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Friday, March 19, 2010

Poor Kid

Poor kid. It's not easy being the child of a deaf-blind mother.
JD deals with more than his fair share of challenges. I could
fill a book with stories of all the ways he's had to adapt. But
for today, I'll just stick to one topic.

You might think that because I'm deaf-blind, JD gets away with
murder. That's not always true. In some ways, he has it tougher
than other kids. There are things I notice that most parents are
not aware of. The problem with JD taking showers illustrates my
point.

I don't know what's gotten into him. Maybe it's because he's an
eight year old boy who doesn't care much about hygiene. Lately
JD has begun fighting about taking showers. He just doesn't want
to. He doesn't care if he's dirty or sweaty. Typical boy.

One night I was late getting home from class because of a
transportation screw-up. My mother had to send JD up to take
his shower. I came home just as he was coming back down stairs
after the shower. He was in his pajamas.

JD was in a silly mood and decided to give me a big hug when I
came through the door. I noticed that his hair was dry. He
tried to say he used a blow dryer after his shower. Nice try
but I wasn't born yesterday. I sent him back upstairs to take a
shower for real. He was not happy.

He showed me his wet hair later. I gave it a sniff test. I was
perplexed. I could smell shampoo on the top of his head but the
rest still smelled like sweat. "Wow, that's weird," he said.

I went up stairs to check out the bathroom. The bath mat was
hung up neatly and completely dry. The tub was dry. JD's
shampoo bottle was by the sink. He obviously tried to wash his
hair in the sink without ever getting into the shower.

Faced with the evidence, he admitted his crime. I think he was
frustrated that I had caught him. It happened only because I
noticed his hair still smelled sweaty. My mother said she never
would have thought to smell his hair.

It happened again last night. Actually, I wasn't even thinking
of tracery this time. I sent him up for a shower. He came back
down later with wet hair and he was in his pajamas. Everything
seemed fine.

JD likes to crawl into my lap right at bed time. It's a stall
tactic. He'll cuddle up close and start talking about books.
I tell him I know he's stalling. He just laughs. It works,
though. He usually ends up getting an extra 15 minutes or so
before I can get him off me and up to bed.

So last night he climbed up on my lap. I smelled outdoors. It's
that earthy scent that people have after spending time outside.
It's a combination of dirt, grass, sun and warmth. I just think
of it as the smell of nature. it is not a scent you expect to
find on a child's skin after he takes a shower.

I started to sniff his arms and hair. When he realized what I
was doing, he jumped off me fast. He didn't want to come close.
He knew he was busted.

"Look in the bathroom," JD protested. "I really did take a
shower!"

I did check the bathroom. The bath mat was on the floor and
slightly damp. The tub was wet. His shampoo was knocked over
onto the floor of the tub. That all looked right.

However, the soap was dry - absolutely dry. He had washed his
hair and set up the scene but he definitely did not wash his
body. Once again, it was smell that clued me in.

Poor JD just can't win. "I hate it when you smell me!" he
proclaimed. Ahhhh..... the power of my sniffer. Who dares to
defy it?

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