Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Parenting with Sign Language

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I didn't want two.

(Sarah) I'm quite nervous. (Jarrod) I'm prepared.

(Jarred) I'm also excited as well.

(Sarah) Easy for him to say, he's not the one giving birth is he.

(Victoria) Daddy's going to feed you.

What do you say? (Adrian) Say sorry.

Because I'm deaf I'm more aware and more conscious of what's going on,

especially of my two children. I don't want them getting up to any mischief...

so it's like having an extra set of eyes in the back of my head.

Naughty wall!

Is that the place?

Yep that's the place.

(Nurse) Do you know what you're having?

Yep having a boy. (Nurse) Shall we have a double check today?

Yes, a triple check today.

I wasn't suspicious straightaway but a friend of mine said

why don't you take a pregnancy test? And I was like, I'm not pregnant

and anyway I bought the test and it was negative.

Maybe it was a delay in my period. And then another test the following week

and it was positive.

I was very confused because the first test of negative

and this one positive. But how is this happening?

It just didn't make sense to me.

And of course I panicked because I didn't plan it.

And so, okay great, my plans for the house and the study - just sidelined.

When I found out I thought how am I going to tell him?

Should I Skype him? Should I send him a txt?

I found out Sarah was pregnant by txt message.

I was down in Palmerston North when I received it.

He said really are you joking? I said, no this is serious I'm pregnant,

Do you want a doctor's certificate to prove it?

A few days later I decided to drive back up to Auckland to see Sarah.

And so far we've been happy and really positive.

Both of us were really tearful, we hugged and we were very happy.

You know, it was a huge blessing.

So, how many weeks left - I think roughly 15 weeks, Jarrod?

Yeah roughly 13-15 weeks I'd say.

(Nurse) You might end up with a New Year's baby if it comes early.

(Sarah) Oh don't say that. (Jarrod) Double the party.

It's not far to go now, there are only 13 weeks left.

Nerves are setting in as well, excited but nervous at the same time.

Yeah, really, really looking forward to it.

Early in the morning I know it's a busy day, it gets quite hectic here, everyday is busy.

But it's how it goes.

Time to go to school. Come on, time to get changed.

Mummy needs to change Solvita's clothes.

No, no. Where are your toys?

Come on, where do you have breakfast? We're leaving soon.

She's a hearing baby.

My husband and I are deaf, so we sign a lot.

Both babies are very engaged, it's wonderful.

It seems like the children automatically look and they're watching for sign language.

She's five months old, and she already understands a lot of sign.

She's always looking around and making eye contact.

She actually knows "milk" and she gets really excited.

And she knows "bath" and her little legs start going.

That's jam, that's marmite, honey. Do you want marmite?

No? Jam?

(Adrian) No. No?

Just honey? Yes ok.

Both of our children they can sign and that is amazing.

Their first language is sign language. They're really talking in it.

And it's a huge benefit for the family because we know what they want then.

If they want a drink, or they want anything, anything they want they can express...

that using their hands or gestures, rather than using their voice and having to speak the words.

It could be really frustrating for them otherwise.

And I think with sign language it really reduces the frustration in the house, I think it's amazing.

It's really positive to have that sign language in the house.

In our family life it can be really difficult to get Adrian's attention or to get him to look at us.

He can be really focused and it can take quite a while to get his attention...

by tapping him on the shoulder, and we have to be quite patient to do that.

Okay, thank you, that's enough. Now, just one scoop.

Just one, that's enough. Okay, thank you.

Thank you, yes, that's the dog's food. Toby, he's having his breakfast.

Adrian, come on, we're going to school. Say goodbye to the dog's now.

For hearing parents they can go along to coffee groups...

or play groups with the other hearing parents there and they can talk with each other...

about all sorts of things.

Deaf parents, we don't have the same access.

Deaf parents can't join in with the hearing parents in those social situations.

So dropping the kids off to preschool, I can't even really talk to the teachers there.

It's very limited conversation and I can only use gesture there.

Excuse me, today, what are they going to be doing today?

(Teacher) Toilet?

Today, what will the children be doing?

(Teacher) We'd normally take him...

So that's not his? (Teacher) No.

So who's is it?

(Teacher) In here...oh...?

Just speak slowly.

So all the kids are around the table now, so what is it they're doing?

What will they be drawing? (Teacher) Adrian likes drawing yes.

So they like drawing? Okay, great.

(Teacher) I think he's got some artwork, I'll check, because this is where the artwork is.

What's that?

(Teacher) His artwork will be in here.

So I asked about toilet training because at home we're trying to get toilet trained...

so we thought we'd try and keep it the same here as well.

So talking about nappies or pull up nappies and these kinds of things,

but trying to make sure that communication is clear, it's difficult.

It should be common sense, but basically I had to gesture...

and try to negotiate through gesture just to try and make it happen.

Hearing people can just come in and say what they need to and leave.

For a deaf person, it really just takes so much more time.

So deaf people really do have to be so much more patient, but that's okay.

Excuse me, he needs a drink now. Can you give him a drink?

Yeah. He'll have a drink out of the cup.

Okay. Thank you, bye.

Mummy's going home.

So going to the antenatal class for the first time, I felt a bit nervous but it was okay.

And what about the hearing couples, you know, we did feel comfortable because...

they weren't like, oh they're deaf. They were quite inclusive.

Hello everyone. Hello.


You just have to be really careful...

they don't need a deep bath, they need a puddle.

All they need is to fall forward and be unable to lift themselves up.

So we've heard all the classes with the interpreter so that's been great.

We haven't missed out on anything. We feel confident and prepared.

Yeah and if the teacher goes and talks to another couple we try and have a look and see what's going on.

And we'll ask if the information can be repeated if we need to.

The teacher is very good at making certain that we do have access to the information

and ensuring that we are involved and that we have the whole full story.

What's going to happen here, Jarrod, your baby's going to go like this...

star-fish hands. How easy is it for you to get that sleeve on?

It's hard eh?

When they're first born it will be easy to manage the baby right...

when they get bigger they'll start to struggle and move around a bit won't they?

That's right.

And they'll be rolling backwards and forwards and trying to wrestle them to keep their nappies on and things like that.

But let's just stick with new borns for now.

Thank you. You're welcome.

Hey Adrian, shall we go get an ice cream?


So today's world can be a bit difficult, Victoria will have lots of work coming in

and I need to be really flexible.

That's okay, I can look after the kids when that happens.

So, which one would you like?

Yellow? Red?

You like red?

That one? Okay.

With hearing parents out there you can get a job quite easily,

but for deaf parents it's a lot more difficult.

Like, I have to have lots of little projects on the go, rather than one job...

and I have to work in the evening. Greg helps with lots of things.

We really have to be supportive of each other, so basically it becomes team work.

True, true.

So his top's quite dirty does it have to be changed?

No, he's fine, he's fine.

Are you sure? Just leave it, okay.

He's fine.

Look at Victoria, she's beautiful and she dresses really well.

But the kids, they throw food everywhere, they knock it over, they just drop food all the time.

So we clean the house and it's all lovely and tidy...

but later on it's a bomb site! Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, we asked for it didn't we?

It happens all the time!

That's what you get with having kids. Oh, of course.

Do you want more kids? No, no.

Do you want a book? It's bed time.

Come on, bed time.

So this is Sarah's boyfriend, his name is Jack Tame. He's a famous TV guy.

It makes it more comfortable to sleep with when you're pregnant.

It's also my mistress. No, I'm just joking.

Oh Jarrod's been fantastic. Anything, anything, he will do it for me.

He doesn't say he will put it off till later. He just does it.

All kinds of things.

I put all my things in the bathroom, got the duvet on...

got my pillow, and put my clothes away.

Last bag? Last bag and your man, Jack Tame.

Thank you.

Going alright?

Hmm, maybe we need to buy a new toothbrush holder

to put the toothpaste in it because this isn't really working is it?

A toothbrust holder, yeah, right.

Hey dad, do you think tomorrow we're going to go for a bike ride?

Yeah, check the tires.

So if we have the baby, where are we going to put the baby?

We can have one of those seats that goes on the back. What do you reckon dad?

Well, they sell things at the shop now where it comes out the back like a trailer...

and with a hood. Maybe the baby can go in the back of a trailer?

So how do you feel about being a big brother?

I've never had a little brother before, so...

Are you looking forward to it? It's only a few weeks to go.

Yeah, yeah, I am, I am.

Do you have a hat there?

That looks good. It's cute isn't it dad?

It's cute, he'll go to sleep in that.

Yeah it will suit your brother.

Typical, of course.


You really need to keep your eyes open here, keep an eye on where the kids go.

Oh there they are, great. So where's the other one?

Oh they're over there.

Oh, hang on a minute...hang on.

Hey, hey, stop! Listen, going down the stairs isn't safe, okay?

Play around here.

Well, I got there and wow what a shock. Kids just all over the show.

I think this is going to be me in a years time.

Oh, I've got that to look forward to.

And then I saw Victoria's eyes, everywhere, watching her boy run around.

Are boys quite a bit more active than girls?

I don't know. It depends really.

Yeah girls are more easy going.

It seems like boys, they're running around everywhere and climbing up everything.

I think in general kids are quite curious and they like exploring.

It doesn't matter if they're a boy or a girl.

Oh, hold on...

Poor thing...chasing them round everywhere.

So have you got all the clothes ready and all sorted out?

Yes that's right, clothes done and they've all been put in the wash.

Yesterday I got to put them away and I got quite emotional...

they're so tiny, they're like this size.

And I was thinking, next year...

No, it's not next year, it's next month!

Oh, that's right next month, next month!

They're like this size and I just got a bit teary.


Feel the baby squirming and I was like, wow, okay patience Sarah, calm down...

I've got plenty of clothes and jackets and towels, and little things like bath towels with hoods.

Oh, are they like swaddles? Yes that's right, stacks of clothes.

Oh great. It's nice to have everything ready, you know...

you can see it all there and you don't have to worry about it.

Hey Jarrod, Jarrod, over here!

Hello my little bubba.

I'm a deaf mum, of course, from birth. So mum taught me to lip read and speak.

Logan, he's hearing so I won't expect him to learn only sign language.

He's not deaf. But at the same time...

he's got deaf parents. So for me it's very important that...

he's able to move between both worlds.

I think being a deaf mum, you just find different ways to interpret your baby.

A hearing mum would rely on the sound of a cry,

whereas I rely on his facial expressions; what he's looking like...but also his legs.

If his legs seem really tense then you know he's got a sore tummy.

So really just learning to read him and to rely on those visul cues...

from his body and facial expressions.

So you're going to a new school - Kelston.

Hello. Hi.

Everything alright?



Adrian, sit down and watch the teacher.

Sit down and watch.

So this place, well, we really enjoy coming to this place.

It's like a second home, because it uses my language and my culture,

and I feel like that can be instilled here into the kids.

And you can see them smiling. You see their happy faces...

and you know that they all appreciate having two languages.

Sign language - using facial expression, tapping to get attention, having that communication.

And I really enjoy being able to pass that onto my son, Adrian.

It's a giraffe!

Logan, look, it's a giraffe.

When did I start signing, dad?

I think your first sign was...

One, two?

You first signed "milk" like like this.

That's right, you signed it like this.

I remember your first sign was drink, and you signed it like this...

So how old was I?

I would say maybe eight months, between eight months and a year.

I remember Victoria told me when I was pregnant, you better be prepared...

you're going to be changing baby clothes two or three times a day,

and you're going to be doing a lot more washing than you normally would.

And I was like, really?

Well, the baby came, and boy was she right...

milk spills, all over the clothing; forgetting to change his nappies...

and so his pants were wet as well.

Vomiting on my shoulder, so then my clothes had to be washed.

Oh, crying again.

It's corn.

It's a spoon, look...spoon.

At dinner time, late afternoon - it's always a really busy time,

always just so busy.

The children are tired and we're tired. We have to get dinner ready,

we have to get them ready for a bath, and they're making trouble...

I don't know, we always seem to be on the verge of telling them off.

It's dinner time. Daddy's going to give you some food.

Daddy's got food for you. It's yummy.

It's not too hot? No, no, it's fine.


Adrian, no, no, no.

Hey Adrian, hey, you just crashed into me and that really hurt.

You crashed into my foot and it's really sore.

Mummy's foot is sore now.

What do you say? (Adrian) Say sorry.

It's okay.

So it can be really busy during the day, and at night time we try to put the kids to bed.

We say, one down, that's two down, and then that's it...

that's the best part of the day.

Oh, so I couldn't do it - I tried and tired and tried...

give him to you for five minutes and he's asleep!

How do you do that have you got magic hands? Can you give them to me?

How do I do that? What's the story with that?

I don't know.

Because I tried and tried...

and give him to you for 20 seconds and now he's asleep!

I'm just going to put him to bed now, okay.

Love you.

Thank you, love you.

She's doing really well with Logan. She's really confident...

she knows what she's doing and she hasn't shied away from doing anything.

I'm really proud of her. I love her so much.

Who would have thought...

when I first found out I was pregnant that things could turn out so perfect.

Oh, he's sucking his thumb.

The Description of Parenting with Sign Language