Babies Don't Hate: How My Son Showed a Stranger Love
There are days (and nights) when I could happily give Piggle back to the circus he evidently came from -- the past 24 hours, being a perfect example of this, but then there are also those moments when he completely blows me out of the water. It’s times like that when I realize how amazing he is and how lucky I am to be his mommy.
I’ve been teaching the boy sign language since day one. I didn’t care about speech delay or any of the other supposed issues that accompany it. I wanted him to be able to communicate with me, not only to simplify my life, but to ease his frustration. Though he still throws atomic tantrums over not getting a banana or being torn away from Sesame Street, we’ve actually managed to avoid a lot of problems because he’s able to tell me what he wants… whether he can have it or not. My decision to teach him sign language was mostly selfish, but on one particular occasion he completely stunned me with his abilities.
A few weeks ago, we met a paraplegic man who was also a deaf-mute. It was at a festival our city throws annually. This man was trying desperately to communicate with the event staff. He needed a washroom and didn’t know where to look. The people in charge made no effort to understand this man. They simply made wild hand gestures and raised their voices to ridiculous levels, despite him informing them that he could not hear or speak. He tried desperately to sign his needs to them, and they continued to act ignorant, only raising their voices higher.
Piggle watched this man curiously from my arms for a few moments and then demanded to be put down. The minute his feet touched the ground, he made his way over to the man and tapped his knee for attention. Thinking he was just trying to broaden his audience, I quickly ran to intervene. As I was picking him up, the man looked at him, and Piggle immediately made the sign for ‘toilet’, which the man had been using for the past 5 minutes. He grabbed his diaper and fervently continued to sign the word.
The deaf man’s jaw dropped and he broke out in the biggest smile. You could visibly see the frustration melt off of his face as he watched this little boy, who can barely speak, strike up a conversation about public washrooms with him. I stood by in complete awe while they chatted for more than 15 minutes about everything from birds to rain. Piggle didn’t care that this man couldn’t walk, talk, or hear. It didn’t matter to him that rest of society looked down on this man. All he wanted to do was talk to the man with wheels.
Seeing this marvelous boy brighten a complete stranger’s day with nothing more than a genuine desire to talk to everyone has not only served to strengthen my drive to teach my sweet Piggle how to communicate with as much of the world as possible, but it also proved that discrimination doesn’t exist in the innocent life of a child. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
Photo Credit: heymans.
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By Diane Lang