Friday, April 29, 2011

E and the iPhone

 My son knows how to unlock my iPhone. I was amazed to watch him press the home button to wake it up and then use his little thumb to slide the slider and unlock it. He knew exactly what to do with it after watching his Daddy and me checking our email. We never let him play with our phones, so when he managed to get mine without my immediate notice, we decided to just see what he would do. Nothing gets past this kid! This just goes to show how observant babies really are :-) He knew how to work the home button, the slider, and he knows that he always sees Mommy and Daddy turning it to look at stuff. He did this over and over until of course I finally decided to video it. Once the filming started, as luck goes, he wouldn't really repeat the performance. This is what I did manage to catch though...

video

  E cracks me up on a regular basis. Last night, while we were out to dinner, my husband and I held hands across the table to say our blessing. E reached his little hand across the table too and placed it on top of our hands while we prayed. He just makes my heart melt!




Thursday, April 28, 2011

Popping Gum

  You know how annoying it is when someone pops their gum? Yeah. Well, I never thought I would be so excited about popping gum. My husband and I were sitting with E in the floor playing and hubby began loudly popping his gum. E had been playing with his back to us and abruptly stopped and spun around looking for the sound. I told my husband, "He HEARD that!" We both spent the next few minutes popping gum and watching E for a reaction. Sure enough, he responded quite a few times before he seemed to decide that Mommy and Daddy had lost it and began to ignore us completely. This lead to downloading an iPhone app to measure the decibel level of our gum popping. Turns out that popping gum is actually much louder than I would have imagined! While this didn't indicate any better hearing for E, it did lead us to wonder what other things he hears that we have never considered before.

  This past Friday, we met up with another family in our area with a deaf child. It was a wonderful experience to meet their son and his two sisters. This little boy was five years old and had bilateral cochlear implants. We do not know if cochlear implants are going to be part of our journey, but we are heavily researching all of our options. It was a fantastic and informative experience to be able to ask questions directly to this very energetic boy and watch him play and interact with other kids. Surprisingly, the other children never even seemed to notice his CIs. It made me feel much better about E wearing his hearing aids. We made the choice not to try to hide his hearing aids, but I still worry that he will encounter stares and unwanted comments from time to time. We were able to get a lot of honest and candid information on the pros and cons of cochlear implants as well as some insight on raising a deaf child in mainstream culture.

  On another note, I really want to connect with other parents of children with hearing loss. If you are a reading this and are a parent with a deaf or HOH child or if you happen to be deaf or HOH yourself, please leave me a comment or email me because I would truly love to connect. We're still pretty new to all of this and I am looking for advice, encouragement, and insight.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

No More Baby Mullet

  Just in time for Easter, we decided it was time for E's first real haircut. We had a tiny trim just right over the ears a while back, but this was the first all out haircut. A friend from church had a reputation for being a fantastic baby stylist. We figured having someone familiar do the trim with no salon craziness would probably be the best thing for E's first experience. It went great! It was a bit hard to trim up the back though because E is VERY ticklish on the back of his neck. Every time she would touch his little neck, he would raise his shoulders toward his ears. The cut looks great and we are now rid of the baby mullet! Daddy is a little sad though because E definitely looks much more like a little boy now than a baby.






  Today was E's first Easter. I am seriously going to hate the day that he no longer lets me dress him! I LOVE his little Easter outfit! I feel like I am doing my best most days to be dressed in something that actually matches, but my little man is always stylin'! I love his tiny Sperry boat shoes so much that I really think they might have to go in a shadow box once he outgrows them :-)




Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hearing Aids

   We took E today to meet with the audiologist to discuss and order his hearing aids. The big decision of the day–what color? We thought about trying to match them to E's hair color and maybe they would blend in a bit. In the end, we decided to "Go BIG or Go Home" and we chose the translucent blue! We figured if nothing else, they'll be easier to find when he flings them across the room :-)


It will still be about another two weeks before they come in and we can take E to try them out for the first time. We are hopeful, but not certain that the hearing aids will help E.

  We also had a visit with the ENT to discuss his CT scan (which all looked great) and our continued testing to rule out any syndromes associated with hearing loss. I am honestly kind of glad to have a tiny break in the action while we wait on the aids to come in. We have made trips to one doctor or another about once a week for the past month. Now comes the REALLY fun part....dealing with insurance!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Deer!

  We had a great weekend with family. We drove down Friday night and got to my in-law's house around 10 pm. E was such a tired little boy, but he was so excited to see everyone! My father-in-law has a deer head on the wall. E spotted the deer head and looked to Daddy as if to say, "what's that?" We signed "deer" for him. To our amazement, he immediately looked up at the deer head and made the sign perfectly. What a little smarty pants! E was thrilled with the excitement and reaction of everyone and of course "deer" became his new favorite thing. Every time he would sign deer, he got smiles, clapping, and a room full of people signing "deer" back to him. Needless to say, we saw a lot of "deer" all weekend.

  Saturday, we took E to a birthday party for the daughter of some of our dear friends from SC. She turned one and had a bunny themed party. E really enjoyed flirting and laughing as always. Little Mr. Personality had a ball and enjoyed seeing others his own size. After the party, we took a trip to the Gaffney outlet mall. We let E ride in his Jeep carrier on the front of Daddy's chest. E was in hog heaven being outside and seeing all of the people. He brought smiles to everyone we passed as E giggled, waved, and of course....signed "deer"!

  After church on Sunday, we went to our local restaurant and creamery. E got his first taste of cake batter ice cream in a waffle cone. It was hilarious to watch that tiny tongue lick 90 miles and hour :-) The messy face and giant grins were the best treat for mommy!

 
  Thanks to E's nanny, we now have a mini basketball and goal. It only took a couple of demonstrations before E took right to the concept. After each basket made, E would be very excited and proud of himself. He would clap and laugh and do it again. We did this for at least 15 minutes before it occurred to me to take a quick video. When I decided to put down the hoop, E cracked me up by holding the hoop up sideways in one of his little hands and pushing the ball through with the other. He never ceases to amaze me with the way he takes to things like a duck to water. I love watching his exploration of the world :-)

video

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Test Results

  Today E finally had his testing. We headed out before the sun came up this morning for the hospital. E was wonderful as always. He was a crowd favorite with everyone :-) He spent the hour and a half before the procedure flirting with the nurses, signing "Daddy" to impress the doctors, and showing off his standing skills. While the other children fussed and cried, my little E laughed and waved. As word of little Mr. Cutie spread, more and more of the staff came over to play with him while we waited. I was so proud of my       little man!
 
  Thankfully, after our horrible experience the last time, the doctors got together and decided to streamline things for us this trip. While he was asleep, they did an ENT evaluation, an ABR (auditory brainstem response), a CT scan, took blood for genetic testing, and made molds of his ears for hearing aids. We were very grateful to have all of this taken care of in one shot. ENT evaluation confirmed that his eardrums and canals were perfect, so they are not the problem. CT scan looked normal. ABR results showed a response at 85-90 decibels in the right ear and no response in the left ear. This means that in his right ear, sound was registered at about the level of a lawnmower. In the left ear, no sound was registered. Our next step is to have E fitted with very powerful hearing aids. They do not think the hearing aids will help at all in his left ear, but it is still required that he must have a trial period with hearing aids before any other options can be considered. We do not know what the response will be to the hearing aid with his        right ear.
 
  We were relieved that the CT scan was normal. We were a little surprised at the severity of his hearing loss, but not completely shocked. The genetic testing will perhaps shed some light on why he lost his hearing. E passed his newborn hearing screen, so the doctors think the hearing loss developed later rather than being present at birth. In only 50% of cases is the cause of hearing loss ever determined. We have to just accept that we may never have any answers as to how this happened or when exactly the hearing loss occurred. We gained a great deal of information today that will allow us to move forward. E is now listed with the state as a child with hearing loss, so we will be able to start working with people to line up the assistance he will need. Our next challenge will certainly be trying to get a very curious E to keep his hearing aids on  his ears!

  Once we were home, E was back to his happy-go-lucky little self. Speaking of happy-go-lucky, I just have to share this pic of tiny hospital gown cuteness. He was fascinated by playing on the hospital bed and trying to figure out what the heck they put on             his ankle.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

CAT and DOG

  Thanks to a friend at our church, we were recently introduced to a deaf woman with a hearing son close to E in age. We met her and her adorable son for the first time last night. We were honestly a bit nervous since our ASL skills are still very poor and there would be no translator present. She reads lips and speaks, but we were still a bit concerned because we didn't want the responsibility of the conversation to fall entirely on her due to our lack of ASL knowledge.

  We should have never worried! As hearing people, we often take for granted just how much of our communication is non-verbal. Gestures and facial expressions really convey a great deal of what we wish to say. What little sign knowledge I have came easily and for the most part, we carried on a conversation comfortably and at a steady pace. We were telling her how we have been practicing our finger spelling by spelling any road signs we see. I know people in the cars around us wonder what the heck we are doing when they look over and see us finger spelling in unison. Jokingly, she began to sign the alphabet with both hands at the same time. My husband was thrilled. You could see the wheels turning in his head as he silently issued himself a new challenge. She then took it up a notch...spelling "dog" on one hand while simultaneously spelling "cat" on the other. This is like asking someone to pat their head and rub their belly while doing a head stand! Well, we just died laughing as both of us tried this. Of course we failed miserably :-) You can be certain though that my husband will continue to practice this until he has mastered the skill (even if "cat" and "dog" are the only words he can do lol).

  We are very happy to have met a new friend and thrilled for E to have a new pal as well. The hearing connection created an amazing situation. In only about an hour, we established a bond with our new friend that I have rarely ever experienced. It became very clear to us that learning ASL would be an easy and natural thing if we continue to learn as we go with fluent friends. We felt like children as we drove home chattering excitedly. I don't know where this journey is going to take us, but I feel confident in knowing that we will be surrounded by loving friends as we go.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just in Case You Didn't Know...

 Just in case you didn't know...I have the cutest little boy EVER :-) I'm sure every parent feels this way, but I have evidence! Every month, we take a pic of E beside the same stuffed monkey so that you can see how he has grown. Every month, I think the personality and pictures cannot get any cuter and I am always wrong. He is such a happy and joyful baby. Yesterday, we told the church about his hearing. He knows when it is his time to shine. The entire time we were speaking in front of the church, E was waving and grinning and blowing raspberries. He is SUCH a charmer and I just thought I'd share a few of the latest pics for your heart-melting pleasure:

"When God Created ME He Was Just Showing Off"

10 Months Old

I Love Playing Outside