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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

L is for Language and Love

Here in the Land of Blog, my words, opinions, views, likes and dislikes are available to read or not, as one chooses.

In the Land of Real, my words, opinions, views, likes and dislikes are available to hear, and mostly it is I who chooses if one is to here them or not.

I talk almost non-stop at times. Other times, I don't say a word (but, if one were to read my mind, they might faint!).

Oh, and keep in mind that when I am talking, I have a voice and accent much like The Nanny (Fran Drescher's character) or Rosie Perez, another actress.  Yep, I sound like Nu Yawk!  

All that being said, imagine what happens when me, the mouth that does not rest, is told her newborn baby girl is deaf.  Umm...deaf? My very first thought was 'How is she going to hear birdsong in the mornings?'  Then! WAIT A MINUTE.  EXCUSE ME, EXCUSE ME!!!!!!   Excuse me, how am I supposed to talk to her?  How is she going to talk to me? 

Twenty four years ago, this is exactly what I was thinking, or rather saying, in a fairly loud voice.    Imagine my surprise to find out that the only, ONLY, book I could find to help me learn to sign was Sesame Street Signs, with Linda Bove.
There were no signing shows on PBS, there were no little books to teach baby to sign, in fact, I did not even know anyone who was deaf.   WHAT IN THE HECKIEDOODLE AM I GOING TO DO??  So, I poured over that little Sesame  Street book and learned every sign in it.  And, I started to sign to the little girlie who was still in the NICU and would be for many months.

In this time before computers and the world wide web made access to information so readily available,  I learned where I could find more signing information.  A group of college students at Galluadet University in Washingto DC decided to stage a protest, now known as DEAF  PRESIDENT NOW - a call for the newly appointed president of the college to be deaf.  The eyes of the world were focused on a group of people who knew exactly what I wanted to know. How to communicate with a deaf person.    Galluadet University's book store became my goldmine of information about signing. 

One of the doctors that we were so fortunate to get guidance from in Suzanne's first year of life was Dr. Isabelle Rapin. Dr. Rapin told us to give Suzanne language.  Language,  spoken or signed, was the key to opening up the world for Suzanne and for us.  Since her deafness was total and complete and would never be anything otherwise, we started to sign to her in earnest.  

Teaching our daughter language via ASL gave me a new perspective on how one acquires the skills of communication and understanding.  Have you ever given any thought to how we teach a child to understand the concept of "WHY?" or time, or thoughts, feelings? (About a year of so later my son and his little friends came tearing into the house one morning, all of them shouting "We want to show Suzanne what dead is!"  There was a dead mouse in the street near the school bus stop.  They thought this would be a perfect visual aid in teaching DEAD.)  Oh the memories, just go on and on.  In the beginning though, I just wanted to be able to talk to my girl just as I had to my son when he was a baby.

I needed to be able to tell her how very much she meant to me.  

This is the first sign I learned -

graphic from -
Excerpted from Baby Sign Language Basics (Hay House, Inc.), by Monta Z. Briant. from American Baby

So, L is for Language and for Love.  Spoken or signed, both are vital to our development as human beings.


  1. These are about the only signs I know! Great idea for L!

  2. What an endearing and loving post ~ Wow! What a wonderful parent you were and are ~ thanks for sharing this ~ hugs to you ~ (A Creative Harbor)

  3. What a wonderful L post loving, yes.Could you please stop the word verification, I have tried three times already to comment, this is the last time I try.

  4. Does my blog have word verification on it? If it does, I am not aware of it. Can someone tell me how to remove it?

  5. What a beautiful post! I can't imagine how difficult it was for you, especially in the beginning. But I am sure that the love of a mother can overcome just about anything...

  6. What a wonderful read. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.


  7. Thank you for sharing this, VB. That must have been very hard for you. Hard in that such a sad news to take at the time of birth.

    Also hard in teaching her the sign language when she didn't have a background knowledge and she couldn't hear you telling her anything.

    I am glad you put the signs for "I love you" here. Thank you.

    Jim's Alphabe-Thursday

  8. My friend,
    The unspoken language of love can be understood in many different ways (smile). Even with the sound of silence. Good write my dear!!

  9. a smile and bright eyes are the language of love

    lamb's wool

    BTW, most people who do these link turn off their verification because people do tons of comments and verification is hard to read, you often have to do it more than once, and it takes up so much time. you will certainly get more comments if you turn it off.

  10. This was a fascinating read. The things most of us just take for granted. No matter what, tho, love is vital for all of us.

  11. Thanks for the info about turning off routinely. I checked and sure enough, it was 'on'. I have turned it off. Hope this helps.

  12. This was such an interesting read tonight! You really hit home for many of us. H0ow often do we take so many routine things in our lives for granted? You write wonderfully and I like that I stopped by. Anne

  13. Your post touches me in so many levels. First is the depth of your love, your devotion, and your concern..Then, there are deep thoughts in writing out this post and covered so many aspects of life.

    Wonderful and meaningful post for me to read today!

  14. Many thanks to all of you for your kind words and wishes. Along with my husband and son, Suzanne is one of the delights of my life!

  15. We do take things for granted and realize this often times when we are faced with new challenges. Singing to my children when they were born seemed so priceless; thank you for the reminder that love is love.

  16. Oh my.

    This was a really lovely post.

    I kind of read this with a Fran Drescher voice in my head and that made it quite interesting.

    There is nothing a Mother won't do for their child. How lucky your daughter was to have been born to such devotion and wisdom.

    What an inspiring and beautiful link this week.

    I really enjoyed reading this (with a few tears in my eyes).


  17. wow...

    ducklings, and more.
    these things you post are very beautiful.