Our Goldy girl is 11 months! Well, 11 months and a week, but who’s counting? I considered skipping this month because I was a week late. I couldn’t skip it though, because Goldy started WALKING! My heart melted. She started by taking GIANT steps and it was the most hilarious adorable thing I’ve ever seen. She also started singing and talking more and more and it makes me SO happy. Which leads me to a little story time because we all know these monthly baby posts can be boring and annoying especially for those of you who don’t have babies to help you understand the excitement of “baby milestones”. So instead I’m going to tell you all a story that you will hopefully take something from. So when Goldy was born and we found out she was entirely deaf we were told she may never be verbal. That without her BAHAs she would never be able to hear. When I first learned that I was crushed. Entirely. I did my best to get her hearing aids, to start learning sign language, to get her a hearing dog and make sure she made it to all her therapies, and doctors appointments. We constantly read books to her and sang songs to her and did EVERY. SINGLE. THING I read or researched or was told to do to help her reach her fullest potential. So when she found her voice and started cooing I was hopeful, when she started laughing I was happy, when she made sounds like “ba ba ba” I was excited, and when she said “mama” for the first time I cried, like a lot of big happy and hopeful tears. So when she loudly bables or squeals or cries for me when we’re out in public I’ve noticed it can at times seem obnoxious to others but to me it sounds like progress, it sounds like our payday for all the the hard work we have put into teaching her! Unfortunately that’s not what it sounds like to everyone else. A few weekends ago we were at a downtown Thai restaurant and we were seated next to a table full of old affluent senior citizens. And what one of them said really pissed me the ? off. Oops. Sorry to my Mormon mom. Yes, I said ? for the first time ever on social media because there’s no better way to describe how enraged I was. This wasn’t a night out of the ordinary because I normally work late and Kylan is always studying or working on the house so we take our kids out to eat more than I’d like to admit but at least they’re fairly well behaved because of it. So we sat down, ordered, were served our food, everything was going smoothly, no temper tantrums, no running around the restaurant, nothing bothersome to anyone around us at least not until Goldy was SO excited about her delicious food that she was squealing out of pure joy. To me I found it adorable, because it was her way of saying “Dang this Pad Thai is delicious!”. Well the lady behind us at that table didn’t find it that way. She swung her head around and yelled “WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT CHILD?! THIS IS A RESTAURANT!!!” and I quickly, with no hesitation responded “There’s nothing wrong with her, she’s perfectly fine, she’s just deaf.” And I didn’t yell, I didn’t curse her out like I wanted to so badly, but I did say it in my mama bear voice that made her feel like the biggest idiot in front of everybody at her table. After that Kylan (my hubby) started to show what I like to call his New Yorker and was getting up to go give them a piece of his mind. I quickly kicked him under the table and then reminded him some people just don’t get it and so we quickly paid our bill and left all while they were trying to apologize and tell us how cute she was to try and smooth things over. Of course nothing they said at that point made a difference to me. I had already cut my dinner short. I already felt extremely uncomfortable and I already felt like everything they were saying was just fake. So I left entirely thrown off and it took the entire stroll home for me to stop fuming and repeating in my head what I really wanted to tell that woman. Honestly, I’ve wanted to say similar things to SO many different people over the past almost year. So here’s just a few of those things I wanted to tell people. To the random lady at the zoo last weekend that wanted to ask me 21 questions about “Why and how she was deaf?” and “What microtia was?” When all I wanted to do was watch Rew on the safari train. To the multiple people that ask if they can pet Cleo when she clearly has a SERVICE DOG vest on and it’s 2019 and people should know by now that means NO PETTING because it’s hard enough to train a puppy to behave in public without a million strangers acting like they can play with her like she’s for sale at the Puppy Store. To the cashier that wasted my time commenting on how weird her hearing aids were as I was trying to rush through the line at the grocery store. To the several people from the deaf community who shamed me for trying to make a “deaf baby” hear and be verbal. To the woman at Nordstrom who tried mom shaming me for assuming I was letting my newborn have “screen time” by wearing “headphones” when in fact she just had her hearing aids on and was FaceTiming her daddy. To the countless people who blatantly stare when we’re out and about. To my multiple friends, clients, and even family that try to be so caring and kind by asking me about the unknown future of her hearing. Even though I know that it is all with good intent and curiosity it still gives me SO MUCH ANXIETY because I have NO clue what the future holds for her ears and hearing and I don’t necessarily like thinking about them drilling through my daughters skull to maybe possibly create hearing for her. Or the fact that the operation is going to cost us out of pocket more than my husband and I make in two full years. Some days I just want to go out and about and live a normal life with my little family. Because it’s hard enough to take a 2 year old, a baby, and a puppy out in public. So one day I’d like to be able to do it with no question. No comments. No weird looks. No extra fake niceness. No asking what is “wrong” with her. What I want to tell everyone is since her heart was fixed in her heart surgery when she was one month old there has been NOTHING wrong with her. She has no medical issues. She is completely fine. SHE IS JUST DEAF. Not dumb. Not a sympathy case. Not a weirdo because one of her ears is smaller than the other and has no canal. Not someone with “extra senses”. She not “smart for a deaf baby, or “cute for a mixed baby”. Shes just smart and cute. She’s just Goldy. That’s it. Like Jack Johnson says “you remind me of you” that’s exactly it. She reminds me of her. Goldy. And although I’ve made this entirely about her because that’s my current circumstance and she’s my baby girl so she is all I see. In reality there are differences in people everywhere we go. There are differences in abilities, skin color, hair or (lack thereof), body size, height, religious beliefs, mental states, tax brackets, places of citizenship, occupations, spoken languages, accents, ways we talk, walk, see or even feel about the same sex or our own sex or gender! And the list goes on and on. So what I’m here to say is although you may look at someone and they may seem different then you that doesn’t mean you need to take a second look and ask them why they’re different. It doesn’t mean you need to ask questions about the obvious. It doesn’t mean you need to know what is “wrong with them”. Because I assure you. Asking what is wrong wit them won’t fix a single thing. You’re not their doctor, you’re not their psychiatrist and if you’re really really really curious and eager to learn about their “differences” there is a magical thing called google. So from now on when you’re out and about just remember that if every single person looked and acted the same the world we live in would be terribly boring. Try seeing people for what they are. People. Just people. And use the golden rule. Treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. If everyone could do this a little more the world really would be a better, brighter, easier place to live. So I figured this reminder may be more helpful than knowing how much Goldy weighs or how many teeth she has because, I’ll be honest, no one cares and I don’t even know. What I do know is there’s a lot of room in this world for more love and inclusion and it can start with you! So next time you see someone who maybe looks or acts different than you instead of being captain obvious and pointing out the difference try to be clever and find something you have in common with that person. Just try it. Find common ground and converse on that and tell me how it works out for you! To put this in perspective for you, when people come up to me and they don’t mention my daughters “curls” or “skin color” or “Goldys deafness”. Or the fact that I’ve “lost weight” or “gained weight”. Then instead they ask me how I am feeling, or what I am up to that day. Or what my kids names are or what we enjoy or don’t enjoy. Or what my hopes wishes and dreams are. Or what I like or don’t like. Or literally anything except the obvious, it makes me love them a little more. It makes me think that that individual is looking at me and my kids in an intelligent way. They’re looking at more than what meets the eye. If you don’t understand me, or your confused read this again and again till you do because it’s as simple as saying see people for what is inside of them because it’s so much more than what a physical body can show you and then once you’ve done that think of our Goldy girl and apply the GOLDen rule. Once you practice it’ll be easier than you think and you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to connect with everyone. It all starts with you! ❤️
The GOLDen rule!