Friday, April 25, 2008

A natural therapist

I think I have crossed the line into the world of forever being a speech therapist! Yesterday, I was watching my friend's kids for a while and Kevin was still sleeping and my older son was out. So, it was just me and a 4 and 2 year old who aren't my own. We were playing with toys and the 4 year old was pushing a car up a ramp and I instinctively said, 'up, up, up' with the correct intonation. They just kind of looked at me like I was a very bizarre person. I realized that I was doing this with everything they did. The 2 year old picked up an animal and I instinctively said the name, asked what sound it made, and talked obsessively about it. I think it is so ingrained in me that I will forever be like this. It is kind of crazy how easy it is now to just talk about everything and I can't just say 'up', I have to say, 'up, up, up' raising my voice each time. CIs haven't just changed Kevin's world, they have changed mine as well!!! It was a pretty amusing realization yesterday!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Preschool and Wisconsin

Kevin is growing up! Today he moved from his 'baby and me' class at his oral-deaf school into the preschool classroom. He probably should have done this a while ago, but I have been hesitant to have him be with the 'big' kids. Well, he is now one of those big kids. He fit right in and did great! I stayed in the room today and will slowly leave him over the next few weeks. He doesn't like being too far from me and so I think this might be a gradual process. We only go to the school once a week, so he isn't there all the time to really get comfortable with it. I was so proud of Kevin of how well he did today! I think he is really going to excel in this class!

We also got confirmation that Kevin is going to Madison, Wisconsin for a CI study. I know a lot of kids from the CICircle have attended this research project and I am happy that Kevin is going to be able to participate. I want him to help with CI research as much as possible to help further the technology and help other children benefit from CIs. I am so thankful that he has the opportunity to do this. We don't leave until June, but I think it will be a fun trip.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

amazing words!

Kevin brought tears of joy to my eyes twice today! Maybe I am just emotional because it is my other son's 4th birthday tomorrow (and I feel like he is getting to be such a big boy!), but Kevin's articulation just amazed me today. We were at the haircut place getting my son's haircut and they give lollypops to the kids. Kevin picked his out of the lollypop tree, walked up to me and said 'lollypah'. I asked him to repeat it and he said it exactly the same 'lollypah'. I have never heard an 'L' sound from him before, but he concentrated on it and you could tell he was trying so hard to make it. His tongue was sticking out between his teeth as he said it. My eyes welled up right then and there. I had no idea he knew how to make that sound!!!

Then, to top it off, later today, we were going for a walk with the boys in the wagon. We pretended it was a train and I said 'all aboard' just like a conductor says it. My older son mimicked me and then Kevin said it completely clearly, 'All Aboard'. I asked him to repeat it many times because it was sooooo clear, and those sounds and syllables just rolled off of his tongue. What a fun day!

Now I have to go get ready for the big birthday boys day tomorrow!!!

I've been tagged

I got tagged! Here's the rules:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

What was I doing 10 years ago?
Working as a consultant at Accenture (was Andersen Consulting at the time)

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. yogurt
2. granola bars
3. ice cream
4. cookies
5. fruit salad

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Buy a couple of vacation homes and have someone be able to maintain them
2. Start a foundation to help people receive cochlear implants

Five jobs that I have had:
1. Stay-at-home mom (my favorite!!!)
2. Director of Center for Internet research at Purdue University
3. Sales Engineer, Aligo (small start-up)
4. Director of Western States Sales Engineers at Net Perceptions
5. Consultant, Andersen Consulting

Three of my habits:
1. Dancing around the house
2. Singing out of tune
3. Being outside for any activity I can find (I would rather be outside anyday...)

Five place I have lived:
I actually was born and raised in the same house. All of my moving took place after college. Yes, I HATE moving!
1. Rocklin, CA
2. San Francisco, CA
3. West Lafayette, IN
4. Minneapolis, MN
5. Boston, MA

Add one new part (I am copying the question from Landon's Mom who copied it from Leah who copied it from Tina who copied it from Abbie):What do you want others to get from your blog?:
I want others to see the true progress of a child born with a profound hearing loss who received cochlear implants at a young age. This includes the ups and downs. I also want Kevin to be able to read this when he is older to understand everything he has accomplished with his language development! The last thing I want this blog to do is to give newly diagnosed children's parents hope. Being deaf doesn't mean their child can't live a very happy and 'normal' life and be a productive member of society in the hearing world.

I think just about everyone in 'my' CI circle has been tagged. If you haven't been, then consider yourself tagged by me! :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Kevin is starting to add 's' to the end of words. I can't believe I can actually hear and understand it, but he is starting to do it! Today, before naptime he wanted to read the book 'Doggies'. He usually just calls it 'doggie', but he actually said 'doggies'. Wow! I was blown away. He also said the 's' on another word, but I forget which one it was. What is more exciting is that I can understand the entire word, not just the first part of it. This tells me that his clarity is getting better and better!

Also, he is now putting his coil on his head about 80% of the time by himself. He is especially good at it when he has toupe tape on the processor, because that holds the processor to his ear. If there isn't tape on that part, then it usually comes off of his ear and he can't put the processor on by himself yet. But, if it stays on his ear, then he can slap that coil on and resume his activities! It is so cute to see him stop, put the ear on, and then go on playing like nothing happened. It is just the way of life with him and he doesn't seem bothered by it at all!

I am really enjoying these small milestones. I took the fact that my other son would talk for granted and never paused for a minute when he had these milestones (like adding an 's' to make a plural), but I will NEVER take for granted what Kevin can do. I also am trying to not take for granted anything with my other son anymore. I realize that hearing or not, it is God's miracle that any of us can talk and communicate like we do!

Friday, April 11, 2008

All playing together

My sister-in-law and Nephew are visiting this week and they haven't seen Kevin since New Years. I know that Kevin has progressed a lot in his language since then, but it has been fun seeing the reaction of them to his language. They are blown away! My Nephew is the same age as my other son, 4 years old. They have played together the entire visit and talked to each other. If Kevin says something incorrectly, my nephew gently corrects him and Kevin tries the correct way of pronouncing a word. It is really cute to witness. But, I think the best part is that despite Kevin being 2 years younger and deaf, he is not left out at all! He is right in the middle of all the action and many times takes charge and commands people to follow him. His favorite phrase is 'Kevin Do'. I think this take-charge and can-do attitude will help him overcome any obstacles that he faces. So far, his hearing loss isn't affecting him at all!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another breakthrough

I forgot to mention another breakthrough that happened today. We were driving to Kevin's oral-deaf school and for some reason the batteries didn't charge correctly the night before. I already replaced one of them and consequently, was running late. On the way to school, Kevin said 'ear off'. I turned around and noticed that the light was blinking, but the coil was still on his head. I told him that I would fix it when we get to school and just to hang tight. He put his ear up to the coil, realized that it was still on his head and said, 'battery' (more like 'batt-y'). He knew he needed a new battery. Very exciting! He has been replacing the coil more and more when it falls off now, so I think since he realized it was still on his head, there had to be a broken battery in it. Also, since I just replaced one of them, he knew that was what was wrong. I was excited about the language he used and the correlation of events he put together. He is growing up more and more everyday!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Push and Mommy

2 new exciting words recently! First of all, I now have a new name. I am no longer 'mama' and am now officially 'Mommy'. I LOVE it!!! Of course, I was thrilled when Kevin started calling me 'mama'. I couldn't have been happier! But, I never really thought of me as a mama type. I always wanted to be 'Mommy'. But, I let Kevin decide and he seemed content to call me 'mama'. Well, as of a couple of days ago, I am offically 'Mommy'. I love the way he says it!!! He can finally say my 'official' name! :)

Another breakthrough was today at therapy. We have started doing more oral-motor therapy because he has the tendency to not move his mouth much when he talks. His 'b' and 'p' sounds at the beginning of words (big, pull, etc) sound like 'd' because he doesn't close his lips when he says them. Therefore, he has a lot of 'di, da, dah' words that all mean something different. He can say the sound in isolation and in the middle of a word (purple, apple), but gets lazy about the beginning of the word. Well, today we worked on 'p' and he finally said 'push'! Push!!! Wow! I was so thrilled!!! We are supposed to pick a letter of the week and work on that, so this week is all about 'p'. I think I will serve pears, peas, pizza, and other fun 'p' letters for dinner this week!

We're on a roll!!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

A child's perspective

I had an interesting conversation with my older (hearing) son tonight. He is almost 4 and very mature for his age both developmentally and linguistically. (I mention that because I think it adds emphasis to his comments). We were talking about something he heard that was loud and I said that he has sensitive ears. (He really does and I swear he makes up for Kevin's lack of hearing by how good his ears are.) He hears me say that he has sensitive ears often. He told me that is why he didn't need to wear implants. I told him that Kevin needed to wear them because his ears 'were born broken'. He then told me that he used to wear them and now he doesn't need to. I'm not sure if he really thought he used to wear them or was just testing or what, but I proceeded to tell him that he never wore them because his ears were born just fine. He then asked me when Kevin could take them off and his ears would be fine. I realized that by telling him his ears were broken, he thought this was like a cast and would 'fix' them. I explained to him that he would always need his implants to hear. We haven't talked at length with our son about deafness, partially because I thought it was too much of an abstract idea for a little kid to comprehend and partially because he had such a hard time dealing with everything when we were all going to the process of diagnosis, surgery, activation, etc. I think it is time to be more open with him and talk more freely about it. It was just a very interesting to me that he thought these were temporary. Wouldn't that be wonderful!?!?!??!

On another note, Kevin is really comprehending well these days. We took our son up skiing last weekend and Kevin hates the snow, so he stayed behind. When I got back, I asked him about the snow and where we find it and he told me 'at Lake Tahoe' in a very clear response. He stunned all of us!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

2 years old!

My little baby is 2 years old today. It is hard to believe that he is already 2. He seems like such a little boy now. 2 years ago today, my husband and I were ignorant of the deaf world. We had no idea how much our life would change when Kevin was born. Everyone said things would be different with 2 children, but no one had any idea how much different. This birthday marks a big milestone for us. This is a very happy occasion. Not that his first birthday wasn't happy, but Kevin was activated 2 months prior that and we were still getting used to the equipment. We were still experimenting with saying his name to him. This birthday, Kevin essentially will say anything you ask of him and we carry on conversations with him as we do with any hearing 2 year old. Basically, he is a normal 2 year old boy. He had a train party, lots of friends, loved his cake, and got very messy from the paint at his party. He is a normal 2 year old boy! He will even tell you he is 'two years old' while holding up 2 fingers. We couldn't be prouder of him.

So much has happened since my last post. We went to Hawaii for a week and everyone had a great time. It wasn't really an issue with Kevin's CIs. That is probably due to the fact that he really didn't want to get in the water, but still, it wasn't an issue. Everything just seems to be getting easier these days.... He also seemed to have a language explosion in Hawaii. His clarity is getting better and his vocabulary is increasing daily! He learned how to say 'yes' instead of 'yeah' over there. He will tell you that he saw '2 whales' very clearly and a whole host of other words that are Hawaii specific (sting ray, shark, big boat, etc). It is just getting so much easier to talk to him.

We are finding that while things are getting easier, we still put in a lot of extra work with him for speech, equipment maintenance, and other things that go along with CIs. This will never end for us. But, to our friends and distant family, they don't see the extra work we do, they just see Kevin doing really well and seeming to be hearing and talking like a hearing child. They don't treat us any different anymore. It is strange because in a way, I liked to have people feel bad that we had to go through all this extra work and ask us about it and now that it isn't as noticable, I miss it. There are times that I still get frustrated with everything related to CIs and people have seemed to forgotten that this is an ongoing condition and we still do need to be 'checked in' on to see how everything is going. It is just strange to have gotten to this point. I guess that is why it is so important to have friends with kids with CIs because they are the only ones who can really relate with everything we are going through. I don't know if this last paragraph was worded as I was thinking it, but hopefully the gist will come across.

Anyway, our little angel is 2 and is doing incredible. What a great year this will be.