Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spy Kids 4: A Hearing Aid Surprise

Movie trailers for Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, led us to rent the whole series. Julia was enamored with Carmen and Juni Cortez. She determined after the first film that she would become a spy.

Julia also wants to be a teacher, a surfer, and a bird feeder.

There was a big gap in time between the release of the third and fourth movie. The original spy kids are all grown up, replaced by twins, Cecil and Rebecca Wilson.

"He has magic ears," Julia exclaimed up on seeing Cecil for the first time.
"Those are too big," I replied. "Those are the size of Cochlear implant processors."
"I think they're supposed to be hearing aids," Tim said.

The kid's hearing aids were huge and I was bothered. Are those really supposed to be hearing aids? Since getting my very own iPhone, I can't let these questions go unanswered. I googled.

The Internet never disappoints. I soon learned that a very old pair of huge hearing aids were painted blue for use by an actor with normal hearing. The Deaf community sparred a bit over whether or not it was an accurate portrayal of hearing loss. I put down the phone and got back into the movie.

Cecil turned off his hearing aids to ignore his sister and I hoped Julia wouldn't get any ideas. The bad guys stripped Cecil and Rebecca of their spy gear, insisting that Cecil give up his hearing aids. The two kids started signing to one another prompting Jeremy Piven's character to ask, "what's up with the jazz hands?"

The villains gave back the hearing aids after Rebecca indicated that her brother is "hearing impaired."

Aside from Cecil's ability to eavesdrop on whispers and crack a vault by turning up his aids, I thought the boy's performance was a fine depiction of an aided kid with hearing loss. People tell me frequently that you can't even tell Julia has a hearing loss. She participates in group discussions more than her typically hearing peers. She's always at the head of the class, not so much from any need to be there, but because she likes the front row. Someday, I hope we can carry on a conversation in ASL.

I was thrilled to see a child in a major movie with hearing aids. He's a spy even.  What a great role model!

"Pretty cool that the boy in the movie had magic ears, right?" I asked Julia after we finished dancing the tango to the credits.
Julia shrugged, as if to say, "why wouldn't he have magic ears, Mom?"

And I realized, she doesn't need a movie to show her there are no limits. Still, I was happy to watch one.