Video: Answering Ten Questions I Always Receive As A Blind Parent

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

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.

If you read many blogs from different blogging platforms on Bloglovin, please feel free to add mine as well!

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

The Blind Girl Beauty Tag

Sirena applies lipstick of a matte raspberry shade to her bottom lip. With the tube in her right hand, her face is tilted slightly away from the camera, her eyes gazing off to the right.

I follow Molly Burke on Youtube. She’s a huge inspiration, and she keeps me going when I don’t think there’s much road for me to travel. To be one of Molly’s friends would be so awesome. You should totally follow her; she’s fantastic.

I’ve not watched even a third of her videos, but one of the videos I have seen is her Blind Girl Beauty Tag Collab with another awesome Youtuber, Fashioneyesta. I found it really interesting, so decided to swipe it and answer it for myself.

Disclaimer: I’m not the most beauty savvy blind female you’ll find on the internet. Inspirational girls like Molly Burke, Lucy Edwards, and Emily Davison know a lot more about blind beauty than I do. I’m honestly still learning certain things, but I wanted to give this a shot anyway.

So, without further ado, let’s do this!

BLIND GIRL BEAUTY TAG QUESTIONS

1. What is the hardest makeup product to apply as a person who is blind or visually impaired?

I would definitely say mascara. I have really poor depth perception, and I’m more apt to stab myself in the eye or paint my cheek before I touch my eyelashes. Smaller, shorter wands are best, and it’s easier for me to turn my head and blink against the wand rather than attempt to move the wand along my lashes. I’ve even taken longer wands and held them really close to the end for more control. You’ll definitely want to wear a powder free latex glove for this though, because you’re likely to get mascara all over your fingers otherwise. It’s not at all an ideal solution, but it’ll do in a pinch.

I have heard that lash extensions can make applying mascara easier, but I can’t afford having those professionally done right now, so I couldn’t speak to that one way or the other.

2. What is your #1 tip for shopping with vision loss?

If you have the option to shop with a sighted person you can trust, do that. If you’re like me and you don’t have anyone nearby you can drag to a store, my tip would be to know what works for you. Know your size, know the colors and cuts that flatter your skin tone and body shape, because you’ll probably be doing a lot of online shopping.

I, personally, use Stitchfix as my first go to. Their customer service is fantastic, and one of their representatives filled out my entire style profile with me, even though I only needed assistance with a few aspects of it.

Stitchfix assigns you your own personal stylist who selects five pieces of clothing, shoes and / or accessories within the styles and price ranges you specify. You can include personal notes to said stylist if there’s something specific you’re looking for in a particular fix. Fixes can be scheduled to arrive at any interval you desire, from bi-monthly to on demand. Your fix gets shipped, you try the pieces on at home, keep what you like and return, free of charge, what doesn’t work. The $20 styling fee charged to your account turns into credit toward your purchases; if you choose to keep all five items, you get 25% off the entire order. (There are even Facebook groups where you can go to sell items you might not want to keep, but that you may wish to purchase just for the discount.)

I’ve never yet kept an entire fix, but I love its vercitility. I love that I can link my Instagram account to my profile so my stylist can use my photos to select items that are most likely to compliment me. I love that I can get fixes for my daughter delivered as well. I love that I don’t need to pay for return shipping. I love the personal notes my stylist includes for me, and how she gets to know me and my style a bit more with each fix. I love that I can schedule fixes on demand for those months when I just don’t have funds to spare for them, and even when I do schedule fixes, I love that Stitchfix will work with me if I need an extension on a return window until a nearby time that’s more financially comfortable for me.

I’m not being sponsored by Stitchfix. If you click the link above, it is my referral link, so I will get $25 in credit when you check out with your first fix, but so will you. Win win. Honestly though, I gush about them because I’ve had such amazing experiences with them. They’re not always the best choice for things, but I’ll usually try a fix first before attempting to fight accessibility battles on other retail sites. Even their iPhone application is accessible.

Find what works for you, and use that. Stitchfix works for me. I learn about brands I might not have heard of, I find new cuts and styles of clothing that flatter me, and I can take all of that to other sites and stores if I need to. Again, it works for me, but it might not be the solution for everyone.

3. What is one beauty item you stay away from due to vision loss?

I would have to say hair dye if we’re talking about what we steer clear of independently using. If we’re talking about facial items, I’d have to agree with Molly and say loose powders of any kind, but when it comes to coloring my hair, something I’ve wanted to do for a while now, I would have it professionally done. If I tried doing it myself, the end result would look as though every salon within a ten mile radius went all Independence Day destruction on my head.

4. What tips would you give to a young girl struggling with vision loss who wants to get into makeup?

First, don’t assume you can’t participate in this part of being a girl just because you don’t have 20/20 vision. This door, like so many others is not closed to you. You’ll need to find techniques that work for you, but you can most definitely do this.

Next, I would say know what works for both your age and your coloring. If you have a Maceys nearby or any store with a makeup counter, see if a parent, trusted loved one or a friend will accompany you there. Ask the people at the counter to do a full makeover on you. If you don’t already know what colors will suit your skintone or your age, you’ll find out here. Rely on that trusted loved one to be completely honest with you and to work with the makeup artist to select suitable shades for a flattering and age-appropriate look.

As for applying makeup, there are some tutorials online specifically geared toward blind and visually impaired makeup users. Here are a few.

Makeup Application – VisionAware.

9 things I’ve learnt about applying makeup with a visual impairment.
This was written by Emily Davison or Fashioneyesta (see above) and has some pretty ingenious tips.

How to Apply Makeup if You Are Completely Blind: 15 Steps.

If you work with a state agency, request training in daily living skills. They will teach you some techniques for putting on makeup. Not every rehabilitation instructor is magnificent at this, but most have at least been trained in it.

Read magazines online with your screen reader or magnification program, or subscribe to them in braille, join the NFB Newsline, etc. Listen to makeup tutorials on Youtube. Ask your female family and friends (if you have some you trust implicitly) to have makeup parties with you where you can try different techniques and receive visual feedback on the outcome. Make a night of it!

But most of all, sweet girl, just have fun. You’re young. You’re beautiful. You have got this.

5. How did you learn how to apply makeup as someone who is blind or visually impaired?

I used to perform a lot as a child. Singing recitals or the occasional competition, dance recitals, acting once I got to middle school, weddings (there were a fair few of those growing up), so throughout my childhood, makeup was just something that was applied to my face more often than it is for most children. I got to memorize the feel of it. How it was applied, the angle of the brushes or lipstick as they stroked against my skin, the faces I was told to make that accentuated cheekbones or lips.

When I was old enough to want to try applying it myself, I had various instructors and TVIs (teachers of the visually impaired) teach me different techniques for applying it. The TVI and TA team who taught me pretty much everything about anything was Rosemary and Lindsay. They were my best people when I was in high school. I gave them such a hard time at times (it was a boarding school, something I’ll get into in another entry), but they were just the most incredible women. I love and miss them so much, I really do.

Dianne, a rehabilitation instructor I had several years later, was another huge help when it came to applying makeup. She reaffirmed the techniques I already knew and taught me some new ones. After that, it was a matter of practicing and adopting my own ways of doing things, sometimes pulling from what I’d already learned, sometimes drawing upon something I’d read or seen on Youtube.

6. What is one thing you think every girl should be able to do without looking?

I need to agree with Molly again here and say I think every girl should be able to apply lipstick without looking. I find it so easy and it was the first makeup product I was confident about applying on my own, that I don’t understand why looking is truly necessary. I find it to be just one of those things you get the feel for, you can kiss blot if you’re worried, and getting it on your teeth is really not as common as sighted girls might have you believe it is.

7. Do you think not being able to see yourself affects your self confidence?

So far as appearance goes, yes, I do. I grew up in an environment where I was more likely to be insulted than complimented, and in addition to that conditioning, being unable to see myself in a mirror, having to gage my appearance solely by feel can often be very disheartening. I’m not the most fit of females due to medical reasons and, until recently, the inability to use touch screens on gym equipment. I’m very aware of this, I’m working on it, but it’s been thrown in my face many times. When I can’t look into a mirror to reaffirm the positive aspects of my appearance I feel I might have, I do find my confidence tends to slip.

8. Name one thing you need help with when it comes to makeup or fashion.

I need a visual check after I do my makeup, whether that check comes from calling Aira or sending my sister a selfie. I want to ensure everything’s blended well, within the lines it needs to be in, not to heavy or caked on, etc. With other products, I still need assistance touching up my nails after painting them myself, and of course, I need assistance dying my hair if it’s going to be done at home.

That’s three things. Oh well. You guys know me by now. Asking me to talk about only one thing generally doesn’t work.

9. What is a blind girl beauty or fashion essential?

Note: If you click any of the links below and purchase, I will receive a portion of your sales as these URLs will carry you to searches created through my Amazon Associates account. If you’re interested in any of them, definitely help me out!

All right, so, again, I’m agreeing with Molly here. cotton swabs are a must have, both for touching up makeup and for removing excess nail polish from cuticles. For the latter, I like to keep nail polish remover on hand, and there are some swabs specifically geared toward this task.

I also think blending sponges are an absolute must have when it comes to applying certain makeup products.

10. What is the best part about applying makeup as a person with vision loss?

I can apply it anywhere. In the dark, on my bed, in the car, on a sidewalk before heading into a meeting or a concert, etc. I don’t need to juggle makeup products and a compact mirror, and that’s a freeing feeling. I’m not a huge fan of people pressing in on me at all sides, especially people I don’t know, so not having to crowd around a bathroom mirror is such a relief to me. So long as I can get that confirmation thumbs up or thumbs down at the end, I’m able to make myself up just about anywhere.

11. Have you ever experienced any major fashion or makeup disasters in the past that are due to having vision loss?

Not publically. When I was about twelve or so, I was messing around with an unlabeled makeup kit in my bedroom. I wasn’t so great at identifying things by feel yet, so I ended up putting on way too much foundation, the lip liner on my eyes, the eyeshadow on my cheeks, the eyeliner on my lips, having mistaken it for lip liner… you catch the idea. My older sister came in and was all, “Oh my god, what did you do to yourself!” It was embarrassing then, but I look back now and giggle like an idiot. Such a disaster! I’m glad I didn’t try going out anywhere or I’d probably have been traumatized for life. Or, you know, traumatized anyone who, like me, was terrified of clowns.

12. Do you ever have people commenting that you ‘don’t look blind/visually impaired.’?

Oh yes. Not as much when I have my cane out because that’s sort of like waving around an ‘I’m blind, you may commense feeling awkward’ sign, but if I’m sitting with family or friends, it’ll happen more often. Someone will try to hand me something or hold out a pad for me to sign (I get that a lot with the USPS guys) and when I explain that I’m blind, it’s usually like, ‘I’m so sorry! I couldn’t tell!’ Or ‘Oh, wow, I’m sorry! You don’t look blind!’

My love has told me he finds it easy to tell by looking at me merely because I don’t fixate my gaze on anything, so I often wonder how others can’t tell if I’m not immediately focusing on them, but maybe they’re just not quite as observant.

Society and the media often portray blind people as needing to look a certain way to be identifiable as blind, but the reality is that we often just look like everyone else. Surprise! It’s not always immediately obvious.

13. Do you use any pieces of assistive technology or apps to help you when putting outfits together or doing your makeup?

As I’ve mentioned above and in previous posts, I use Aira for a lot of the visual tasks I’d usually need to bother family and friends into assisting me with. I know there are many of us explorers who are not entirely convinced Aira will stick around for the blind community once it has enough funding to grow beyond needing us, so my eyes are open to that. I will use it for as long as it deems us worthy of its service, and if / when the sad day comes that it leaves us behind as most other applications, services and companies tend to, there may be something new to assist with visual feedback. There is always Be My Eyes, though the volunteer aspect of that service means the visual feedback isn’t always terribly consistent.

For now though, if I need help identifying a new piece of clothing or checking on my makeup, I use Aira or Be My Eyes. Once I know what I have, I’ll either memorize the item of clothing / makeup or label it accordingly, so that in the end, it’s just the final check I need help with rather than the day to day matching and selecting.

There you have it, my Treasures, the Blind Girl Beauty Tag! For this one, I’m only going to tag one other blindie I know of who is following me, my beautiful little heart sister, Jenna Faris. I’ll include the questions below. Anyone can copy and paste them if you want to do this tag. Credit, again, goes to Molly Burke and Emily Davison or Fashioneyesta for coming up with these questions. They’re not mine, and I don’t claim to know either of these amazing young women. I just like their tag.

Grab The Questions

BLIND GIRL BEAUTY TAG QUESTIONS

  1. What is the hardest makeup product to apply as a person who is blind or visually impaired?
  2. What is your #1 tip for shopping with vision loss?
  3. What is one beauty item you stay away from due to vision loss?
  4. What tips would you give to a young girl struggling with vision loss who wants to get into makeup?
  5. How did you learn how to apply makeup as someone who is blind or visually impaired?
  6. What is one thing you think every girl should be able to do without looking?
  7. Do you think not being able to see yourself affects your self confidence?
  8. Name one thing you need help with when it comes to makeup or fashion.
  9. What is a blind girl beauty or fashion essential?
  10. What is the best part about applying makeup as a person with vision loss?
  11. Have you ever experienced any major fashion or makeup disasters in the past that are due to having vision loss?
  12. Do you ever have people commenting that you ‘don’t look blind/visually impaired.’?
  13. Do you use any pieces of assistive technology or apps to help you when putting outfits together or doing your makeup?

Remember, if you have any questions or requests for future posts / podcasts / videos, please feel free to let me know 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.

If you read many blogs from different blogging platforms on Bloglovin, please feel free to add mine as well!

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

The Top Ten Questions I Always Receive As A Blind Parent

Sirena cuddles baby Rose in her arms. Rosie wears a blue sweatsuit while Sirena is clothed in a pink blouse.

Before diving into today’s post, I wanted to update you beautiful Treasures on how my journey to reach as many of you as possible is going. Right now, my goal is to establish not only this site and blog, but a podcast and Youtube channel as well.

I purchased a lapel microphone from Amazon in hopes that it would heighten the audio quality of on-the-go podcasts and videos, but it turned out to be a flop with my iPhone 6S. I’ll be upgrading my phone, so when my XR arrives, I’ll give it another try before deciding whether to exchange it for another brand. Currently, when I use the microphone to record, there is a persistent buzzing that completely ruins the audio quality of the recording.

My ultimate goal is to purchase an actual camera for filming my Youtube videos, but for now, I’ll need to be content with my iPhone XR, because a good camera is just not in the budget. I’m also on the hunt for video and channel editors in order to make my Youtube channel as visually appealing as possible. I should honestly be hiring a WordPress designer as well to give this site a serious makeover.

I do have a Facebook page for those who may be interested in following me there and of course, I have a Twitter account. I do also have an Instagram account. There isn’t anything up there yet, as I’m going to need visual assistance with it and with the busy week I’ve had, there hasn’t been any time to sit down with Aira and play with it.

So, that’s where everything stands currently. For those of you waiting for the podcast and the Youtube channel, I promise, they will be here. It’s just taking far longer than I’d anticipated for equipment issues to be sorted out / editors to be found.

And now, on to today’s post, because it is a situation, I find myself in quite often.

The Top Ten Questions I Always Receive As A Blind Parent

Parenting is hard. Every mother and father know this. When blindness is added to the equation, floods of questions arise from sighted individuals. For many of them, it’s impossible for them to wrap their minds around the fact that while being a blind parent presents its share of challenges, it really isn’t the constant, horrific struggle they believe it to be. Today, I will share and answer (in no particular order) the top ten questions I always receive as a blind parent.

10. Is your daughter your eyes?

Not at all. My daughter is my child. I didn’t want to have her in order to have a set of working eyes at my side 24/7. She isn’t my guide, and she isn’t my caregiver. She is a typical little girl who is allowed and encouraged to play with her toys, to enjoy her artistic streak with markers, crayons and paint and to just be a little girl.

Now, there are times when I may drop something, and if she’s nearby, I’ll ask her if she can point out the object I dropped if I can’t find it on my own. (That, too, isn’t as difficult as it’s made out to be, and I’ll do a future blog / podcast / video on it.) Sometimes she sees me performing a task and asks if she can help, but if she’s busy doing her own thing, I never tear her away from it to serve as my eyes. She doesn’t guide me in unfamiliar environments. She doesn’t help me match outfits, even her own. She doesn’t help me cook meals or let me know if my makeup is applied well. With the Aira service, the Be My Eyes and The Seeing Ai apps coupled with the other tools in my toolbox, I don’t, and won’t, place my visual needs upon the shoulders of my five-year old. She is just a child, and I want her to enjoy being one.

9. Is your daughter embarrassed by you due to your blindness?

Not yet! Hahaha! It’s possible that during her teenage years when thinking your mother is cool is akin to social suicide, she may be embarrassed by it, but right now, no. She’s actually quite proud of it. She tells all her friends, loves showing off my cane and how I use it (despite my countless reprimands not to play with it, of course) and to her, it is just normal.

She knows my eyes don’t work like the eyes of most other mommies do. She knows I’m different, and in her youthful innocence, acceptance and understanding, she embraces me for it. It’s a beautiful, touching and humbling experience, and I love her even more for her simple pride in my uniqueness.

8. How do you know if your daughter needs a bath if you can’t see whether she’s dirty?

Rosie has designated bath days during the week. She bathes every other day unless she’s gotten sweaty during an extracurricular activity or from merely running around at school. She’s five, so if she’s been playing extra hard, she doesn’t smell like her namesake flower. I can also feel the dirt on her skin if she has embarked upon an adventure through a mud puddle on the playground. Alas, gone are the days of sweet scented, impervious-to-dirt baby skin!

7. How do you pick out your daughter’s clothes if you can’t see them?

I’ll do a Youtube video and a podcast on this specific topic when those are up and running, but in short, I’ve invented my own system because most of the typical methods blindies use weren’t detailed enough for me. Using plastic braille paper, I braille out clothing tags with the color of the clothing article, the design and any distinguishing, interesting or pertinent information about the piece I want to make note of on it. I then use a single hole punch to poke a hole into the edge of the paper after cutting it to size and use a safety pin to affix the tag to the top, dress or bottom that needs the description.

I have had tags rip in the wash, so if I’m able, depending on the garment, I’ll fold the tag over before cutting it to size in order to make it more durable. I also try not to overload the machine, and when I dry her clothes, I don’t dry on high heat or I am pretty sure relentless exposure to it would melt the plastic paper. I have used polycarbonate (I think they were) x-ray film sheets in the past, but they were given to me by a rehabilitation instructor and are way too expensive for me to purchase on my own.

It’s not a perfect system, but it works, so I’ll keep it! In the past, I have used braille color tags on Rose’s clothing, but I found that not only did I tend to run out of tags too often, but I wanted to know more about the article of clothing than just its color.

And, of course, if I lose tags in the wash, there is always Be My Eyes or Aira for identifying the article, so I know which one it is. I can then consult the document on my computer for the tag information I wrote up for it and re-braille said tag. Some articles I can identify by feel as well.

6. How did you change your daughter’s diapers when she was a baby if you couldn’t see what you were doing?

Changing a diaper as a blind parent really isn’t all that difficult. Pee was simpler than poop, obviously, so I’ll just focus on poop. Yay! Everyone’s favorite topic!

It was always easy to tell when Rosie pooped, even before she was eating solid foods. For those who don’t know, breast milk baby poop doesn’t stink nearly as much as baby food poop does. I’ve heard formula poop isn’t all that pleasant, but Rosie drank formula sparingly, so I couldn’t tell you one way or the other.

Anyway, the reason I tell you that is because I didn’t just smell it and go, “Oh, Rosie needs a diaper change.” The diaper got heavy, and it got squishy. Pee diapers will do that too, but not in the same area.

Once she was on the changing table, I would open the diaper and lift Rosie out of it by locking my hand around her ankles as I had been taught and gently maneuvering her. I would have a baby wipe all ready, and I would start in the center, wiping all the poop and pee from that area first before swiftly swapping out the old diaper for the new. That way, any yuck that may have dripped (sorry guys, I know this is gross) would land in the old diaper and not the new one.

Once the old diaper was out of the way, I’d take a new wipe and methodically clean each cheek, then I would feel with my fingers over her bottom to ensure everything was clean. I know to some that’ll seem gross, but she’s my child. It wasn’t a big deal for me. That’s why they invented hand soap. (Okay, so it’s probably not, but you catch my drift.)

So, yeah! That’s how I did it. A lot of it was having a wiping method coupled with just feeling around and ensuring all the pertinent areas were clean to avoid rash and infection. Now, she did still get the occasional diaper rash, but guys, all babies do. I was told by her pediatrician at the time that he saw more rashes on the babies of sighted parents, so, thumbs up to the thoroughness of blindies needing to touch everything. It works.

5. How do you feed your daughter if you can’t see?

Rosie’s five now, so I don’t have to feed her all that often. If she’s being picky and clingy and I need to spoon the last few forkfuls into her mouth, I use the same method I used when she was eating baby food.

I sit in a chair perpendicular to her. After washing my hands thoroughly, I hold the fork or spoon at its base. (This wasn’t necessary when she was an infant, as her spoon was a lot smaller then.) Holding the utensil by the base of the stem gives me more control and ensures I don’t poke her in the eye with the thing.

After loading food onto the fork or spoon (which is simple to do by feeling about with the fork or spoon itself or by using a second utensil on nearly empty plates), I reach for Rosie’s face and find her cheek and jaw with my fingers. Keeping my hand there, I use those reference points to know which way she’s looking and where I need to guide the utensil. It’s very simple.

4. How do you help your daughter with homework if it’s not written in those bumpy dots?

Those bumpy dots are called braille, my Treasures.

I use Aira for this task on the days when Rosie gets homework. A lot of her current homework is merely reading a book her teacher sends home. She memorizes most of these books, but if she finds herself stumped on a word, I have her read me the letters and we sound it out together. She always points to the words as she reads them, so if I am using Aira (though I tend not to for these assignments), they can easily follow along. For words involving color coded word cutouts, Aira is a godsend.

There are days when her father helps her. I never ask him to, but sometimes he just seems to enjoy it. (I’m sure he also does it to assist me if the task is overtly visual, but we don’t see him every day, so that isn’t a failsafe I rely on.)

If Aira ever moves beyond needing us blindies once it’s no longer a startup and becomes a huge moneymaker (many blindness aimed services sadly succumb to this), I will rely more heavily on what I already do with Rosie’s teacher, which is to inquire after the homework assignment for that day. This isn’t entirely necessary right now, but as the homework becomes more and more complicated, communication with teachers is going to become more and more crucial. I do believe Rose is going to receive a ChromeBook next year though, so it’s possible that by the time homework becomes too complicated for communication alone to handle, I’ll be able to use ChromeVox to read the assignments for myself.

3. Can you take your daughter to the park if you can’t see what she’s doing?

I can! As a toddler, it was easy because I was with her every step of the way. Now that she’s older and more independent, I had to come up with another method that wouldn’t embarrass her or treat her like a trained puppy in the way using a whistle to keep in contact with her might.

We use walkie talkies. I have one and Rosie has one. We keep them on the same channel, and while we’re at the park, I periodically check in on her through the walkie. Her walkie talkie is one of the objects she loves most in the world, so I’ve never had an issue with her responding when I request a check in. I will periodically ask her to come give me a hug just so I know she’s still close by, and at times I will use Aira to check in on her as well. And to snap pictures of her because I am obsessed with Aira-taken photos, but that right there deserves a post all its own.

2. How do you take care of your daughter if she falls and gets hurt?

This doesn’t happen as much as you might think. Honestly, I’m surprised at how much Rose just doesn’t skin her knees. She’s still young though, and it’s likely to become more of an issue once she begins riding a bike more regularly.

I would use Aira in this instance for visual feedback, but for a skinned knee, the key is meticulously washed hands, calm and gentle speech and softly feeling my way through the task. The first step of this is to find the edges of the wound in order to gage its size.

If there’s blood, the next step is to stem that flow. I use gauze pads for that, as I think they’re gentler on a wound than paper towels. I’ve never had to deal with a this-needs-stitches deep wound, but I think the process would be a whole lot different if the blood just refused to stop. You know, something along the lines of: step 1. Panic inwardly. Step 2. Rush Rose to urgent care. Step 3: Panic inwardly.

All right, so, once the tide of blood has been stemmed, the next step for me is to flush the wound. Because I can’t see whether dirt, gravel, sand, etc. has settled into it, it’s important to me to ensure that if it has, it’s been removed. If the wound is on her knee, I’ll have Rosie sit on the edge of the bathtub with her feet in said tub. I’ll then take a squeeze bottle of warm water and gently empty it, squeeze by squeeze, over and around the wound several times. I probably overdue it, but I’d rather be thorough than sorry. After this part, of course, more gauze comes out to gently dab the area dry.

Next is to disinfect the wound. No child likes this, because it often involves a chemical that stings, be it hydrogen peroxide or, in extreme cases of please-don’t-hate-me, alcohol pads. (Hey, I had to use an alcohol pad on my finger a few weeks ago and I hated me! That stuff hurts!)

Once the wound has been stemmed, flushed and disinfected, it’s time for every child’s favorite part, the plaster! Rosie’s older now, so she likes to put her plasters on herself, but were she younger, I’d be able to do it myself simply because I’d have just spent five minutes working within the immediate vicinity of the wound, so I’d know exactly where it was.

That’s how I do it. Ask me how I’d handle a broken bone, and I can honestly say I would probably just panic inwardly and rush her to urgent care. And cry. I know there are ways to temporarily set broken bones with makeshift splints, but as of the writing of this post, I have no idea how to do that and I’d never use a broken limb as a guinea pig.

1. Did the hospital call Child Protective Services on you when you had your daughter?

No. I was so lucky. I know this happens to many blind parents, but I had a beautiful birth experience. I visited the hospital beforehand, introduced myself, chatted with the nurses, doctors, even the midwives and let them see me as a person first. My entire team was gunning for my success from the start. I know they watched me to ensure I could competently care for Rosie, but I’d done so much research, it was all a breeze, honestly. I adored them, and in turn, they touched my heart by letting me know how well I was doing. It was a frightening time, and having their support, their reassurance and their praise meant the world to me and really boosted my confidence as a new mother.

So, there you have it, my Treasures! The top ten questions I always receive as a blind parent. There are loads more I don’t always get, and I’ll probably do another post on it one day, but these are query guarantees whenever someone discovers I’m a mother. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and that it teaches you something about how blind parents kick tush!

Remember, if you have any questions for me or if you’d like to see me write about something, don’t hesitate to contact me through this site’s contact form, by emailing me at SirenaRayLind@gmail.com or by Tweeting to me with the hashtag #TalkAboutItRena.

I’ve also signed up with Bloglovin, because the more readers I have, the more people I can reach, educate and help. As you know, that’s so much of what this journey is about for me, so if you’d like to support me there as well, I would definitely not say no!

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

Store Links

I purchase my plastic braille paper from Future Aids. I’m not affiliated with them, nor am I being paid to promote them. I just like them. Their turn around time after an order is placed and their shipping time can oft times leave something to be desired, but they are in Canada and I’m in the US, so I know that, coupled with the fact that they ship free matter for the blind, is what adds to the arrival time. Still, you should all totally check them out, because they are great, they have awesome products and their prices are cheaper than anywhere else I’ve shopped.