Sunday, July 31, 2011

Morning Snuggles

   I love mornings with my boy. He is such a cuddle bug. Here he is this morning sitting in my lap, watching "Signing Time" with his beloved blankie. He also decided this morning to pick one of his animals from his bookshelf to cuddle as well.


"I haven't had my coffee yet."

  I finally got to try my new shoes! Who ever knew that Monolo Blahnik had a clearance section?! They fit and I put them through the ultimate test this morning. I stood in them for an hour while teaching Sunday School, walked in them while carrying my toddler and his diaper bag, then through the up and down of a contemporary worship service. My hubby is the greatest ;-) So, I present to you......THE shoes:


Friday, July 29, 2011

Manolo Blahnik


  This is a pic that was recently texted to me of my husband on 5th avenue in NYC. That bag he's holding? That's my souvenir. Don't worry, he says he got them on an AMAZING sale, but yes, they will still be the most extravagant pair of shoes I have EVER owned in my life by far. He is super excited because he knows two things: 1. women love shoes and 2. unexpected gifts are always a good idea. I have to wait a little while longer before I can see and try on my new shoes, but he is like a kid on Christmas and very proud of himself :-) So, if you see me wearing high heels at Wal-Mart, the dog park, with jeans, with pajamas...this is why. I WILL make sure I get EVERY LAST PENNY out of them!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday's Ten

1. E likes to help fold clothes. He helps by unfolding whatever you just folded. He also thinks that underwear should be worn on the head.

2. E used to be a fantastic eater and rarely rejected anything. Now that we are moving away from baby food, he has decided to become picky. He seems to have inherited his father's texture issues.

3. I hired out our lawn care this week. My husband was unable to get the grass cut due to his work schedule, extreme heat, and our many summer storms. We only have a push mower. I watched as a man on one of those big mama jama stand up mowers came and did EVERYTHING in about thirty minutes. It was FABULOUS! It is not in our budget to have a lawn service, but I can absolutely see the appeal!

4. I am slowly purging everything in our house that is not machine washable. Believe it or not, our comforter on the bed was DRY CLEAN ONLY! Oh, the horror!!! Why would they even MAKE bedding that is not machine washable?! I guess it's for people that have no children or pets. The offending comforter has been removed and has been replaced with a very simple cotton duvet that whispers sweet nothings in my ear...."I am machine washable."

5. I need to start wearing my contacts again. When I was pregnant with my son, my eyes became too dry for my contacts to be comfortable. Once he was born, I found that it was much easier to grab my glasses in one hand than try to find a way to put him down long enough to put in my contacts.

6. I used to be really into exercise. I sadly must admit that it has now been well over a year since I have had a legitimate workout. I cannot bring myself to pick up E after I have been at work all day and then turn around and have him watched by someone else again while I go to the gym. I have serious working mom guilt and feel that I should soak up every second with my son that I can. How do any of you find time to workout? Right now, I am doing the baby play program. I regularly lift, carry, and "wrestle" with a giggling 22 lb weight :-)

7. The last time I was grocery shopping, I noticed that Beechnut has a new "textures" line. The line features odd mixtures that seem aimed at getting toddlers to eat their veggies by hiding them. They have things like pears mixed with green beans. It sounds nasty to me, but I figured it was worth a shot. After all, Jessica Seinfeld has a whole cook book dedicated to hiding the healthy stuff. I tried the sweet potato and zucchini mix with E and it was a hit! It looks like I might need to invest in that cook book. I think we could all benefit from a few more veggies in this house.

8. I am in love with our DVR. I just felt like I should confess that.

9. E has started to vocalize "ma ma" and will say it when he wants my attention. I cannot tell at all if he is making any association with the sound or if it is just one of the new mouth movements he is kicking around. He says "rah rah rah" and "bob bob bob" all the time. Most of his sounds are things that he thinks are fun due to the vibration or mouth shape. I am cautiously optimistic that "ma ma ma ma" might actually mean me!

10. It is a lot harder than I would have ever thought to come up with ten things I think anyone might be interested in knowing!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thank You

  I started this blog as a way to easily update our family and friends without having to make a million phone calls. I had never considered blogging before because I always thought I didn't have anything to say that would interest that many people. This blog quickly became a therapy for me. I found it cathartic to express the feelings and frustrations I had as a new parent of a child with hearing loss. I have met other parents that are walking the same path. I have received incredible encouragement. I was surprised to watch the number of visits to the blog increase exponentially. Our blog has been viewed almost 5,500 times since I began writing. I am so amazed to see how E's story is already reaching so many people.

  I post a link to the blog on my facebook when I have a new post. Many of the comments I receive are left on my FB page rather than our blog, but I am beginning to have comments left on the blog by people that I have never met in person. I absolutely love it! I cannot put my finger on exactly why, but when a person that does not know me personally cares enough to leave a message of encouragement, it just lights up my day. I guess it is because I know that they are not commenting just for my benefit or because it is simply the "nice thing to do." As a mother, I am always trying so hard to do what is best for my son and I am always wondering if I have managed to get anywhere near the mark. The encouraging words many of you have given me are more valuable to me than gold. I want to just say "thank you" to all of you that read E's story and have taken him into your hearts. I want to thank you for your comments. I get so overwhelmingly excited when I see that I have a new comment to read because I am given renewed courage to plow forward loving my son and being an advocate for him.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hearing Aids in the Sound Booth

  Today we got to test E in the sound booth for the first time while wearing his hearing aids. We found that his right one does seem to be beneficial. He is still not in a functional hearing range, but he is able to hear more than we thought.  Now, we just have to convince him that the sounds he DOES hear are of any significance so he will begin to take notice of them. Right now, he seems to hear things, but sound currently does not seem to interest him and so he largely ignores it. We have to keep reminding ourselves that he has only been "listening" with his aids for three months and so he will likely respond to sounds the same way a three-month-old hearing child would. We are looking forward to our first meeting next month to discuss cochlear implants.

  E is continuing to really flourish with signing. I feel that ASL will always be an important part of his life regardless of his future hearing ability or lack thereof. We recently purchased the documentary DVD, "Through Deaf Eyes." It was a very informative look at deaf history and culture. After watching it, I am SO VERY GRATEFUL that E was born during this generation of technology and information. I am so happy to know that the only thing that can ever limit him will be himself. If he continues to have the personality that he currently exhibits, he will be unstoppable!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ten on Tues

1. I love ABC Family's "Switched at Birth" and HIGHLY encourage everyone to go to ABC Family's website to watch the episodes if you have not seen it. We love the character of Emmett. I love seeing such a witty, intelligent, and good hearted character who is also deaf.

2. I also love that signing is such a featured part of the show that ABC Family has included a gallery on their site where the cast of the show "teach" the sign language alphabet:
http://abcfamily.go.com/shows/switched-at-birth/photos-details/learn-american-sign-language-cast-switched-birth/811784/807870

3. E has added more signs to his vocabulary. He now does cookie, monkey, hurt, bug, and lion. I need to keep a list in my purse of his words. He adds new ones so quickly that I have a hard time listing them all when people ask me what he knows.

4. I think my favorite pair of jeans have finally "bit the dust." I have patched them so many times. I have had them since I was a freshman in college. They had reached that perfect softness, but that also means that you could just about shoot broom straw through them. I just can't bear throwing them out yet. I'm trying to figure out what I can do with them. Any crafty ideas?

5. We have ordered a new signing book. It includes phrases that even contain the curse words. We wanted to learn the curse words to make sure we do not accidentally sign them. My husband tends to get lazy with his signing and sometimes doesn't follow through or fully express a sign. On several occasions, he has signed a different word than the one he intended. We have been told that many innocent signs can easily become insults or worse if not properly executed. Recently, when asked how he was doing, he signed "good," but didn't pay close attention and ended up telling the person that he was "vomiting" instead!

6. Our "new normal" has become so natural to me that I really am shocked when I hear another child E's age verbalize words. It takes me a second to realize that, by the typical standards, it is not strange.

7. E is walking pretty well now, but he hates shoes. He likes to try to put his shoes on and take them off, but he really doesn't care for shoes when he wants to walk. 

8. Now that E can walk, he wants to get down and walk wherever we are. This isn't always possible though because when he stumbles, there are just certain places you do not want his hands and knees to touch. Wal-Mart is a perfect example. He desperately wants to walk in Wal-Mart, but the thought of the things on that floor make my skin crawl!

9. We have been teaching E to say please when he wants a snack. Now, he not only does please on his own chest, but will reach out and make a little circle with his fist on my chest as well. It just melts my heart with cuteness!

10. The lady that cares for E during the day told me that she was trying to get E to settle down for a nap. She placed her finger over her lips and said, "shhhhhhhhhhh." E copied her by sticking his finger up his nose and blowing a raspberry :-) Close enough, I guess! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Reading" a Book

  E loves his books. He has an amazing attention span when it comes to books. He will bring you a book then turn around and sit in your lap ready to be read a story. It is not uncommon for E to focus on reading books for a half hour at a time. Lately, E "reads" the books himself. He reads to himself and sometimes he will "read" the book to you as well. I got sneaky with the camera and caught him going through one of his favorite signing books. Unfortunately, many of the signs he is doing are on the opposite side from the camera, but I had to get what I could without him noticing. 


video

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

10 on Tuesday

1. I have started signing in my dreams.

2. E is back to sleeping normally again! I hope it lasts.

3. We are really enjoying the show, "Switched at Birth".  We love seeing deaf issues addressed and hope that more people become educated while watching the show.

4. E likes Thai food. We just got a new Thai restaurant in town and E can really put away some noodles!

5. My sister-in-law bought E some foam pieces for the tub. They feature pictures and words like flash cards. E loves sticking them to the tiles and it gives us more chances to work on new signs.

6. Tooth brushing has become an all out battle. The days of E wanting to brush his own teeth are over. I now have to struggle with him to get those few teeth brushed. I am hoping it will be like other things though where, once he realizes that mommy IS going to win, he starts to cooperate.

7. I am a dork, but I am really looking forward to seeing the last Harry Potter movie. I think the main reason though is not for the movie, but because it means a date night for me and my hubby.

8. I am actually kind of tired of summer. Everyone is on vacation here and there (except me) and none of our friends' schedules mesh with ours. I miss seeing everyone! I used to think summer was for slowing down and relaxing a bit, but it seems that summer is by far the busiest time of the year!

9. E spent an hour last night playing with hats. He put his own sun hat on and then spent the rest of the time putting a hat on me and then taking it off again. Hat on, hat off, hat on, hat off, etc....all the while signing "hat." Until this point, we had to put hats on him that fastened under the chin because he would never leave them on. I do not know what sparked his sudden fascination with hats.

10. I always call a company if any product doesn't perform as it should. This has worked well for me and I am so excited when a company stands behind their products. I just received a new Kidde smoke and carbon detector in the mail today after I called and told them about the one that we have that seems to have become possessed. It's nice to know that good customer service does still exist!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Walking "On Purpose"

  E is walking now "on purpose". Before, he would walk, but only as long as he was distracted and didn't realize he was doing it. He would sit down as soon as he noticed that he wasn't holding anything. He is consciously walking now. He does still revert to crawling though as it is faster for him at the moment than walking. I do not know why he has been so careful about walking. He has been able to stand without holding anything for many months now. He also squats and balances while he plays with things in the floor for long periods of time. Balance and strength are clearly not issues, but walking seems to be the first thing that he has approached with caution. Now that he is discovering his new ability, I think it will probably progress quickly to running and then his daddy and I are really going to be in for it!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Signs

  Instead of Ten on Tuesday, I have decided to do a post on E's current sign vocabulary. He spent most of his weekend showing his signs to various family members. I got asked frequently, "How many signs does he know?" I did not know off the top of my head, so I figured it was time to compile a list...

Signs E uses:

daddy   mommy   please    deer     apple     play     dog     I love you     elephant     car     fish     giraffe     potty     bed     milk     horse     go     tree     hat     grandpa    yes    book

Signs E understands, but does not yet use himself:

eat   no    bath    cat    more    drink    water    look    stop    sleep    hairbrush    brush teeth    come    sit

There are more signs that he has imitated, but he does not use them consistently and we do not know for sure he understands the meaning, so I did not list them. We have been signing with E for four months (when he was diagnosed with his hearing loss).  We are told that his sign vocabulary is wonderful and on par with the vocabulary of his hearing peers. We are very pleased with his desire to learn :-)