“Are there any good daycare centers around here?” asked Ann Lynn, a new employee at the office. She was from out of
town and needed to find a place for her 3-year-old daughter, Kailyn.
“Yes,” I replied. “My son Darren goes to Growing Tree Learning Center. Their staff is wonderful. Darren loves it there.”
I gave Ann Lynn the contact information for Growing Tree and she arranged to visit them that very afternoon.
Soon afterward, Ann Lynn told me she was so impressed that she decided to enroll Kailyn as soon as possible. Awesome!
Both Kailyn and Darren are CODAs (Children of Deaf Adults), so I was very excited about this. Darren had already won
over the staff with his signing ability and now another student who knew ASL would be joining his class. Together, they
would be living proof that it’s definitely worth it to teach babies and toddlers ASL. If I may invent a new sign, stick a thumb
in your mouth and cover your ear with your other hand: CODA POWER!
The next morning, I dropped off Darren in his classroom and noticed a new girl standing alone in the corner. Aw, look at
her, so shy. I walked over and introduced myself.
“Hi, Kailyn,” I said, signing voice-off. She didn’t respond.
“Oh, it’s okay, my name is Mark. That’s my son Darren. We’re both really goofy.” I signed “goofy” with a funny cross-eyed
expression, but Kailyn was not amused. She actually backed away and started looking for the nearest exit.
“I know your mommy,” I reassured her. “We’ll be playing together a lot.” Kailyn looked like she wanted mommy really
bad. I decided to back off as there would be plenty of other opportunities for her to get to know my family better.
“See you later,” I signed with a smile. Still no response. Must have been the first-day jitters, I figured. I left and soon bumped
into Ann Lynn at work.
“Hey Ann Lynn,” I said. “I saw your daughter at daycare. Aw, so cute, she looks great. I think she was nervous because
she looked at me like I was crazy. She wouldn’t talk to me at all!”
Ann Lynn shook her head and laughed.
“That wasn’t my kid,” she said. “Kailyn starts next week.”