Raising Children

raising-children

Parenting is interesting at the best of times. I’ve learned more about parenting styles since my divorce then I did during my marriage. Do I parent differently because I’m blind? In a word yes.

Before I had children I was the biggest opinionated arrogant non parent around. Oh those people don’t know how to parent or I could do that so much better or how could they do that to their kids. I have to tell you its amazing what actual on the job training does for you in parenting. Eventually I got to the point where I realized what I knew about parenting could fit on a postage stamp in 12 point font. Helvetica if you please.Its also amazing what sleep depravation does to you. My mantra was “sleep is for the weak”. It was my job to get up in the night and make sure baby was fed or changed then put them back to sleep. I wore out a rocking chair. I also worried that my kids were going to be deaf since I sang or rehearsed my opera areas or my ditties while they were going to sleep. Often I wondered if they went to sleep because the singing wasn’t going well or they were just overwhelmed with volume.Actually I do know that both of my kids went to sleep hearing my or rather feeling my voice in my chest. Very soothing.

So back to the question of do I parent differently. Well yes I do thank you very much. I’ve never been sure and it doesn’t matter if my holding my children was from the blindness or my Metis background. North American Native children are bundled up and taken everywhere. That’s what I did. But also with my vision touching was also very reaffirming so I actually knew where my children were.

My son was hilarious he actually methodically logically mapped out my vision to determine what I could and couldn’t see. Out of everyone on this earth I suspect he knows more about what I can and can’t see than anyone. He also hid on my once in a mall. We just about had the mall locked down when he crawled out from under a display rack. Terrifying.

There my biggest issue with my children is safety. Knowing where they are and are they safe. I have always kept my children very close to me. Very close when they were young 3 to 5 feet. Further as they got older.

My daughter was never an issue. I call her Duck because she is always making noise. To this day I quack like a duck when I’m looking for her and she responds.

The next biggest issue is sharing experiences with my children. I can’t see my children’s faces when they are doing something. Having fun or falling and scraping their knees. I take tons of pictures of my children. I actually like to take lots of pictures of the important people around me. Then I get to share in their expressions and feelings around an experience. So the next thing I do differently is take lots of pictures. Seeing out of band.

When I adopted a Jordy from Enhanced Vision into my routine and I could see my children on stage at school. It was like the doors of heaven opened up. I don’t exaggerate. Seeing you kids face while their doing something, performing, bowling,cycling is indescribably priceless.

Smell. Its all about the smell. Part of how I recognize people is their smell. There are many studies showing mothers identify their children by smell. To this day I smell my children’s foreheads when I greet them. Strange I’m sure but it works for me.

There will be more on this topic as a friend has asked how does a blind man change a diaper. Let me tell you…. Later…

Kyle Bergum

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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