Our friend Kaitlyn came for a week to visit with us and we had a wonderful time together.We had breakfast at a local restaurant in Northern Wisconsin this morning. After we sat down an older couple sat at the table across from us. The woman looked at the boys and said how cute they were and then she looked at Kai and asked "is he mentally all there?" Really??? This is the second comment out of your mouth? I really don't mind answering questions about my kids, people are intrigued, I get that. However, I would love for people to be more cognizant of the fact that my kids hear them and the questions that they ask.
Peoples reaction to Kai's disabilities is so fascinating for me to watch. Children are the most unfiltered. We have been walking Bei into school for 8 months, walking by or in Kai's case staggering by the same children for 8 months. Not much has changed, the kids still stop what they are doing and just stare at him staggering down the hallway. Some kids will come up and ask what his hearing aids are but most just stare. One child was brave enough to ask me why he drools. Oral motor delay is a hard concept to explain to a kindergartener, but I gave it a shot, "Kai's mouth muscles don't work as good as yours, so he drools." To be frank, most kids are repulsed by his drool.
Recently I witnessed an act of kindess toward Kai that brought me to tears. I was talking to another mom and Kai was quietly playing nearby. The other mom's 4th grade daughter began to engage Kai in play and as Kai played, his focus became intense and he started to drool rapidly. Without any comment, the little girl took the collar of his shirt and gently wiped the drool away. It was one of the most loving acts of kindness that I have witnessed. Afterwards as I reflected on her action, I realized that I am so use to kids being "grossed out" by Kai's drooling that her generosity towards my sweetie pie highlighted all the negativity that I have become so accustomed to expect. That little girl named Stephanie, will always have a special place in my heart.
I am going to approach Bei's teacher this week and see if I can educate the kids about Kai's hearing and his Ataxia. They are curious and how else will they learn unless with address it with them directly. I thought I could talk about the 5 senses and then about how to treat people that may seem different than they are. Bei's classroom already spent two weeks learning sign language. The kids were so excited each day to tell me what they learned. I had given Mrs. Redmond several sign language books and she took it from there.
For the record and to the lady in Northern Wisconsin...Kai is smart but he is delayed due to multiple medical issues including an educationally signficant hearing loss.