The Mad Science show was held in a function room of the hotel. Thirty or so children sitting on the floor at the front of the room, thirty or so parents in folding chairs behind them.
The Mad Scientist is a little big magician, little bit comedian, and huge bit science smartypants. He is geekily excited to engage this group of children in some fun learning about air pressure. His table is filled with balloons and tubes and beakers.
He has the children's attention and lays down the ground rules; only speak if you raise your hand and are called upon, only touch his stuff if permission has been given, only post attractive pictures of him on Facebook.
Owen is unsure, but I coax him and Bea onto the floor where they sit amongst all the other kids.
The show starts. The kids behave beautifully, raising hands and keeping their mouths shut.
The parents relax into their chairs, sipping from Red Solo cups, ready to enjoy some kid free conversation.
Bea raises her hand, and doesn't get called. Owen turns back to me;
*Can't hear man.*
Because the noise of the adults is making it impossible to hear the man. He's sitting there, right in front of him, but can't understand his words.
So. I calmly get up and walk to the front of the room. I whisper to the Mad Scientist and he gives me the floor. I get every one's attention;
"You may not be aware, but there is a child here who is Deaf and wears hearing aids."
Owen stands up and proudly waves to the room.
"He would very much like to enjoy the show as your children are. He would like to know what your children are laughing at. He would love to learn what your children are learning. But he can't. He can't hear this incredibly smart and funny man's voice over all of your loud voices. So if you could please cease all conversation, that would be greatly appreciated."
Of course every adult in the room feels like a jackass, apologizes to myself and Owen, and keeps perfectly silent for the remainder of the show.
No. That didn't happen. I'm not That Mommy.
After Owen complains a few times that he can't understand, and before we both start crying, we leave the Mad Scientist show and head for the pool.
The pool isn't very big, there is an illegal amount of children in it, and every table surrounding it is filled with chattering, Red Solo cup toting parents.
I'm the only parent in the pool, playing with Bea in the shallow end and trying to keep an eye on Owen who is all over the place.
I panic when I can't see him for a second. I can't call to him if I need to redirect him. Kids constantly bump into him and scare the crap out of him as he can't hear them coming. A few kids talk to him but he just stares at them, shrugs his shoulders and swims away.
So. I leave the pool, whisper to the lifeguard who gives her whistle a hearty blow, and I have the attention of the room;
"You may not be aware, but there is a Deaf child in the pool. Without his hearing aids, he cannot hear a thing. I've noticed some of your children try to play with him which makes me very happy. But since he cannot hear your children, I'm going to teach you all a few signs that will make this pool experience a much better one for my son"
Every eye is on me as I demonstrate the signs for swim, ball, play, jump, friend, boy, girl, your turn, my turn, help, and the alphabet for finger spelling purposes.
Every hand practices until the signs are perfected and the remainder of Owen's pool time is spent laughing, splashing and horsing around with new friends who are eager to learn his language.
Nah. That didn't happen. I stay with Bea, keeping an eagle eye on Owen. Kids stare at us as we sign to each other. Parents stare at us. Nobody talks to us.
Owen has a great time. Or at least he thinks he does. Swimming is his favorite.
Part of me wishes I could be that Mommy. But the realistic part of me knows. Even if I could be that Mommy? I couldn't force the world to rise up and meet Owen, to tap him on the shoulder and flash him an I Love You hand.
The world is too busy, too big.
So. The best I can do, is to join him in his world, and welcome in those who are willing. His world may never as big, and it will be surely be more quiet, but so long as it is a happy one, we'll be OK.