The Longest Shortest Time

EPISODE #163: How to Hear a Smile

When Kristen was a new mom, she received one of those perky emails tracking her infant son’s development. He was 5 weeks old, and the message said that all the hard work would soon be repaid in the form of her baby’s first smile.

But Kristen is blind. And she worried: without seeing his smile, how was she going to connect with this new, sighted baby?

Spoiler alert: it worked out.

Kristen Witucki is a writer and a teacher, and as you’ll hear in this episode, a really close observer of people and their behavior. She’s been visually impaired since birth, and her husband James lost his vision in his thirties.

In Kristen’s early days of motherhood, on top of the smile question, she was facing down all of the usual new-parent struggles. Can I give this kid what they need? Does he like me? Am I cut out for this?

Tune in to hear how, inside the experience of being blind, she found her answers.

Kristen Witucki with her family

Writing by Kristen Witucki
Kristen is the author of two books, The Transcriber and Outside Myself, which recently became available as an audio book.

You can read her essays about Langston in Brain, Child magazine including Hearing Langston’s Smile, which inspired this episode, and Stopping for Death.

Resources for Blind Parents
If you’re a blind parent, or are interested in connected with blind parents, Kristen recommends checking out Hadley School for the Blind’s distance-learning courses and the National Federation of the Blind, which has a whole section of their website devoted to blind parenting, including a mentoring program for blind parents to pass down their knowledge to each other.