One day several years ago, many months after Marie came to live with us, my husband, in a good mood, came into the kitchen, swooped me backwards, and gave me a passionate kiss. When we had finished, I noticed Marie standing there, gaping, eyes wide, with a shocked look on her face.
“What was THAT????’ she asked in American Sign Language.
“A kiss,” I told her.
“No, no”, she signed back, “a kiss is a little peck on the lips” she said as she came over and demonstrated one on the dog. (Heaven knows a teenager would never kiss their MOTHER!)
“There is a different kind of kiss when you really love someone like your husband” I said.
“That is amazing! How did you LEARN to do that? ” she asked plaintively.
“You don’t learn it, you just feel it. It is natural when you love someone,” I explained to her.
“Well,” she huffed, “I’m going to wait until I’m 17 to do that,” she said as I said a silent prayer to myself that I should be so lucky for her to wait that long!
I laughed inwardly at her innocence, this worldly child who, because of her child abuse knew the mechanics of sex more than anyone her age. I doubted she ever saw anyone really “in love” before, and she had never seen anyone kiss passionately, which really surprised me. The more I thought about it, though, I realized she hadn’t been exposed to it in her young life and the only other way she might know would be from watching television. Because of her deafness and lack of early education, she had a low reading level and was not able to understand the captioning on tv, so she did not generally watch comedy or drama series. Her favorite tv channel was (and still is,) the Animal Planet where captioning is not really needed to enjoy the shows. What wonderfully active lives those animals live! Exotic lives! Interesting lives! Dangerous lives! Sometimes romantic lives; nuzzle noses, lick, bite, cuddle, hug, dance and flap their wings as a means of showing affection. But a long, romantic, “mushy” kiss? I think not….Marie had to learn that from her parents…
To read more about our life, here is a link to my book:
The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane
Link to the Readers Digest review of my book: http://www.rd.com/recommends/what-to-read-after-a-hurricane/
adoption, child, Children, deaf, deaf children, deafness, disability, family, foster care, happy, hearing impaired, joy, kids, life, love, news, parenting, Uncategorized
Showing my two youngest children, Angel and Marie, that l love them has always been a challenge. I can tell Angel I love him 100 times a day, but he will never believe me because he feels unlovable (due to early childhood abuse.) He has dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder.) Sometimes, this 210 pound young man will come and sit on my lap. He is not 15 years old at the time, but three. He will snuggle his head against me and I will put my arms around him, (although that is getting more difficult due to his size!) Then I will sing the Song “All of you…” Only my words are “All of you. I-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i love all of you. All of you, even your angry o-n-e.” He smiles at this, because it is his angry part that feels so unlovable. I can sing it over and over again, and he will smile. The three year old in him believes I love him, but his angry part has been lied to many times before.
Marie has a different issue with my love. She promised her birth mom that she would not love her “new” mom. She is very resistant to kisses and hugs or any other signs of affection because she feels she is being disloyal, (She has expressed to me she cannot show me affection because if she sees her birth mother again, she will be very angry with her.) So, we have survived on fist bumps and the “I Love You” sign in ASL. However, I have ways to show her affection in every day life. For example, ever since she came to live with us at the age of seven, I have dried her off after her shower. This has involved sitting on my lap on the toilet seat while I hug her deeply with the towels on. She melts into my lap and I can tell that she really enjoys it. If I stop too soon, she will ask for more because she is “still wet”. She is 13 years old now and I still towel dry her, (although she modestly wraps herself in the towels before I come into the bathroom.) She still needs my love, even if she cannot accept it in the normal way.
Both children, however, get the biggest kick out of giving me one special kiss. This is not an ordinary kiss, (so it would not go against Marie’s promise to her birth mom.) This is a “let the dog lick them all over their mouths and then they run to me to give me an extra sloppy dog kiss”. I make the obligatory “YUCK!” face, and they both convulse in laughter. Ha ha! They “got” me again. Hey, a kiss is a kiss and I’ll take it any way it comes, even with dog slobber!
adopted children, child, child abuse, Children, deaf, DID, family, foster care and adoption, kids, kissing, life, news, trauma, Uncategorized
Yesterday my husband, in a good mood, came into the kitchen, swooped me backwards, and gave me a passionate kiss. When we had finished, I noticed my 13 year old adopted daughter standing there, mouth gaping open, eyes wide, with a shocked look on her face. “What was THAT????’ she asked (in American Sign Language.) “A kiss,” I told her. “No, no”, she signed, “a kiss is a little peck on the lips” she said as she came over and demonstrated one on the dog. “That is the way you kiss when you really love someone, your husband” I said. “WOW! How did you LEARN that? Can you show ME!?!?!” she signed. “You don’t learn it, you just feel it. It is natural when you love someone,” I explained to her. “I’m going to wait until I’m 17 to do that,” she signed back, and I said a silent prayer to myself that I should be so lucky for her to wait that long! I laughed inwardly at her innocence, this worldly child who knew the mechanics of sex more than anyone her age should have to know, (the reason of which is a discussion better delegated to a more serious blog entry.) But I doubt she ever saw anyone in love before, and she definitely had never seen anyone kiss passionately, which really surprised me. The more I thought about it, though, I realized she hadn’t been exposed to it in her young life and the only other way she might know would be from watching television. Because of her deafness, she has a low reading level and is not able to understand the captioning enough to get interested in a romantic story or one of the more mature television shows which are all over the television today. Her favorite tv station is the Animal Planet where great stories are told and no captioning is needed. She knows all about the life cycles of animals, insects and reptiles, including their different mating rituals, but, as preparation for real life, I’m sure she never saw alligators kiss like that!
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