Saturday, April 11, 2009

Signs of Sisterhood

If you are looking for the Gloria Monster pattern, I had planned to post it today and I will post it very soon. I promise. But I had to share these pictures right now.

Explanation: two of my daughters are hearing impaired. Seven year old Sparkle has a profound hearing loss and received a cochlear implant two years ago. Stinkerbelle is three; she has a mild-moderate severe loss. To those uninitiated in the world of hearing loss: Sparkle hears absolutely nothing without her implant while Stinkerbelle has some hearing; she's merely considered hard of hearing, not deaf.

There's a lot of debate in this country as to how deaf-hoh children should be raised: only using their surviving hearing and voice, only using sign language, a bit of both. We are of the "whatever helps this child communicate, learn to read and accomplish everything they want to in life" school of thought. We use voice, we use sign.

Last night I happened upon my two daughters looking at a book together--just one of those board books for babies. You know the kind. On each page is a photo of something that a baby might want to know the word for: milk, sleep, teddy bear. (I'm positive that BAP (Babies Against Parents) puts out additional training manuals for words like fingernail polish remover, paint stripper, $100 a drop perfume--all the things that Baby really wants to know the name for.)

This board book, however, happens to feature American Sign Language signs for each picture. Sparkle was demonstrating the sign and then quizing Stinkerbelle. It was....soooooo.....darling.

All day my two little sweeties play together. Sparkles is the ring leader, teacher, one with "a plan." Stinkerbelle is the follower, imitator, trusty sidekick. It's wonderful. They have something special to offer to each other that no one else in this family does. They understand what it's like not to hear, not to speak, not to always understand what's going on, not to always be in on the joke, not to always know where we are going, what we are doing, what is happening next. They can communicate across a room, without a sound--although many times they are the loudest of the family. And what I love is that neither one of them is going through life alone--without the help of a sister who really understands. And that makes me happy!


Chantelle said...

Absolutely beautiful.

Susan Loftin said...

It's wonderful that the girls have a special bond.

Elizabeth said...

Great blog! I hope you'll consider adding it to the aggregator at Deaf Village ( -- we'd love to have you as part of our community!