Tuesday, February 5, 2008

"Normal"...is SO BORING!

Go, Rachel!!!!!!! Rachel blogs with conviction, she has got some big old balls and I LOVE her and her mom. She is recruiting a lot of other deaf voices, yes, they are cochlear implantees, but they are visiting deafread.com and Deaf Culture. The more diversity, the more interesting I find the dialogue.
One of the comments on Rachel's blog brought up another one of my buzz words "Normal."
Dennis commented:

Last night, I did a little research by conducting a little survey with a few of my normal hearing friends on Facebook. Here is the survey that I conducted:
Why you call you hearing friends “normal”?
Is your sister abnormal because she is not hearing?


The book has provided me with many opportunities to be interviewed over the past ten months and the question asked over and over again both in Italy and the USA is this, "So, the cochlear implant enables your son to be normal?"

*puke all over interviewers shoes and then diplomatically set his ass straight*

My son will never be normal. "Normal"...is so boring. My son is EXTRAORDINARY (screaming and emphasizing).

Would you like to know what "normal" is here in Italy? Mothers congregating in front of the schools, reeking of fried food and olive oil grouped in fours discussing the plate of the day. 83 year old grandmas talking the butcher's ear off about the latest ailment and hospital visit, so that I have to wait an extra twenty minutes before ordering my chicken breast. Every morning waking up, getting kids ready for school, arriving late (always), going for a cappuccino at the local bar, heading to work, coming home, cooking lunch, more work, and so on. "Normal" is stressing your poor fifteen year old child because he received a 4 (out of a possible 10, which teachers NEVER give) on a dictation in English. Who do they call?? Me. What do I say? Your son consistently gets 7s and 8s on his assignments, he has greatly improved his English conversation skills, and I can see that he is learning from his class teacher. You know he has anxiety attacks before exams...LEAVE HIM ALONE!!! What was not normal was the stress in this mother's voice as she overdramatized one grade.

Life requires normalcy in the form of routine. Only when an individual incorporates one of life's great challenges to make it a part of who he/she is, takes on the world and all of its difficulties and shares that experience with others does that person become extraordinary...like my kid.

My life in Baltimore was normal before I left, I left to escape normality...to try to experience a new culture. I used to get up, go to work, go to the gym, come home and lesson plan, throw a baked potato in the microwave and make a salad with some turkey, to conclude the evening hanging out with my roommates, listening to everyone bitch and moan about work or plan their boob job. Friday happy hours rocked for a while and then became normal unless I changed the flavor of my beer after seeing the same people over and over again. Saturday night date nights sucked because my date was in Italy. Sunday morning matinees depended on the quality of the film and then the week began again. Over and over again normal.
Got pregnant.
Got married.
Had Jordan.
I left.
And came here.
Where nothing has been "normal" ever since. THANK GOD! (Aside...just got back from shopping because not one pair of jeans fits me anymore...had to go to about six stores for two pairs of jeans, believe me, I was missing the most normal store in the world - the GAP)Yes, the journey has been hell. Wouldn't change a thing, because every moment suffered has brought me closer to very special extraordinary people. This comes straight from the heart...I feel sorry for "Normal" hearing people.
And I am proud of my extraordinary deaf son who wears a cochlear implant.

OMG...this comment was too funny not to immediately post....Slackin'Penguin in the housssssssseeeeee!
SlackinPenguin said...
Ahh there it is. I've been waiting for that shoe to drop.

What have you got against normal folks? Huh? Huh?

Well screw you, you...you...normalist! I'm going home!

*Stomp stomp*

*SlackinPenguin shakes his fist*

Just so you know...I may be normal, but *sniffle* I'm far from boring! *sniffle*


Karen Mayes said...

Ahhh... normal is a relative word...

None of us are normal. :o)

MKChaikof said...


I loved this. Politically correct a phrase or not, our kids do not have normal hearing, but that has only helped make them extraordinary!

By the way, I love the Gap for jeans. I can send Rachel with some for you this summer!

VBnBama said...

Jodi, I agree, how bored I'd be if we were all "normal". Insanity is sometimes key...(hugs)

Loudest Mom said...

I agree w/ Karen- Normal is a relative word, depending on our background and perspective. I'm with you, Jodi- please let my children be better than the norm, and always strive to be unique and outstanding. However, I too clarify hearing levels at times as "normal" or HOH, etc.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jodi!

Referring to 'more normal hearing friends' irked me a little, at first, because I thought Rachel was referring to her hearing friends as normal (vs. those abnormal other friends) rather than to the more statistical normal of their hearing.

But then, you always put these things into the right perspective by flipping the whole connotation of "normal" and .... YES, I completely agree! I love that my daughter and her hearing are both outside the 'norm' -- she's extraordinary all around.

Big hand wave on the Italian edition of Rally Caps!

Anonymous said...

Ahh there it is. I've been waiting for that shoe to drop.

What have you got against normal folks? Huh? Huh?

Well screw you, you...you...normalist! I'm going home!

*Stomp stomp*

*SlackinPenguin shakes his fist*

Just so you know...I may be normal, but *sniffle* I'm far from boring! *sniffle*

Unknown said...

I can so assure you that I am not normal...

Size 12L (but I might just get down to a 10L if my life keeps up at this pace)vintage:) Just kidding, I'm coming to Baltimore on April 1st for a week for a wedding, so I'll be hitting the GAP for sure! Thanks, re-Aunt Jodi

Val, you are not normal in the least, and that is why I love you, Jodi

Loudest Mom, unique and outstanding are great adjectives to strive towards...Jodi

Li-Li's Mom...Thank you so much, and Li-Li is BEAUTIFUL!!!! Jodi

Slackin'Penguin, you went straight to the blog page without passing GO! freakin' amazing comment - live for you, Jodi

MKChaikof said...

All the flack over the word "normal" took me by surprise. Since the word was before hearing and not before friends, it was describing her friends' hearing. If Rachel had wanted to say that her hearing friends were normal, then the word order would have been hearing normal friends.

I think, though, that this points out a difference between the CI community vs. the signing deaf community. We have had discussions on the cicircle about how we describe our kids, and most say that their kids are still deaf but hear with their CIs. Since our kids do hear, though, we often talk about their normal hearing friends to differentiate. To simply say their hearing friends doesn't work with CI kids.

Anonymous said...

Normalization is what you *see*, not hear in your life with your son inside and outside.

People always strive what to do with the decisions in their life. Ain't that easy!

I can assure you that you should be fine with the "normal" thing.

White Ghost

Unknown said...

mmmm, White Ghost, gonna haveta substitute *see* with feel, it's all about the vibe:) Jodi