A Little Moxie | Flashback Friday featured blogger
During the month of September, Healthy Hearing is featuring different bloggers in the hearing loss community. From those across the ocean to parents of children with hearing loss, we'll take a closer look at some of the top blogs and resources available to you! Today's article is part of our Flashback Friday series as we catch up with one of your favorite bloggers from last year!
Like most moms with young children, things can get a little chaotic in Meriah Nichols’ life. Three kids, a dog, homeschooling – and, oh yes, Nichols is deaf. Her blog, A Little Moxie, is a cathartic way for her to write about travel, her hearing loss and parenting.
“I started blogging originally to chronicle my dating stories – they were hilarious,” she said. “I started to “come out” as a person with a disability, to really talk about deafness and what all that means to me after I had Moxie. Having her literally changed my life.”
In addition to being deaf, Nichols has post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and is bi-polar. Moxie is her youngest child. She has Down’s Syndrome.
A hearing dog from Canine Companions for Independence, a national organization that trains hearing dogs, helps alleviate some of her stress. The dog alerts her to sounds like a boiling kettle on the stove or screaming child.
“I wish I had known and applied for a hearing dog before I had children though; it would have alleviated a lot of the worry that I had when they were babies,” she said.
The family farms half the year on the Lost Coast of California and travels the other half of the year on the Pan American highway where the children are “road-schooled.”
“I decided to road school the kids because I'm an experienced and trained elementary school teacher and we want to travel! It just makes sense,” she explained. “The kids love it. They love regular school too, but they love being with both parents and traveling.”
Nichols said one of her biggest challenges as a deaf mother is not being able to hear the sounds her children make – whether they’re sounds of delight or distress. She worries about not being able to hear her children crying or hearing mean things another child might say.
“My daughter said “mommy” for the first time the other day and I couldn’t hear her. That made me sad,” she said “But on the flip side, I taught my kids to say "mama" in sign way before any of their peers were talking, so I've been "hearing" the kids call me since they were babies.”
Nichols blogs about her homeschooling experiences transparently, with brutally honest writing illustrated by photographs she’s snapped of her children laughing, snuggling, crying, and playing on a rain-soaked California hillside. She writes about her relationship with her mother-in-law and the simple delights of each day – a bare-footed child sitting on the kitchen table immersed in his watercolor painting, the happiness of blowing bubbles in the shower and the mysterious beauty of morning mist.
“Being deaf is not a one-dimensional experience,” she writes in her September 14, 2014 blog. “Being deaf is not this awful, horrible, bone-shuddering experience – but it’s not a total ride in the park either, especially if you live with hearing people in a community that relies on telephones and oral speech.”
Nichols said she hopes her blog helps people understand that disability is only a particular way of experiencing the world. “It’s nothing to be afraid of; disability is a natural part of the human experience,” she said. “The thing to be afraid of and to work on is ACCESS.”