At Parent-2-Parent last week, two outreach volunteers from the South Eastern Washington Service Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing came to the meeting. We are now on the email list to get information about Deaf events in the Yakima Valley. One of the volunteers is going to try an coordinate with us to do some one-on-one signing/play with Evan. They also invited us to their St. Patrick's Day party on Saturday. So yesterday, we packed up Evan, a tray of apples with carmel dip (it was a potluck, and I figured I should at least bring something I knew the sign for!), and drove over to Yakima for the Party. Jeremy and I were both more than a little nervous, but we knew that sooner or later we were going to have to take the step to start getting involved in the Deaf community. We both want Evan to grow up with a sense of belonging, and it's becoming more and more apparent where that is.
We were greeted at the door, and it was figured out very quickly that we were hearing. But everyone signed slowly for us and almost everyone could also speak, so it was not hard at all to communicate. Both of the outreach volunteers we had met before were at the party. We played BINGO (Jeremy won one game--lucky!), and ate all kinds of green food. Evan got lots of attention--lately he has taken to the 5-point crawl, pushing his head down on the floor in front of him. One Deaf person developed a new name sign for Evan (which I think we are going to start using--I know why they say hearing people can't give the name signs, we just aren't creative enough!)--make an "E" and push it slowly along the back of the other hand, like a bull-dozer. This sign fits him on so many different levels--not only does he look like a little bull-dozer with his crawling, but he is also so persistant at everything he does. It was also a great experience watching ASL conversations. We are looking forward to the next event!