Monday, March 31, 2008

A different kind of "March madness"

March is ALWAYS a busy month in the Wilson home. This time around, however, it was Jennifer's first Spring Break from school. With her back home for a week, I was kept plenty busy. Pretty much all of my computer time went towards working on my books. I didn't blog very much (obviously) and did very little activity elsewhere online.

Spring Break is over, though, and she goes back to school tomorrow morning. Of course, I am disappointed we didn't get to do as much as I had hoped (thanks to the crummy weather we had!!!), but maybe her summer vacation will be better.

Also during that week, I was VERY BUSY with the writing. Now that I have finished up a couple of book projects, I won't be so BURIED with the writing work. And hopefully soon, I will be able to get all caught up with everything.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Happy Easter!

Easter totally caught us off guard this year. We did a lot of last-minute shopping! We'd been so busy with everything else and all of a sudden, we were like, "Easter is THIS Sunday??" I guess we're not used to having Easter in March.

I don't know WHAT it was about today but I was a bit of an idiot. First, I took pictures of the kids with their baskets in the morning. Neither picture has BOTH of the baskets in them. ARGH!!

Here are the pics:

Then, at church, I kept hitting my head on the front pew EVERY TIME I bent over to pick up my purse. EVERY TIME! It happened like 3 or 4 times. I don't know. I forgot how to count after the second time. It was CRAZY!! Oh, but I can laugh about it now. And nurse a headache.

Jennifer wanted to see the cross in the "grownup" worship room at the church. They draped it with a white cloth. She kept asking questions about the crucifixion of Christ. I really don't know how to talk to her about it. It's hard for her to grasp why Jesus died and why He was crucified. (She doesn't really "get" the concept of crucifixion.) I wanted to run back to the children's ministry and tell her to ask her pastor ALL of her questions but I figured we could both talk it all out in time.

Usually, at the church, they have "He is Risen!" on the walls for Easter but they didn't have it this year.

We had a nice Easter. I wanted to go ALL OUT since it was Jesse's first but my husband didn't want to make it too much of a big deal kind of thing. He complained it was too cold, gray and wet outside, anyway. But it was still a pleasant day. After dinner, I read to the children. I read the books Little Rabbit Waits for the Moon, The Velveteen Rabbit, Guess How Much I Love You, I'm Big Enough and The Bunny of Bluebell Hill. Jennifer asked me which one was my favorite and I said, "The Velveteen Rabbit, of course." Before I read Guess How Much I Love You, she asked, "Guess how much I love you!"

"Oh, I don't know. How much?"


"Hmmm. All the way up to the moon?"

"All the way up to God!"

Well, I certainly wouldn't ever want to travel any more farther than that!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

If you're happy and you know it, don't smile

Last night, we went to a baby shower the women at my church threw for Jesse. Since baby showers are traditionally held before the birth of a baby, I pretty much looked at it as a sort of "welcome to the world" party for my 4 1/2-month-old son. I honestly hadn't expected something like this for him. I don't have a lot of girlfriends here in Eugene, my family lives so far away, and I guess a good friend of mine who kept telling me how he wanted to be the baby's godfather was too upset over not being notified of the baby's birth and decided against having a party for him, after all. (In our defense, this friend's phone was disconnected, his Internet had been disconnected and we didn't have his cell phone number.) So, I wasn't really expecting anything to celebrate the baby's arrival, so it was really nice how the ladies at the church wanted to do a little something-something.

But there was a little "something-something" extra which put a really bad taste in my mouth.

Everybody knew that I'm deaf. In fact, a lady there who knows sign language helped out on some of the communicating and another lady sat next to me with her laptop opened and typed out what people were saying. This was all going really well and I was enjoying the evening, thinking of how GREAT it was to get out and spend time with a group of friendly, understanding women to talk about any old thing. (The favorite topic: How hard it was to lose weight and find clothes that fit right. And we were all eating chocolate cake! Go figure.) At one point, towards the time I left, a group of them were in the center of the living room, joking and laughing. I know they were joking because one of them told me as much on the laptop. I sat there, in a good mood, smiling and just watching them have their fun. Then one of them noticed me smiling and, indicating me, said something along the lines of "she's sitting there smiling and she doesn't know what we're saying."

Ah, yeah. That's pretty much where my good mood deep-sixed. That was a REALLY uncool thing to say. I may not have understood their jokes but I DEFINITELY understood that! (Mainly because she was facing my direction when she said it.)

I'm sure she wasn't trying to be mean. I'm sure she was just coming off the joking-spree they were all on. But I really think it was rude to say something like that. I didn't respond to it, though. I just looked at other things, inwardly stewing over that. I was tempted to say "I'm smiling because I'm happy," but I didn't.

My husband, who is also deaf, was also angry to hear about this. He says I should've said something. I don't know. Maybe I should have. Or maybe I should have just sat there making faces at everybody instead! *rolls eyes*

I was smiling because I was happy. I was smiling because I was in a good mood. I was smiling because it had been such a pleasant evening and I was grateful for the beautiful gifts and the whole thing itself. I wasn't smiling to bluff my way through their fun! I was not a part of it, so why even try to be?

I am thinking of e-mailing the hostess about this and conveying how that woman's remark hurt my feelings. I don't have the woman's e-mail address, so I can't e-mail her directly. I don't usually see her at the church so I can only think this is one way to say something about it. It's not too late for me to say something! But one thing is clear: I'm certainly not smiling anymore.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Living in a DEAF home

As deaf parents of hearing children, life at home involves the blending of two worlds. Our world is the deaf world, while our children’s is the hearing world. But in some way, we don’t really see it as the merging of two worlds. In fact, it is just one, where there is both hearing and deaf. At the same time, my deafness does play a prominent role in our lives, mainly because it changes the norm. We’ve found a way to turn this dual-world home into one DEAF world.

D: Deafness.

We often talk about deafness and what it means to be deaf. We answer our child’s questions about deafness and the deaf world and she shares with us her thoughts and feelings about having deaf parents. We ask her about the kids at school and what questions they might have, and we discuss any outside concerns from others.

E: Encouragement.

Just as we encourage discussion about all things deaf, we also encourage our child to indulge in her hearing world. We are all too happy to buy music CD’s, speakers for the computer, musical toys and books. We encourage her to explore her sense of sound, to listen to the crunch of Fall leaves or the clatter of pots and pans. We sing together, dance together and play games together. At the same time, we encourage her to learn sign language and communicate through sign.

A: Action.

There has to be participation in a healthy deaf/hearing family. This is what I believe. Participation in school meetings and activities, participation in sign language classes, participation in extracurricular activities and family outings. Just because I can’t hear anything, it doesn’t mean I have to live isolated from the world. If I must attend a school meeting that isn't one-on-one, I’ll ask for an interpreter first and be all too happy to attend. If my child wants to go see a movie or go to the fair, we get up and go. Having action in the family helps us learn together, work together and be a family together.

F: Fun.

Deafness is not the end of having fun in life. Yes, it is sad that we can’t communicate with each other like other hearing families can, but it’s essential to maintain a positive and happy environment in the home despite this. Being unable to hear should not bring on a cloud of negativity over the family or make everybody all depressed. Deafness is just a part of life. It’s the way it is. We can’t allow it to "rain on our parade" and put the brakes on enjoying life. Life is only lived once. It’s pointless to live in a depressed state and a waste of time groveling over being deaf. Additionally, I have to keep in mind that a positive, happy attitude in life will show my child that a deaf person CAN be a happy person.

Living in a DEAF home may be different for all of us, but ultimately, it has made life more rewarding. Through Deafness, Encouragement, Action and Fun, we’ve found a way to combine both the deaf and hearing worlds to make one. The DEAF world.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Yesterday we had to drive out to Portland. My son was to see a craniofacial specialist at OHSU because the back left part of his head is kind of flat. It's a long drive out to Portland. The trip takes a good 2 hours. I got up at 5:30 to get the kids bathed and fed (and of course to do the same with me!) and to get everything together. Jen brought along a bag of toys, books and a drawing pad to keep her preoccupied and I packed her lunch box up with a bunch of snacks.

Our appointment was at the Doernbecher Children's Hospital, located on the campus of the Oregon Health Sciences University. The OHSU campus is HUGE!! I mean, gigantic. It's spread out over one side of a mountainous area of Portland. The first time I'd been out there, I made the mistake of looking down and almost screamed. We were REALLY high up on that mountain! But the campus is just gargantuan and so are the buildings. Big, BIG buildings. Jennifer couldn't believe how big they were and kept holding her head back to look up at all of them. I felt like I was in the land of giants!

The specialist who examined Jesse was very nice. Although Jesse cried a lot and didn't really like being examined, she was very patient and very soothing with him. She said what he has is called "positional plagiocephaly." It can happen sometimes in the womb that the baby will rest his head in an area too narrow for full head development. She assured me that it wasn't my fault. (Yes, I DID blame myself for this!)

Anyway, she showed us three things that we can do to help his head shape itself out to normal (though she did say that there was a chance it won't appear so "normal" in the long run). She said that we can do an exercise in which we move his head to the right side, where his chin touches his shoulder, and hold that for 10 seconds then repeat. We do this every time we change his diaper. The second thing is to make sure he sleeps on his right side (not the left where the flattening is at) and keep blankets rolled up against him to prevent him rolling onto his stomach. Have him sleep against the side of his crib to ensure he'll stay on the good side. Finally, we have to give him LOTS of "tummy time" with a blanket rolled up under his arms/chest to strengthen his arm and neck muscles. (His neck tends to get a little stiff and he has trouble turning his head to the right sometimes). We have to do that for 10 weeks. If there is no improvement, then they have a helmet for him to wear to help his head shape out better. (They REALLY want to try to avoid him having to wear the helmet. Babies HATE it. After reading they have to wear it for 23 hours EVERY DAY, I wasn't surprised!)

I am just relieved that it isn't something permanent. That it is something that can be fixed. I am also relieved that we got this before he turned 6 months old. After 6-7 months, what can be done to correct this problem is limited.

Here is more information about it:

We drove through the city on our way out of Portland and it was amazing. They have a tram AND cable cars! One word can describe Portland: "Wow." I saw Portland State University and it is just BEAUTIFUL. I thought Eugene was a college town but Portland is like a "college town on steroids." It's BIG on the universities. There is even a Bible College that is HUGE and it has a screen out front televising information about it.

Here are ALL the pictures I took while in Portland:

Monday, March 10, 2008

The solitary Gemini

Lately I have been moody. My husband keeps asking me what is wrong.

What's wrong? Well, let me see. I can't get an ASL interpreter at my church. So far, four of them have left. My best friend who lived next door is no longer living next door. (Some creepy guy and his inconsiderate daughter are there now.) I haven't seen my family for a year. I don't have friends to hang out with or talk with, or anything. And I can't even find the chance to join a gym so I can get myself into shape!

What's wrong?? Jeez. What is even right.

I try to console myself. I tell myself stuff like, "Well, at least I have more time to write. At least I have my kids with me. At least I'm not getting addicted to anything and crying over my problems."

But it's the lack of socializing thing that bugs me. That really bugs me.

It's true, I haven't seen any of my family for a whole year. I could be sarcastic about that and make some crack over that is how I've managed to keep my sanity for the past 12 months. (Yeah, right!) Or that is why I've been writing so much and obsessed with my work. Or I could get angry about it and think, 'If they wanted to see me, THEY would come out to visit instead of me being the one to come out and visit.' But instead, I get sad.

And after I got depressed over something going on with people on the Internet, that was my wake-up call that I need to start filling the void. I need to stop feeling so isolated, friendless and lonely. The sad thing is, most of my friends are on the Internet! How sad IS that??? I mean, really. It's pathetic that I have more friends on the Internet than in real life.....

I need to have friends IN REAL LIFE. People to talk to. Hang out with. Do stuff with.... But I don't have those kinds of friends. I DO have friends, just the kind that I rarely see.

I need people to fill the void. I'm sick of being by myself so much. I'm a Gemini, for crying out loud! Geminis are SOCIAL CREATURES. Not solitary. But it seems I might as well get used to being solitary. I might as well get used to being by myself. Even sleeping by myself. I might as well get used to it. Embrace being solitary.

At least I have my children. I know THEY won't move away. Not yet, anyhow. And while I still have them, I'm going to make my world revolve around them.

One little clarification here: I DO like having online friends. There are online friends who have REALLY been a friend to me. People I love and care about. It just bothers me that I have more online friends than actual, in-person friends. But, I will accept this. This is how my life is, and I will accept it.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Things that go bang in the night

Lately, I've been dealing with insomnia. After I'd finish the writing for the evening and be able to go to bed, I would not be able to sleep. Chalk it up to stress, I suppose. But last night was different. Last night, I was up late working on my proposal. I'd been working on it all week, in addition to brainstorming for a new subtitle, and I was finally getting it all wrapped up. When that was finished, I FINALLY went to bed, very sleepy and relieved I could finally get some sleep.

That's what I thought until I suddenly felt a big "BANG!" against the wall behind my bed. It was so strong, it shook the whole bed!

I jumped out of bed, suddenly alert and looking around. I kept telling myself that because I didn't feel that with my hand against the wall, I couldn't be too certain it was coming from the carport that was located next to my bedroom. But my body KNEW what it was. Years of complete deafness has attuned my body to be sure of these kinds of vibrations. I KNEW what I had felt. It was definetely, unmistakably a bang coming from the carport. It had definitely been against that part of the wall. There was no doubt.

I was alone with the children because my husband was working. (He works the night shift.) So it was up to me to make sure we were safe. And even though I was frightened, I knew I had to buck up because the children were relying on me to protect them.

I went to my window and, as inconspicuously as possible, peered out through the curtains. I didn't see anyone. I looked everywhere on one side. Nothing. Then I went to another side. Still nothing. I kept looking, just to be sure. For once, I was grateful we live on a busy street. My neighbor is in the process of moving and he had left some furniture and this big living room lamp out on the driveway, next to the carports. I used the light from the headlights reflected on the lamp to determine if there could be anyone over there and I saw the silhouettes of two human shadows.

I bit my lip and grabbed my phone. I texted my husband and told him he needs to check out the carport when he gets home. I knew he was due back in 25 minutes and I'd have to use that time to ensure our safety. I told him I had felt a bang on the wall. While I waited for his response, I checked on the kids. They were fine. Peacefully asleep. But then I noticed a light flashing on a speaker that picks up noises, which is part of the Baby Cryer we use for when the baby is crying for us. It activates a vibrating rod under the mattress. When the light is blinking, that means it's picking up noise. I looked at my infant son, peacefully asleep and not even moving. 'Oh, no,' I thought. What KIND of noise was it detecting?? Was the noise so loud it would wake up and frighten my children?

My husband texted back saying "OK" and I sent the following message: "Hurry. The sound sensor's going off and the baby's asleep." (Well, he wasn't asleep for long. Soon enough, he started moving around and fussing in his sleep.) He texted back that I should turn on all the lights. So I walked out of the room to turn on ALL the lights in the house. Well, except for my daughter's bedroom light... That thing is BRIGHT and would wake her up. Still, she has a bright nightlight on in there. I thought it was sufficient. After I turned on the lights, I let my dog out of the crate. He walked around the house before settling back onto his pillow that we keep in the crate. I noted he didn't bark but he did have his ears up as he lied there. I kept an eye on him while I waited for my husband to get home, to see if he started barking. I kept checking on the kids every 5 minutes and took inventory of what I had to fight with if someone broke in. There was nothing in the entrance room except a desk lamp; it would have to do if I needed to use it against an intruder.

Finally, I looked out the peephole on the door and saw my husband park his car in the driveway and go up to the carport. He spent a while in there before going back to his car to move it to his usual parking space. At this point, I didn't see ANYTHING out of the usual. When he came inside, he wanted to know why my neighbor had some of his stuff in our carport and that I needed to tell him he'll have to move it elsewhere after 8 p.m. I didn't ask if he'd noticed anything missing. I mean, how would HE know?? So I made it a point to see if my neighbor noticed anything different the next morning.

I'd always hated the fact that we didn't have a normal garage to close stuff in at that carport. My neighbor's son once stored his bike in there and the bike was later stolen. I've had stuff the old residents left behind in that carport end up being stolen, too. So I guess I'm not surprised that extra stuff in there had attracted some unwanted company. I had warned my neighbor his stuff might get stolen if he put it in there. Now I know that we shouldn't even HAVE that temptation out there. The children's safety is too important for that risk.

UPDATE: I found out who it was. It was my new neighbor's daughter and her friend. I was pretty steamed they were out there making a racket at almost 2 a.m.! GRR! Nevertheless, my decision still stands.

Monday, March 03, 2008

He was one cool cat with one cool hat

Today is Dr. Seuss' birthday. Jen's school is having a "Dr. Seuss" week and every day of this week has some kind of theme related to his books.

Today everyone came to school wearing pajamas. Even the teachers! I thought it was cool. I even took Jen to school AND walked her to her class in MY pajamas. Just so she wouldn't feel left out. ;)

The whole thing with the pajamas made me think about something I'd been mulling over yesterday. Yesterday, my husband spent the whole day in his PJ's. He didn't even shower. He was going to ENJOY his weekend, darn it! And while I silently applauded his determination to just be so laid back for ONE DAY out of his VERY hectic week, I kept wishing I could also spend the day in my jammies, without a shower and just watching TV.

Ah, to be young again. And not a mom.

See, when you ARE a mom, those days just DON'T happen anymore.'ve broken your leg. Or the kids are spending the weekend at Grandma's house. Or they're away at camp. THEN you get to stay in your jammies all day. Watch TV. Order a pizza instead of cooking a meal. Read a book nonstop for hours....

...Hm. Now all of a sudden, I want to shuttle them off to my mom's! LOL Just kidding! :) All of that stuff IS a nice fantasy, but I already had my fun BEFORE I had my children. Those days are long past.

Still, the birthday boy's legacy doesn't mean my responsibilities as an adult have to be all "boring" and "hectic." In fact, the number one reason why I LOVE reading Dr. Seuss books so much is because, just once, I get to be a kid again. Just for a little bit. Whenever I read any of his books, I'm taken back to my childhood. I remember that childhood carefree innocence. And I remember watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" as a kid and reading those books as a kid.

And even ACTING like a kid when I read them even now.

In honor of his birthday, we read EIGHT of her Dr. Seuss' books. We read for a whole hour!! I LOVED singing as I read The Foot Book and Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? Yes, I sang them. I mean, why not! They have a sort of tune if you read them a certain way! Jennifer loved that, too. And, you know, when she was a toddler, her favorite book was The Cat in the Hat. She'd ask me to reread it to her sooo many times.

Oh, and she read a WHOLE BOOK all by herself today! ALL! BY! HER! SELF!! Wow, what a nice birthday present to Theodor Seuss Geisel. And the VERY FIRST book she read all by herself was...Green Eggs and Ham. She kept commenting how silly Sam-I-Am was and she just kept laughing over lines like "Would you eat them in a box?" and "Would you eat them with a fox?" I was sooo proud of her but at the same time, I felt a little sad. My baby is growing up so fast. *sigh*

But I've got a feeling that, thanks to Dr. Seuss and his books, she, like a lot of us, will get to have some small part of herself remain a kid forever.