Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Wish he could hear

You won't catch me saying that too often. I do love my kids hearing or not, we all know that and I tell them both that. However, yesterday was one of those days...

We were at a small public park where we met Brook's speech therapist. We three girls sat at a concrete park table while Gage roamed around the small area pushing his toy jeep. Behind us and on an embankment, there are some cool rocks that the kids love to climb on. I keep turning around to check on Gage who is probably 50 feet away playing at the rocks. There are a group of ladies walking the tiny track up there and an older gentleman sitting on a bench, Gage is in the center of that track playing, watching birds, watching squirrels. I turn back around to participate in our therapy session. I take my turn as any good AVT mom would do, and as soon as I earn my accolades for getting my answer right, my head turns again to check on my (almost 8 year old)son who is having a conversation with the old man. Gage is trying to show the man a squirrel and I hear the man say "Oh, I see it now." I smile and note to the Tamara that the old man has no idea that Gage can't hear a word he's saying. The ladies who were walking are heading to their cars and Brook is now including her baby doll "Emma" in the therapy and giving her a turn.

I take another peek at Gage who has now progressed his conversation and engaged the man's interest who has probably by now seen the two incisions on either side of his head. He's probably asked Gage what happened only to be "ignored" thinking it's a touchy subject for Gage when he doesn't realize that the child is deaf. It's just the last thing you suspect when the kid can out talk an auctioneer!

Suddenly, I have one of those Mama Moments. I watch as Gage is in full conversation with the man now and he moves in closer, probably to read his lips. I did not like this and before I know it, my feet are moving. If there had not been a creek and a bridge that separated us, it may have been different. So I proceed to walk towards the bridge to cross over to that side of the park. I watch my child help the man pick up sticks and then take them to the man's truck and place them in the back of his truck. Since my pace went from a casual walk in the park to an emergency glide, I was only about fifteen feet from him at this point. I panted heavily not from the steep incline but from trying to keep that big voice at bay that wants to belt out from the core of my body! "GGGaaaaaagggggggeeeeeeee!!!!!!" but he would have never heard me. Before Gage could walk back to the front of the truck I'm standing there with his jeep telling him we need him on the other side of the park.

He reluctantly agrees and the man offers up the restrooms if he need them inside the building since he's a park employee. I see the brace around his waste he uses when he picks up trash, sticks, or heavy objects and make a mental note to myself that he IS just a park employee and meant no harm. But, I can't let this slide. I take Gage back over to the other side where I sit him down and tell him "I know you were just helping that man, but you should NEVER EVER EVER EVER, go up to some one's vehicle. If I had not seen you, that man could have taken you away before I could have gotten to you." He tries to tell my "but I was helping!" and he smiled with pride knowing he was doing a good deed. I told him how nice it was to help and that man may have been a nice man, but I told him several other scenarios that I hope scared him enough to never approach strangers' vehicles.

As you can see this is one of those moments when a cochlear implant could have been a life saver, if indeed his life was in danger. If he'd been wearing a processor yesterday, I could have called out to him, "Gage, back over here now!" and he would have known there was reason for the alert and know that danger was impending by the urgency in my voice. We parents run a fine line when "letting go" of our kids, giving them freedom as they age, but you can't let your guard down EVER. I know this, and I do watch my kids like a hawk so to speak. But I'll be honest, I'm more at ease when I know I can vocally alert my kids!!!


leah said...

I would have had an absolute heart attack.

There is a great Berenstein's Bears book on strangers (mama bear comparing them to apples). Some apples look bad but are good on the inside, and some apples look good but are bad on the inside. You can't tell just by looking, so you have to be cautious. You don't have to live in fear, but you have to be cautious.

I'm sure you earned a few more gray hairs yesterday. Only a couple more weeks until you can shout across the park to get his attention!

AngieShaw10 said...

I just found your blog. Great, lots to read, I have just started one http://deafgirl-missmary.blogspot.com/ and will talk to you more but I just had to comment after this story.
This is one of my biggest fears for my Mary. She is so trusting and sees adults as a person who can help her. With her hearing big sister, only two years older I have gradually introduced the stranger danger ideas to her. With Mary I have no idea how to start. She is not yet three though. I want her to be able to go up to strangers to ask for help should she need it but at the same time there are the nasty strangers. So hard to strike the balance with these special kids.