Thursday, December 25, 2008

Simply Beautiful

I can't say enough about this company. In October I blogged about one of their videos "Waiting on the World to Change." What an important video it really is and it makes quite the statement. Below is another one of their awesome videos set to the Christina Aguilera song, "Beautiful." A very incredible and impressive video. D-Pan again makes another awesome statement with "Beautiful." ASL is such an important part of my family's life. The videos produced by D-Pan truly speak to my soul. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

So thankful...

There are many things in life that I am very thankful for. Above all -- my kids. However, I am also quite thankful for American Sign Language. Learning this language never would have happened if my youngest child had not been born with hearing loss. I have learned how to listen with my eyes and open myself up to a whole new world. My family embraced ASL. Believe me there are days that I wish I could just push a button and turn my ears off to the world around me. I think of the "If this hadn't happened" type things and I know that if I hadn't been meant to be at an ice arena holding a child wearing a very obvious pink and white hearing aid, I never would have met a deaf woman who would tell me about something that would change my family's life. That something was a DVD series by the name of Signing Time!

Signing Time came into our lives when I just didn't have answers. At that point there were only 2 Baby Signing Time videos and volumes 1-6 of series 1. There are now 32 (oh I hope that is right) videos in all. There are flash cards, books and music, as well as letter and number wall posters. This is such an incredible series. I have watched my children blossom from this series. Sophia's language skills just exploded. She was signing so much. She had so much to say. Sabrina couldn't soak up the information fast enough. My oldest two loved sitting down and watching this series. We would practice what we were learning by turning off our voices. I then looked into becoming a retailer of this series. I was accepted into the retailer program. I love this series. I can't say enough about it. I have never taken any class beyond the family class which is offered 1 day a week, however I have tried to involve myself in the deaf community. I am constantly trying to improve my signing. In fact, I have been asked by two separate deaf women if indeed I was deaf. Both said they were really impressed by my ability to sign. Those were the greatest compliments that I could have ever received. The same has happened with my now 5 year old who gave the "appearance," with her ability to sign, of being deaf.

Oh, the places you'll go. And me, I owe quite a bit of it to Rachel Coleman, her sister, Emilie Brown, and a series called Signing Time! Thank you, Two Little Hands Productions! You have really inspired my family to go farther than we imagined possible.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Deaf Like Me

Last Friday there was an event at Delaware School for the Deaf in the evening. Signing Santa came and told a story and held all of the kids asking what they wanted for Christmas and letting them know that he would be visiting them very soon. The kids thoroughly enjoyed playing with the play-doh, coloring, playing at the sand table, etc. Sophia has only visited DSD one other time and that was to go to the principal's office with me to drop something off there.

Visiting with Santa has never been very happy for Sophia. She likes him, but from a distance. Typically she wants nothing to do with Santa. Well, last night was no different. Then we sat down for story-time. Santa signed the story to the kids. Sophia was mesmerized by him. Afterwards, she wanted to give Santa a hug goodbye. She also got her picture taken with him. After we left, Sophia kept looking at me as she signed and said, "Mommy, Santa Claus is deaf like me!" She was so very happy. She finally made a connection with Santa. It is am impression I think will last a lifetime. She couldn't stop saying the same phrase over and over again. The kids dad had been out of town for the day, so he couldn't attend. All of the kids really missed him. And what was the first thing Sophia said to her dad? It certainly wasn't "Hi." or , "I missed you." Sophia, of course, had to give him the most important news of all for her -- "Daddy, Santa is deaf like me!!"

It's the little things like that that really make the difference.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

And the Words Wouldn't Come

A few weeks ago I was asked to speak at an annual meeting regarding Newborn Hearing Screening in the state of Maryland. They were asking for a parent's perspective on the screening and my experience. I happily accepted. I have found that I truly enjoy speaking in front of people, which is amusing considering the state of shock that I seem to go into every time I do speak. As time went by I had been contacted by the coordinator for this meeting. I was told 10-15 minutes would be fine.

For those that do not know, I write for a home school newsletter that is distributed world-wide. Neither in speaking or writing am I EVER at a loss for words. Writing typically doesn't take me very long at all. I typically mull it over in my head for a week or two and then am able to process, digest and then, voila, 2 pages written within an hour or two. So I was prepared to write my brief speech on my all of my experiences with the hearing screening. I waited until 2 days before the meeting to print out the agenda, so I knew where I would fall within the timeframe of this meeting. Boy was I surprised when I looked at the agenda and suddenly I was slated to speak for 30 minutes! So after my slight freak out, since I wasn't prepared to speak for 30 minutes, I regrouped and decided that was no problem. I have 5 kids and experience with 4 of them and the testing. No biggie.

That was Wednesday. The day was over before I could blink, so I put my mind to making sure that I sat down Thursday and wrote. After all, the meeting was Friday. So there I sat Thursday evening. I sat and sat and sat. I had a whole whopping 3 sentences. I sat there and stared at that blank document page. The words just wouldn't come. As I sat there trying to figure this out and how I was going to make 30 minutes out of what I had. It wasn't going to happen. And the words just wouldn't come. I got up and took a breather, then regrouped. Still, the words wouldn't come. All I could think was, "I'm a writer! I speak in volumes! How can I NOT have the words to express my feelings and experiences?" And yet, the words wouldn't come. I finally resolved after several hours to do the only thing I could do --- grab some index cards and write bullet point notes for myself. I filled 9 cards front and back with notes and went to bed.

Friday came and I was on the road to the Hearing and Speech Agency. It felt good to dress up business style. Since the bank I work for adopted a policy of SUPER casual, I don't dress like that very much. I armed myself with my index cards and a very large book that was given to me when Sophia was identified as having hearing loss. I walked in the door very calm and collected. By the time I got to the table where there was a familiar face the butterflies had started and my eyes were quite possibly bugging out of my head. I was the second person to speak. I got up there, hands shaking, nervous because, as of last night, I had no words. So I took a deep breath. "Good morning, everyone. My name is Bridget Eaton. I wanted to share with all of you my experience with the Newborn Hearing Screening... ." I went through my whole speech, the whole time feeling like my face was burning red.

And those words, they finally came.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kids say the Darndest Things

So, Sophia has a tendency to be a bit of a comic in our house. With her hearing loss and the fact that she doesn't always wear her hearing aid, the volume of things can get quite loud. They are usually turned up at the request of Sophia after she has refused her hearing aid. That said, I picked Sophia up from class and we got back into the car (along with 3 of her 4 siblings). We had the radio playing at a somewhat "normal" level. I got Sophia's attention in the rear view mirror to sign and ask if she had her hearing aid in. She nodded and proceeded to show me, after which she took it all the way out and tossed it across the car. Not even 30 seconds went by and my goofy child says to me, "Hey! I can't hear the music. Turn it up!" Kids!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Waiting on the World to Change

The video above is a BEAUTIFUL signed interpretation of John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.” A friend of mine shared this video and the website where this came from. I think about my youngest daughter and this song really speaks to me. Please take a moment to listen, REALLY listen, to the lyrics. The world is changing, slowly, but I think we are all still waiting....

If you enjoyed this video, please check out: