How to Explain to a Sighted Toddler That His Parents Are Blind

By Kristen Witucki for Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers


How to Explain to Toddler That Parents Blind

Langston knows my husband and I can’t see. That we are both blind. He never points at things and always attempts to verbally describe something to us. He knows that if he wants to show us something he can’t describe, he needs to bring it to us or us to the site. He even manages to show us where our dog threw up without having us touch it directly or touching it himself. “Mess,” he says in disgust, “mess, mess!”

Last August, a job teaching English and creative writing at the West Virginia School for the Blind caused my family and me to pick up and move from the Northeast, where we’ve always lived, to West Virginia. In New Jersey, both my husband James and I worked, but now he has retired and is Langston’s fulltime caregiver. When I rationally think of immigrants and ex-pats recreating their lives in new lands, the move is inconsequential, but when emotions outrun my intellect, the move is gigantic and becomes more so as the weeks turn to months and the months turn into the end of my first year as a teacher. I miss the diversity and accessibility which come with living in a suburb along the Northeast Corridor. I miss play dates and chatting with mothers of children Langston’s age.  We can’t walk to a grocery store or a doctor’s office anymore, so because my husband and I are both blind, we need assistance driving there. My colleagues happily drive us places, but we worry, because we can’t reciprocate.

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