My kids like to have their friends over to hang out or play with. I like this, too. I’ve always had this picture of me as the “cool mom,” with kids flocking to our house just because they know I’ll be home to entertain them. This doesn’t usually quite work though. Actually, it never works. Instead of the “cool” mom, I’m the “deaf” mom, and that tends to scare them away.
Good or bad, I tend to judge my kids’ friends by how they interact with me. If they never give me eye contact and never reply to my greetings and such, they must not be very good children. If, on the other hand, they talk up a storm and demand that my children interpret for them, they’re the best kids in the world and I welcome them at any time. Sad, but true.
What I’ve actually come to realize though is that pretty much all kids are scared meeting me the first couple of times, simply because I’m deaf and, hey, that’s scary. Or maybe it’d be better to use the term “intimidating.” I do my best to make sure people are comfortable, but it’s like telling people not to worry. Someone comes up and says, ”I’m worried,” and you’re response is, “Don’t worry.” What do you expect to happen? “Oh, great! Thanks! I’m not worried anymore.” I don’t think so.
So, telling people that I don’t bite and I’m really easy-going with new kids doesn’t make someone all-of-a-sudden at ease around me. I like to make jokes and include the kids in my banter, but, even I can admit that it’s not easy—especially since I can’t lipread.
I wish there was a magic wand that I could wave around and make people see me as a person before they see me as a DEAF person, but I’ve come to realize that’s just not likely. I’ll always be the DEAF mom to the kids at school.