CI Activation

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Tomorrow we leave for Mexico to celebrate the wedding of my husband's friend, Jesse. Jesse is an awesome guy...the first friend that my husband found as he began his undergraduate work on the huge campus of Texas A&M. Sean and Jesse are like two totally different peas in a pod...different, yet the same.

We are going sans kiddos to the wedding. I haven't been more than an hour away from the kids in a couple of years...this is kind of hard for me...and yet easy knowing that there is no turning back once we make it through security at the airport. So, I packed all their clothes, school stuff, technology, wrote out their entire schedule including school and teacher phone numbers, and packed books/toys/etc for the next few days. I'm anal so I packed lunches, coordinated clothing, wrote a detailed agenda, etc.

Thomas knows that we were leaving for a trip and that he will be staying with his grandparents. He knows that we will return on Sunday and we talked all about how Kiki, his grandmother, was going to get him to and from school. How he needs to eat well and sleep well. How he needs to be nice to his sister and helpful to his grandmother and grandfather. He was cool as a cucumber as he said good-bye to me tonight. He was excited. This was an adventure in his cool, and he had the language to express his emotions.

The tears came when I said good-bye to my Sidney. I looked at her and she was completely fine, no tears and kind of excited in her own right. I then lost it. I started to cry, told her how much I was going to miss her; kissed her face, hands and hair. She started to cry, too. We hugged and kissed and hugged some more. Our tears melded as we held each other, becoming one. I so love her...sometimes I don't say it enough. This may be why it becomes so special when we do let our guards down and let our emotions flow. She is my "normal" child...the one I don't have to worry so much about...yet, I love her just as much as I love my "special needs" child...she gives me strength, tries my patience, and tests my limits but...damn! I love her so much.

As my friend, Tammy, helped me learn in LA...we have children that aren't hearing impaired/deaf...they need our love, too...I miss my Sidney girl already...tears...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas Cards Are Ordered...

Putting this together made me realize what an amazing year it has been...a week off from school due to snow, spring break at Lake Travis, 3 weeks at John Tracy, fun weekends at the beach, a wonderful Halloween...can't wait for the holidays and to see what next year brings for our family!

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Parent-Teacher Conference

Why does the thought of a routine parent-teacher conference, no matter which child it is for, always make me somewhat crazy? Somewhat may be an understatement. With all my heart, I want both my children to succeed, to become exactly what God wants for them, to be kind, loving, smart, funny, beautiful children.

So as I drove up to Thomas' mainstream preschool for my parent-teacher conference, I said this little prayer...Dear Lord, I ask that I feel Your presence with me during this meeting. May I listen intently, respond accordingly and not cry. Please help me not to cry.

I was expecting the worst from this meeting...after all Thomas is hearing he won't be on average with his hearing peers. I kept remembering the fact that we are not suppose to compare children and yet that is exactly what a parent-teacher conference to discuss assessments is...comparing. Comparing sucks!

I took a deep breath and walked into school, meeting Thomas' teacher at a small table with his file sitting right there on the table. I sat quietly as his teacher expressed how much fun Thomas is and how she enjoys having him in her class. I thought to myself, "She probably says this to all the parents." Then I thought again, "Well, she should say this to all the parents of the kids in her class." So, I relaxed.

I could go into all the details but, will refrain from getting it all down of cyber-paper.

Our little man is on average with his hearing peers. Academically, he is on track with the kids that he will go to kindergarden with in a year and a half. His gross and fine motor skills are where they should be with him being able to put together a zipper and zipping it up, etc. (smile)

He has an issue with waiting for other children to answer questions that the teacher asks to the group. He doesn't wait for the teacher to call on him to answer the question asked...he just blurts out the answer with his hand raised. The problem is that the other children now don't answer questions during circle time, they just look at Thomas to see if he gives the correct answer. I'm suppose to talk with him about waiting for others to answer too and discuss more about taking turns. His teacher said, "I don't want to discourage this too much because this is how leaders are made." (smile)

He thinks differently than other kids. When presented with a problem or issue, he takes the less traveled path or discovers a different way to solve the problem. He is a thinker...a tinker...maybe a creative thinker. (smile)

He doesn't like to do worksheets (a tie to the previous mentioned comment). So, his teacher has set an egg timer to 2 minutes so he knows that he has to work on a particular worksheet for that amount of time. His handwriting needs improvement but, he writes his name in a legible way. I need to work with him on this type of effort here at home. (half-smile)

He is social, almost too much so. He tends to talk to his classmates when the teacher is talking. He is friends with everyone, not showing too much preference to a single child, although he says that Micha and Nathan are his best friends. (smile)

He doesn't have a sense of personal space. An example given, if a child is sitting on "his" letter (the letter I), he will sit right next to the child sitting on "his" letter. Over a period of time, Thomas will scoot so close to the child to make the child feel uncomfortable. He isn't aggressive, hitting or pushing...just scoots. I asked, "Where is this letter on the mat?" The teacher answered, "Right next to me." I explained that Thomas is seeking preferential seating due to his hearing impairment, not wanting to miss anything that she says. He is self-advocating in a non-aggressive way. A lightbulb went off over her head and she got it. (kind of a toothy smile and a slight giggle from me because Thomas is such a turd)

As we finished the conversation, there wasn't a single big "we have a problem" area that Thomas needs to work on while here at school or at home. This meeting wasn't what I expected at all. While his teacher isn't a TOD, AO teacher, she is a licensed preschool teacher in the state of Texas and gave me feedback looking at him as a "whole child."

I know that he still has ground to make up in his expressive language but, it was nice to hear some positive news about assessments...I won't compare him too much to everyone else...I'll just keep smiling, keep working with him and keep thanking God that he gave us our little man.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mom Moment Monday -- AVT with Ms. Becky

Sean took the day off and ventured to our twice a month AVT with the our little man and me. Of course, Ms. Becky had all the Thanksgiving things laid out for us to do together. We had a great session. Thomas was quite the conversationalist, followed 4-step commands (easy commands) and talked to himself as he placed colored feathers on the turkey...explaining where each color went and the order of the steps. It was quite a fun session.

As we played with turkeys, I was struck by the words, "gobble, gobble." I remember last year that I rejoiced when our little man said these 2 simple words in a video that I sent to my family on Thanksgiving morning. This year I give thanks for the fact that he now uses them in a full sentence. I'm thankful that AVT sessions are actually fun now, not at all like the work they once were. I'm thankful for seeing a mom with a baby in the waiting room at Cook that asked me about Thomas and his implant as she placed hearing aids or her sweet child. I'm thankful for the fact that I'm now in a place where I can look another mother in the eye and tell her it will get better and that CIs will make a HUGE difference in her young one's life.

Most of all, I'm thankful for hearing these words from Ms. Becky, "Thomas is doing know he won't be in AVT forever." When we started on this journey with Thomas, I did think that he would be in AVT for most of his young life, with no light at the end of the tunnel. Her words to me today were...gosh, how do I put my feelings into words?...AMAZING, UPLIFTING, REASSURING, NEEDED, COMFORTING and REJUVENATING. What I saw in her eyes as she said these words...LOVE...LOVE...LOVE.

I'm thankful for Ms. Becky, her coaching, her believing in our little man but, most of all her love for Thomas and our family. Not a bad way to start off the "work" week with so many things for which to be thankful...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quote of the Week

From Thomas as I was fishing bread out of the toaster:

"Mommy, be very careful. That's really hot. It's dangerous. You might get hurt, go to the hospital, and get a shot. It will be okay (as he pats my leg). You can get a Bugs Bunny bandaid."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mom Moment Monday -- It's All About Vocabulary

Thomas is "guppy of the week" at his mainstream preschool. A part of this special week is sharing a poster of pictures and items that are "all about Thomas." Yesterday, we went through tons of pictures from his past and talked about his was truly a special time. This morning, we put together his poster and it was all about vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary!

I had him identify each picture, what happened during that special time in his life and then expanded the language even further, using new vocabulary and trying to develop his "theory of mind." I was surprised at how many different synonyms our little man already knows. Here is a list of what vocabulary or concepts we worked on while making the poster:

Straight versus crooked, the back side versus front side, upside down versus right side up

Being born, that everyone was a baby when they were born, hospital, excitement (using his dad and me as the theory of mind people)

Ocean waves crashing, chilly water, tasted salty, California, vacation weekend, our friends from JTC, swimming, sand, surfers, pier, sunset, sunrise, hotel room with balcony, pool, etc.

Family, mother, father, sister, grandparents (not using anyone's names -- just the titles)

Reading books with his father, favorite books right now, what will happen next, how do you think he feels? Why does he feel that way?

First day with hearing aids, how special it was, trying to remember if he was excited and how daddy and I felt on that first hearing day

Remembering Halloween, going door-to-door with our friends, quantifying how much candy he and his sister received, how excited everyone was to go trick-or-treating together

His favorite animals, ocean animals and zoo animals, his pet and how zoo animals are not pets, his favorite activities, soccer, football, baseball, various shapes of these objects

Present tense verbs that end in (s) not (ing), sleeps, plays, gets, goes, sits, jumps, listens, joins, eats, etc.

I wish that I had done this project with Thomas sooner...I'm thinking that this could be an activity for each season making special posters to remember the things that we did during the summer, fall, winter and spring...that way I can incorporate themed units into the poster as well.

Overall, not a bad way to spend "therapy" time with our little man...remembering awesome moments together!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's Official: We Lost Our First Implant

So, I was rushed to get the kids in the car because I had to get gas before taking Sidney to her class at church this evening. I get Thomas in his car seat, get gas, arrive at the church and we sit down on the couches outside the sanctuary. I look over at Thomas as he is playing on the couch and notice that there isn't an implant on his right ear. Panic mode sets in...along with the question: how could I be a mom that loses my son's implant? I mean we have had technology on his ears for three and a half years, never losing anything! Gasp (and some bad words that fortunately didn't come out of my mouth at church)!

Here is the conversation with Thomas that occurred:

Me: Thomas, where is your implant?

Thomas: It's on the couch, mom.

I then began to tear the couch apart, cushions, underneath, moved the ottoman, etc.

Me: Thomas, look at me. I need to know where your implant is. Tell me where it is.

Thomas: I told you, remember? It is on the couch.

Me: Well, it isn't here. Let's go check in the car.

Then we get to the car...

Me: Now, Thomas where is your implant? Is it in your car seat? In my purse? In the back seat?

Thomas: Nope.

I rip the car apart. We then we retrace our steps, not finding the implant. Crap! We take Sidney to her class, give hugs and run to the car. Get Thomas buckled in and I race off to the house.

Thomas: Mom, can we listen to the pony song (a song that we got from JTC).

Me: No way! We can't listen to songs until we find your implant. Now Thomas, where is your implant?

Thomas: It's on the couch.

Me: Which couch? The one at home or the couch at church?

Thomas: The couch at home, mom.

Me: Well, I hope so. When we get home you go find it right away.

Thomas: Okay, I will.

We walk in the house. Thomas looks on the little couch (the love seat)...

Thomas: Oh no, mommy! My implant is gone. Where is it?

I look on the big couch and see it sitting right there.

Me: Thomas, your implant is right here on the couch like you said it was. Listen to me. Are you listening?

Thomas: Yes, I'm listening.

Me: Don't ever take your implant off without giving it to me, daddy, your teachers, Kiki, Papa G or Sidney. Do you understand me?

Thomas: Yes, I give my implant to mommy, daddy, Ms. Herring, Ms. Cara, Ms. Sinclair, Ms. Gomez, Kiki, Papa G and Sidney. Okay?

Me: Yes, my sweet boy. That would be great.

Thomas: Okay, let's play now, okay?

Me: Nope, time for bath.

Thomas: Ah man, not yet, please.

Then more negotiation begins about not taking a bath quite yet.

Lessons learned:
Lesson #1: Check his ears, even if you don't have the time to spare.
Lesson #2: Listen to your child, he probably know where their implant is anyway.
Lesson #3: Calm down, don't freak out...this is why we have insurance plans.
Lesson #4: Repeat steps 1-3