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Archive for March, 2010

In His Own Words

I thought you might like to meet Jay. I recently finished an essay for Hearing Health magazine’s Spring issue about how far Jay’s speech has come since getting his hearing aids five years ago. Having said that, please excuse the poor quality of my voice– it sounds as if my lips are directly on the microphone and someone is pinching my nose as I talk. And that is not the way I say goodbye. (What in the world?) Megan had just woken up from a nap so she has her pacifier. I know– she is WAY too old for that thing. Jay never had one, even as a baby, but I fear Megan will sleep with one until she is thirty.

Anyway, meet Jay and the D-Rex he bought with his birthday money:

And because I am a believer in equal coverage for both parties:

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Hakuna Matata

When trying to break the will of an adversary, the United States government will often use a tactic that involves a constant bombardment of loud, repetitive music. It’s a strategy intended to wear down the psyche of the enemy. The military used this ploy against Noriega in Panama, blasting 80’s rock into the dictator’s compound. I don’t know the name of the person who first came up with this method of torture for the CIA, but I can tell you this with absolute certainty: that person had children.

It began with my daughter Megan’s love for The Lion King. To buy some time to do things like cook dinner, I would coerce Jay into playing Hakuna Matata on YouTube for her. Harmless enough. But somewhere along the line my son became hooked and before I knew it he was playing every version of the song he could find, including the Korean one. The singing itself was not that bad. What drove me over the edge was this:

Remember when I wrote that nice little post about how I was going to stop nudging Jay to act like his peers and encourage his creativity? Yeah…well, THIS? Does not fall under that umbrella. This must stop. IMMEDIATELY. I would personally like to thank the two women in this video for making this over-the-top version of Hakuna Matata and turning our lives into an episode of Glee. My son is now an interpretive dancer.

Some of our friends have found a lot of humor in my mortification. One in particular threatened to blurt out the name of the song the next time we were all out together (that’s all it takes to get Jay started). To which I responded by stabbing him in the eye informing him I would retaliate by mentioning the Wii around his son (the child’s pupils immediately dilate and his jaw goes slack). Harsh? Go ahead and play that video say, oh, 263 consecutive times and then judge me, people. I dare you.

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Dear Jay

Aren’t you so glad you eventually grew out of your barber shop phobia and I no longer have to give you haircuts like this?  Love, Mom.

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Jay turned nine this weekend. It’s been a busy couple of days that included this sleepover:

People have looked at this picture and questioned my sanity, but honestly, I couldn’t have been happier to have a house full of rowdy boys. Seeing all of them having such a good time made me realize that my son has great friends and is happy. For so long now I have been wishing that he could make friends with some more of the kids in our neighborhood– especially the group of kids in the court down the street. I’ve mentioned them before, and there have been times when I thought he had been accepted into their little clique, but with the exception of one nice younger boy, the group has pretty much snubbed him (none of them are pictured above and were not invited to his party).  For awhile this bothered me, but looking at this picture I had what you might call an epiphany– for the past year I have been subconsciously wooing those kids in the court with fun parties and invitations, and you know what? Most of them are little turds. They bully the nice kid I mentioned, and I’ve learned through Jay that they’ve said some unfriendly things to him as well. Never again will I encourage my son to try to play with them, to make friends. They should be so lucky to have him for a friend.

As a child, I was painfully shy and often lonely. I feared that Jay would have the same experience, probably even a more difficult one because of his hearing impairment. I’ve always tried to please others because of my low confidence, and I think I’ve projected some of that onto Jay. I admit, in the past there have been times when I have discouraged behaviour in Jay that I thought others would find “weird,” and tried to encourage him to be as much like his peers as possible. Just seeing those words in black and white makes me cringe. Where is the girl who idolized the misfits in all those Molly Ringwald movies? I once scorned everything “normal” and mainstream, and yet here I was pushing my kid to fit in as much as possible. I guess I just wanted to protect him as much as possible from the rejection of others.

But you know what? He’s great, just the way he is. I don’t want to give him the message that he should change, that there is something wrong with him, just because others can be narrow-minded or cruel. It’s their problem, not his.

As my husband so eloquently put it, “Geez, you act like we have to tie a pork chop around his neck to get other kids to play with him. He’s got friends, he’s fine.”

Yes, he is. And any kid that can’t see that and doesn’t want to be his friend? Well, that kid can just bite me.

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