It would appear Spring has finally sprung. Daffodils and bluebells, bumblebees and butterflies, sunshine and showers… And terrible public nappy incidents.
What is it about Spring that means we have to start going outside again? Oh, I know; it’s hard-wired biorhythms, harking back to the days when we lived in caves and could only venture out once the weather wouldn’t strip any exposed skin like a wallpaper steamer. It’s the natural function of the human being to feel the stirrings of new life and poke our heads out to have a peek. Ahh, Spring!
Well, I say Spring can naff right off.
First, we went to a cake sale. That began brilliantly (with cake) and ended shockingly (with me shrieking, “You great nimrod, cashews are a nut, the clue is in the name,no?!” during the moment of ‘Quiet Thanksgiving’, having never heard of ‘Quiet Thanksgiving, either in the aural or literal sense).
There were fierce stares in our direction.
My friend (who could have avoided the whole thing simply by knowing her nuts) scooted sideways, pretended not to know us and joined in the scowling and shushing. What else could I do? I turned to my little man sleeping in his pushchair and hissed, “Shush!”
Still asleep, he managed to lift one eyebrow, Roger Moore style, which made the old man next to him snort, which made me have hysterics, which made us even more unpopular. We left. I covered my embarrassment by thieving cakes from every table on the way.
Spring 1, Emily 0.
Then, we went to a barbeque. There were many children there, and only one other deaf parent. Not really knowing anyone other than our partners well enough to do the lip-reading thing for the entire three hours, we gave up after about thirty minutes of socialising and instead became jungle animals with the hordes of feral children.
The other adults seemed to think this wasn’t worthy of comment, until one of the little boys got over-excited hunting a “Real Live Deaf Jaguar!” and threw up next to the pond. Whereupon another little boy slipped over in it, ran to his big sister for a comforting hug and suddenly there were three vomit-strewn children.
Naturally, I chose that moment to begin an all-encompassing conversation about the dangers of having a pond where children play…
Spring 2, Emily 0.
Sainsburys. Which has been, since the baby was born, a place to be scuttled into, raced round, and shot back out of in as short a time as is humanly possible. But, of course, it’s Spring now, so everything is much more leisurely, and who thinks twice about having a nice coffee in the cafe, basking in the sunshine that pours through the window? Well, I do now. And I won’t go into details, but it wasn’t because of the coffee, although it was because of something sort-of coffee-coloured.
Spring 3, Emily 0.
The Parent and Baby Group. A rite of passage for all new mothers, plus they invariably have biscuits. I can be tempted most places by a biscuit, and all places by jam. This particular Group promised jammy biscuits. ‘Nuff said. And… it wasn’t too bad. We did meet the Bonkers Neighbour, who stopped to mumble at us about the global threat of gays, and asked (for the sixth time) if baby was hearing or deaf, and expressed (for the sixth time) supreme relief at the answer.
Then, we arrived at the Group and realised the main leader dude had a beard, so he was incomprehensible. Then, we realised 90% of the other parents were incomprehensible, for various reasons, and my heart sank. Then, we found the 10% of deaf parents, and things got a lot better. We even mixed with the hearingies a few times, and it was actually lovely.
Nobody was much bothered whether they were talking in English, BSL or gobbledegook, because all we were really doing was admiring each other’s babies. But all too soon, the boy decided to show off his brand new screaming lungs, and all efforts to shush him were taken as encouragement to increase both volume and pitch. So, we left under a cloud; but hopefully one that will disperse before we return.
Spring 4, Emily 0.
And then. Saturday afternoon; The Final Round. Partner at work, dog at the farm, me in sole charge of baby. He wore his new sunhat, and I wore most of his lunchtime milk. We sat under an umbrella in the garden and watched the bugs.
We looked at clouds until the sun started to hurt our eyes, and then we looked at all the new buds on the tree instead. For hours. We had a small snooze in the shade behind the shed and caught a frog by surprise.
He is far too young to ever remember this (the baby, not the frog), but I’ll remember it for a long while.
The results are in.
Spring 4, Emily 10,000000000000000000.
Emily Howlett is a Contributing Editor to this site. She is a profoundly Deaf actress, writer, horsewoman and new mum. She describes herself as being “equally fluent in English, BSL and Gibberish, and completely rubbish at French.” Emily can be found all over the place on various escapades, but divides her time between Derby and London. She can often be found behind a large packet of crisps or any halfway decent book, and insists she can still play characters in their early twenties despite having a grey eyebrow hair.
The Limping Chicken’s supporters provide: BSL translation, multimedia solutions, television production and BSL training (Remark! ), sign language interpreting and communications support (Deaf Umbrella), online BSL video interpreting (SignVideo), captioning and speech-to-text services (121 Captions), theatre captioning (STAGETEXT), legal advice for Deaf people (RAD Deaf Law Centre), Remote Captioning (Bee Communications), visual theatre with BSL (Krazy Kat) , healthcare support for Deaf people (SignHealth), specialist lipspeaking support (Lipspeaker UK), sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting (Action Deafness Communications) education for Deaf children (Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton), and a conference on deafness and autism/learning difficulties on June 13th in Manchester (St George Healthcare group).
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. Find out how to write for us by clicking here, how to follow us by clicking here, and read our disclaimer here.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out about 6 awesome accessibility apps!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people