Ten Random Facts About Blind Parenting

Ten golden stars have been set upon a royal blue background. A large central star dominates, with nine smaller stars angled around it, four in the corners of the image and five nestled between the points of the main star.

Hello there, my Treasures. While I continue to go through my whirlwind, see this post for clarification if you’re confused, I thought I would do a fun little post where I toss out ten random facts about blind parenting. I’ve a more serious one coming soon. But for now, let’s do this.

Fact One: Blind women do have babies with sighted men,

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“I do.”

“Oh, that’s nice. Is he also blind?”

Facepalm. No. He’s not.

Novel concept, eh? It is true though. Blind people don’t just date blind people and blind parents are not always one half of a blind duo. Most blind people I know date, marry and have children with sighted partners, in fact.

If you wouldn’t automatically assume Irish people only marry other Irish people or Asians only marry other Asians, please don’t assume blind people can or would only marry and build a family with other blind people.

Fact Two: Walking over Legos barefoot hurts just as much for blind parents as it does for sighted parents.

I might even go so far as to pull rank and say it hurts us more. Why? Because we can’t see them all over the floor; you sighties get a 2.5 second visual warning. We blindies prance happily across the floor, expecting to feel floor, but instead end up doing a Godzilla routine over Ouchville and its surrounding farmlands.

Sighties, don’t believe me? If you live in a winter-prone part of the world, next time your child strews their Legos all over the floor mid-winter, ask your spouse if they’d rather blindfold themselves and walk barefoot across that room or spend the next hour shoveling the car out of the driveway.

I’d bet money most would choose the latter without a second thought. And if they don’t, video that walk and send it to me because I want to see it! 😀

Fact 3: You’ll never cherish the words “but you’re beautiful” more than when your six-year-old says them.

Rosie: “Mommy, come watch TV with me!”

Me: (Putting on lip gloss) One sec, baby girl, let me just do this.”

Rosie: “Why?”

Me: “Because I want to be pretty.”

Rosie: (simply) “But you’re beautiful.”

Treasures, I can’t see myself. I don’t know what I look like, and throughout my life, most of the feedback I have received on my appearance has been severely damaging to my self-esteem. To hear these words spoken, so simply and without ulterior motive, from the person I cherish most in this world bypassed all the barriers I’ve thrown up around the topic and struck directly to my heart.

Fact Four: Even when you’re blind, when your child has a nosebleed, you’re going to know it.

My daughter had her first nosebleed at nine months of age. She wasn’t yet walking. Quite frankly, it terrified me. But I knew exactly what it was.

But how?

  1. She began sniffling, and the sound was wet. Not thick, but wet.
  2. When I touched her, I felt the wetness on her face. Warm, thin liquid that grew sticky, then dried fast as it cooled in the air.
  3. I smelled it, and yes, disgusting as this is going to seem to most of you, I touched the tip of my tongue to my finger to confirm. Blood has a unique copper tang to it. That isn’t a myth. Quite frankly, it tastes like it smells. It isn’t pleasant, but I had to use what senses I could to ascertain what was happening to my baby.

Once I knew what was happening, it was a matter of dealing with it. Rosie still has chronic nosebleeds to this day, less so after her recent cauterizations, so I’ve become a pro at doing so. And no, haha, I don’t still taste her blood; It only took once to learn the other signs so I wouldn’t have to go all Dracula on her every time. 😀

Fact Five: Dora the Explorer’s voice is like nails on a chalkboard to many blind parents.

When I tell sighted parents I despise Dora the Explorer, the response I generally get is, “I know. It’s such a stupid show, isn’t it?” (Sorry, Dora fans.)

No. I mean, it’s kind of simple, yes, but it’s geared toward toddlers. The show’s simplicity isn’t what bothers me.

It’s the voice of the main character!!!

Not only does Dora have a very high, nasally voice, but she shouts every line written for her. The actress (or actresses) may have been going for precise speech, but she just ends up yelling into the microphone in a very stilted, high-pitched, nasally fashion. Rosie used to love Dora, and thirty seconds in, I wanted to throw the TV off the nearest skyscraper.

I don’t think sighted people notice this as much, because few people mention it. Perhaps they’re more interested / judgmental of the graphics or the storyline of each show, but I have spoken to blind parents who cringe at the thought of Dora for the exact same reason I do. When your hearing has been trained to be ultra-sensitive, a voice like Dora’s, at the volume she uses coupled with the stilted, over-inflected way she speaks is like listening to a symphony of nails on a score of chalkboards. Insert migraine here.

Fact Six: If you know your child, you will know when they are rolling their eyes at you.

Yes, my Treasures, this is possible. It all boils down to knowing your child. I know my Rosie, and so when I ask her to do something she doesn’t want to do and I receive a silence laden with belligerence or a tsk sound accompanied by an exasperated huff, I know those eyes are rolling heavenward. I also know she’s giving me a dirty look, but I’ll just say that generally goes hand in hand with the eye roll.

I tell her, “Fix that angry face,” and she’s always baffled I’m able to call her out on it. Baby girl, #MommyPowers.

Fact 7: Just because you’re a blind parent doesn’t mean young children will forego leaving obstacles in your path.

While I do believe growing up with a blind parent gives children a unique perspective on disability and capability, children will be children. Awareness and compassion don’t always extend to mindfulness. If you think that because she knows I’m blind, Rosie doesn’t leave an obstacle course in my path every day, you’d sadly be mistaken. Children of blind parents do not develop superpowers of organization. It’s just as much a learned behavior, for them as it is for children of sighted parents.

Fact 8: Being a blind parent doesn’t mean your children stop trying to show you their drawings.

Rosie is a little artist. She has an innate talent for drawing, painting, doing my nails, applying my makeup, ETC. (I don’t ask her to do the latter two; she begs to.) If it involves an artistic component, she’ll own it.

She knows I can’t see, but she still takes great joy in showing me her drawings. She’ll describe them to me, and often I’ll call Aira for an adult description as well. Being blind does not stop me from participating in the joy my daughter takes in her artwork. For those blind parents who cannot squash Aira into their budget, Be My Eyes is another great option.

Fact 9: My daughter can use my iPhone just as well with Voiceover on as she can with it off.

I’ve never tested Rosie to see if she can understand my phone or my computer with her eyes closed, but when it comes to navigating my iPhone, it didn’t take her long to adapt to using it with Voiceover on. It frustrated her in the beginning, but once I taught her how to double tap the option she wanted, she took to it like a pro.

I will turn it off sometimes, when a game she wants to play simply won’t work with it on. But for the most part, if she’s touching my phone, I want to be able to hear what she’s doing, especially if watching Netflix is what she’s using it for. She knows there’s a difference in how the touch screen must be approached with Voiceover on and with it off and adapts seamlessly.

Fact Ten: Some blind parents will only win a genuine game of hide and seek by cheating and making their child giggle.

All right, so I know some of you blind parents probably don’t do this, and in a small apartment, there aren’t all that many hiding spots to use, so I generally know where Rosie’s stashed herself. But put us in a family member’s house and start a game of hide and seek and if I don’t find ways to make that child giggle, Treasures, I am not finding her. She’s very good at standing perfectly, silently still. I know this, and because I don’t want her to develop a knack for hiding from me in a way that uses my lack of vision against me, I turn the entire game into a massive gigglefest.

That wraps it up for today! I hope you all enjoyed!

Remember, if you have any questions or requests for future posts / podcasts / videos, please feel free to tell me either by using this site’s contact form, by sending me an email at SirenaRayLind@gmail.com, or by mentioning me on Twitter with the hashtag #TalkAboutItRena.

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Until next time, my \Treasures, I bid you a fond adieu.

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