and I am already signing with victoria. Granted, being deaf brings challenges and a lot of stupid questions from those unknowing deaf-impaired people but its part of a greater culture and a different way of life that I love living.  I only hope that my children someday grow up to appericate the wonderful gift i have given them-- to know deaf culture and thrive in 2 worlds........ and somehow and someway it clashes perfectly.  after all,, that is how i live my life... a perfect clash..... :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

we will always remember

September 11th, 2001-a day of Infamy for many americans.. today we ask of one another... do you remember where you were when the world stopped turning?????

I was a senior in high school... and my friend came up to me and said the world trade center has been hit! I was like..(laughs) really good joke here you know? no one would hit us on our soil..
3 minutes later.. the world stopped turning..... the prinicpal made a announcement over the p.a explaining the events... my interpreter was late.. I remember being so mad because I KNEW something was going on and it was not good judging from my classmates's reaction and how the teacher was behaving. (that darn deaf feeling)
She finally arrived and explained and I was like OH so that is what is going on... I remember that whole day just thinking........ is it really real? our world just changed instantly.. now that it's been 10 years. I promise you i can't even remember what sept 10th felt like... sept 11th took all that away from me.

Now-most of you know Andy had to travel overseas for work while i was pregnant with my oldest... to Buenoes Aires, Argentina.. a beautiful captiol city of Argentina.... its about 18 hours to fly from green bay to there (and thats not including the wait times to get on the plane and all the delays in the winter oh lord)  I would be so nervous when he would hop on the plane there, and worry worry worry until i got a email or some form of contact saying he made it there and hes fine and to stop worrying.  he knows me so well.  I would love to think that if 9.11. would have never happened-i would have worried less.. but man did I miss him (that is before the honeymoon phase ended)
I wonder what i will end up telling vincent and victoria about this someday and if they think wow mom and dad are ancient-they lived thru something that happened before i was born.  I hope I can give them as many answers that they ask questions of :) 
I am extremely proud of my family and friends that have served... you all have done a amazing job,,, thank you for keeping our country free and helping.  we will never forget and freedom will always previev

Friday, September 9, 2011

family night

Tonight was family night.... even though andy had to work... but he took a break for a while and played with vincent and Victoria.  Andy started playing with Vincent's security Items- Tigger and Pooh- one of those things we never leave home or leave anywehre without- it spells trouble for us.  :)  and making them dance to music and throwing them around and well.. being BOYS.  Vincent got a HUGE kick out of this and was like laughing hysterically and trying to copy andy- but did not want daddy to see him copying him.  We were all dancing and bopping to the music- even victoria.  I am sad to have to announce- it looks like Victoria is Daddy's little girl- i can't get her to smile like he can- or Laugh.  I always imagined about having my own little girl and of course she turns out to be daddy's little girl.  I have 18 years to change her mind :) Ha Ha!  
Vincent has been so much fun to raise- vincent is 2 now- and into that whole period of- im not really hungry so i wont eat when food is put in front of me. GRR.  It will get better I know.. it just is worrisome when your kid won't eat. he will eat when he is hungry. I know.  we did discover the other night he LOVES popcorn- and I taught him the sign for popcorn- when we were watching the packer game.  Vince was asking for it again today because he really enjoyed popcorn last night.  

How about this- I just have to share- I dressed my kids and myself in packer clothes-including my lucky jersey-and we won.... 42-34!!! and this was against a former super bowl team just 2 years ago- AND they said this would be our toughest team all season- well... that said we should have it in the bag!!!! but we will have to see how we do injury wise this year :)   I got in a unbelieveable twist of fate... I have always wanted a rodgers jersey and it fell into my lap.. ironically.  :)  I must tell you- we are all packers fan- I train my kids young to love the green and gold- and that starts when I am pregnant and when theyre born- they already have green and gold awaiting them :)  
Vincent really loves watching the packers play and he is trying to understand the game in his own way- but he loves it when we get exicted because of a TD.  he claps and does his own little victory dance. :)   victoria  just sits there and kicks and drools and coos when they are playing.  :) I know when i was little i really didn't care for the packers at all... but when i went to Lambeau field with my dad for the first time in '98- that changed my life forever.. from that moment on.. I bled green and gold.. :)  I plan on one day taking my kids to a game so they can experience the FUN atmosphere. :)