After I got Ben up from his "nap"* yesterday, I asked him (in sign language) whether he wanted his hearing aid and CI. He said, "No, not yet. I will be deaf for awhile."
So we hung out in his room and played, I signed and he spoke, and he had a merry time being deaf for awhile. Then he asked for his equipment. I put it on and he went back to being hearing.
I thought this was really nice. He has a choice of two ways of being in the world. It's clear that most of the time, he prefers to be hearing. But I feel good about the fact that he's not opposed to being deaf, or frightened by it, and in fact sometimes it suits his mood. Mind you, he won't always get to choose -- he doesn't get to take off his equipment in the middle of 4th grade Social Studies just because he isn't interested in hearing how a bill becomes law. (Some of us might like to have that option, but I'm not going to let him exercise it.)
Maybe I've just succumbed to criticism from the Deaf community that in deciding to give my child access to sound and to raise him orally, I'm operating on the premise that deafness is shameful and intrinsically bad, and I'm instilling that sense of shame in him. (I'm not doing either, by the way.) Could be -- I'm very sensitive to criticism. Even if that's the case, maybe it's a good thing, if it makes me more thoughtful about my own attitude toward Ben's deafness and how it shapes his developing awareness of it. Whatever. Seems like he's on a pretty healthy track right now.
*Yeah, he's just about given up naps -- mostly. We still insist on a period of Quiet Time, as they do at daycare, where we take off his equipment and he lies quietly in bed, and every now and then he'll surprise us by falling asleep. But we can never count on it. Sigh.
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