Archive for May, 2010

My Sidekick

This is my baby and she has stuck like glue to me since the day she was born.

When she was just two weeks old, I had an MRI, and because of the chemical they place in your bloodstream, I was forced to refrain from nursing for 72 hours. I don’t know if that experience left her emotionally scarred, or if she just hated a bottle, but until she was weened at a year old I could never leave her anywhere for more than a few hours. She would rather starve than drink from a bottle.

After she was weened I joined a gym near me, leaving her with their childcare, hoping that one day she wouldn’t scream murderously high pitches that could be heard for miles away. I thought that leaving her in childcare for roughly one-and-a-half hours a few times a week might help her become a little more independant, but I was far from wrong. Eventually my son began exhibiting her symptoms in childcare and I was forced to cancel my membership.

I love my baby girl. I really do. But I’m glad that at two-and-a-half, she is now finally able to stay with a babysitter or with my parents from time to time.

Oddly enough, those young days with her almost seem easier than the days I would face ahead. At two years old, something clicked with her and she started talking. She already speaks several words at a time, sometimes small complete sentences. The only problem is that I can’t hear them.

I’ve never had a huge problem understanding my son. You can stand about ten feet away from him and still understand him (even me) because he speaks loud and clear, emphasis on loud. I don’t think he learned to speak loud because of my deafness, my boy just doesn’t understand how to speak softly. Not even while my baby girl is sleeping. But more than being loud is that he speaks very clear, even if he does switch his R’s for W’s.

My daughter is a completely different story. Her voice has a higher pitch, and because she pouts her lips a little when she says things, it’s very difficult for me to read her lips, and nearly impossible for me to hear her. When she first started saying words, she would tell me something that she wanted and when I couldn’t quite catch it, she would throw herself on the floor and kick and scream at me. I would discipline her, trying to get her to change those oh-so-dramatic fits that she would throw (and still does sometimes), but at some point in the last month I began to really understand her.

I thought for so long that she just needed us to fix her attitude, which is so extreme sometimes, but what I finally understood was that she just wanted me to understand her. It’s devastatingly sad for me to think about the amount of times I must have stuck her in a corner for acting so badly, but while sometimes her attitude was unwarranted, a lot of times she just wanted me to understand something she was saying. The great thing is that it might take me a period of time, but eventually I do learn. It’s just crazy that I had to learn it from my two year old.

My first adjustment to her was to do what my son just naturally did. My son is incredibly smart, but but he was a late talker (although he does now talk our ears off). He loved when I taught him easy sign language signs for different words, but most of the time he would grab my finger and pull me to whatever he wanted to eat or show me. So I started teaching my daughter to lead me to what she wanted. I also tried teaching her some of the same signs that my son knows. But sometimes the kicking and screaming still pursued. She wanted to speak to me like she does to everyone else.

When my husband is home, it’s easy to just ask him what it is that she’s saying, but being a full-time mom having a husband that is gone to work half the day, means making sure that I can find ways to understand her when my husband isn’t around. Adjustment number two has begun recently.

A couple weeks ago my girl was trying to tell me something, and I was getting it all wrong as usual. She always starts by telling me something, I don’t get it, then she jumps and whines the words the next two or three times. After that, the flopping on the floor and kicking ensues. But before she got to the flopping on the floor part, my son runs up to me, pats me on the arm, and tells me what my girl is saying.

Now a normal, sane, logically thinking person might immediately catch on to something here, but that’s not me. Over the course of the next few days, my son would periodically tell me what my daughter is saying. Because my mind is constantly working so hard to understand what the kids are saying, it took me a few days before that lightbulb turned on inside my head. My son was understanding my daughter.

Let me just end here by saying that my relationship with my daughter has gone to a new level over the past few weeks. Anytime that she tells me something that I can’t quite understand, she’s got it down pat that all we need is my son around to “interpret” for her. And while I cry a tear here and there for that direct interaction that I miss having with her, I’m incredibly thankful for her being a happier girl now that I can find a way to understand what she’s saying.

Baby girl, I love ya. Give me another 6 months for my Cochlear Implant surgery and you and I will be best buddies.

The Plan

Apparently “The Plan” is that I wait. Again.

Let me tell ya, if there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year, it is patience. Now I’ve never been a very patient person, so all this learning has been done through some serious emotional breakdowns on my part. But I think I’ve got the hang of it now.

The other day, I was informed that after a solid year of testing, I was approved by the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (henceforth known as DARS) for funding my Cochlear Implant surgery. My caseworker scheduled an appointment with my husband and I to go over what she termed “The Plan”, so we heeded our summons to her office yesterday afternoon.

My husband asked me before the meeting if I knew what we would go over. I told him that, yes, I knew pretty much what would happen because I’ve learned. We will go into the office, she will tell us about the surgery again and that will be it. He will probably think that it will be a total waste of a half-day of vacation, but really it won’t be because taking him to the office with me keeps my caseworker on her toes. I’ve had many appointments with my caseworker and the first time I took my husband with me, she was so nervous she was visibly shaking. And because she’s known to forget that I’m alive, despite various emails and phone calls to her, a small dose of fear might work on my behalf. The funny thing is that if you’ve ever talked with my husband, he’s anything BUT someone to fear. He’s not very tall, and he’s a total goof-off so I have no idea why she was nervous. I don’t question it, I just use it for my benefit .

So when we finally made it to my caseworker’s office, she gave us the run-down on what is covered in the funding. They’ll pay for the actual surgery, where the implant will be surgically placed into my cochlea, and the external sound processor (fancy word for the hearing-aid looking thing I wear that sends the sounds to my implant). Also covered will be six visits to adjust settings on my processor, up to 30 visits with a vocal therapist (who will help me re-learn sounds), and a few other things. What I found interesting was that I was told multiple times in previous meetings by my caseworker that I would be required to take fifteen plus hours of therapy from a psychologist too. Apparently I’m not as crazy as I think I am because she didn’t mention the shrink, nor was it on the paperwork. And the psychologist even told me, after my psychiatric evaluation, that she didn’t think I even needed the sessions. Yay for being normal! Whatever that means.

With all of that new and enlightening information (I’m laughing here), my caseworker informed me that she will not be scheduling my surgery, but another office will. She also mentioned that this other office is not known for their speed in scheduling. I’m thinking this is definitely not a good thing for her to say, because she’s never, and I mean never been known for her own speed. So what does that mean when she’s saying this about them? I shudder to think.

It’s now another waiting game. I’m beyond ready to hear my daughter for the first time, hear my little boy laugh again, and hear all my husbands hilarious antics that I miss so very much.
One day soon I hope!

I think I’m in shock.

I really can’t explain it.

Three days ago I found out that I was approved for funding for my one hundred thousand dollar plus surgery and I still have no inkling of excitement. I’m receiving an all expense paid trip to the hospital for a Cochlear Implant(CI) and I haven’t even told anyone. Not one single person. My husband, my mom and dad, and my sister know (because my mom told them), and anyone who might have checked my blog in the last three days, but I haven’t texted or emailed all my relatives or friends or extended family.

My explanation to my odd behavior can only be attributed to the fact that it’s hard to wrap my mind around the whole thing. Over the last year I’ve been tested in about everything even remotely sort of kinda could be somewhat related to having CI. My ears have been poked, prodded, tested, flushed with oxygen, and scanned by an MRI, my brain has been tested by a shrink, my speech and hearing comprehension tested by a vocal therapist, my finances looked at, and do I really need to go on? It’s been emotionally, physically, and mentally so draining that I’ve questioned so many times if it’s even been worth all of this.

And now suddenly after so many emails checking in with my caseworker, reminding my caseworker I’m still alive, and forwarding messages to her boss, I finally finally get a message telling me that I’m approved. Green light. Go. But I’m still sitting here at the stoplight, waiting for excitement to breeze through the intersection.

Monday I have an appointment with my caseworker to go over “The Plan”. I’m still not quite sure what she means by that. I’m certainly hoping that it means scheduling the surgery, but one can never be sure with her. She likes to stall. And she likes summoning me to her office to talk about things, and when I leave I never really understand the point of those meetings. So I guess maybe I’m waiting on Monday to figure out what exactly is going on, when it will happen, and then I’ll consider getting excited?

It’s all the waiting that’s the hard part.

You didn’t know?

The funny thing about not hearing, is that everybody always knows things before me. When I was kid my mom bought our family’s first cell phone, which had about 30 minutes a month on a plan that was for emergency use only. Beepers were the new thing and the only reason we used the internet was for online chat. But now? You’re weird if you don’t own a cell phone, weirder if you don’t have an unlimited text plan, and even more weird if you don’t talk on your cell multiple times a day. And don’t get me started about all those people who talk while they’re driving. Communication is now at our fingertips. For most.

I got three texts today. One from my mom, telling me congratulations because she too got a phone call from my caseworker about my approval to receive a Cochlear Implant. One text was from my dad, saying congrats, and yet another one from my sister congratulating me. If you’re confused about this, well let me say that I was too. I’ve been trying for a year to be approved for financial aid enabling me to receive a Cochlear Implant, and all the sudden I’m getting congrats!

Apparently my husband, who is at work, got a call from my caseworker saying that I had been approved, a call which my mother also received. My husband must have decided to come home at lunch to tell me (which hasn’t quite happened yet), but here I am, the last one to know about it.

Don’t think I’m mad. Definitely not. It’s such an incredible thing to be approved by a program that is going to dish out over a hundred thousand dollars to pay for my surgery. And everyone is happy for me. And I am too, but just for weird reasons.

I’m really sitting here almost laughing at the whole thing, thinking that one day I may not be the very last person to know about something. One of these days after my surgery I’ll be able to get a phone call from a friend or family member about so-and-so having their baby, Aunt Suzy nearly having a car wreck, Grandma Smith’s cat dying, and every other little detail that we think doesn’t matter until we’re the last person to actually hear about it.

So while I may not have understood all those texts now, it won’t be long before I may be telling you about Cousin Claire’s engagement. Yes, you already know everything now, but watch out because I might just be the first one to receive the phone call next time around.

Photo Fun

We got our camera, the Canon T2i, and I’m sitting here just a moment before starting on dinner. Eleven women showing up tonight for a scrapbooking/dinner party I’m hosting tonight and I can hardly contain myself from excitement. My husband is going to be watching the kids while all of us women discuss lots of girlie things, so I can’t see that he’s too excited, but that’s ok. He’s allowed a brief moment of sympathy.

Moment over.

Now about the camera. Here’s a photo from this winter of my little girl all bundled up. The photo was taken with our little Cassio point and shoot camera.

In Texas we don’t get much snow, but for some reason we had a few days this past winter and we got a lot of it. My girl didn’t walk until the beginning of ’09, so this past winter was actually her first time to play in the snow. She wasn’t too sure what to think of it.

And this next picture is taken with the Canon. Keep in mind this is one of the first pictures that my husband took, so we’re still playing with the settings and are starting out with the auto-focus mode. But you can still see a significant difference in the quality of the photo.

Now imagine what it could look like if we actually knew what we were doing!
We will. Very soon.

I haven’t had a chance to use the camera yet, but I definitely will this weekend when I take the kids to my uncle’s house at the lake.

So excited!

It’s coming….(Finally!!)

I’ve been procrastinating lately, although I really must say that is nothing I haven’t done in the past. I’m a very well known procrastinator. I could win an award for it. Seriously.

But why have I been doing so much more procrastinating than I usually do? Well I bought a camera a few weeks ago, or rather I decided to buy a camera and my husband decided to buy a better camera and ended up making the purchase for me. And I’ve had so many blog things I’ve been wanting to blog about, but it’s so hard to describe things when I need a darn photo for it. So I’ve been waiting and waiting on the camera (which still hasn’t arrived) to bog all of my blogetty things.

You might have read the post about my other camera, the one that was dropped a few times, and I’ve been without one for quite some time. I’m having serious withdraws from taking pictures of the two kiddos. I swear they’ve both grown three inches and I’ve missed some serious picture cataloging.

So my new camera is finally set to arrive on Thursday. Fingers crossed. My husband ordered it two weeks ago, but of course he chooses a camera that’s been on the market for a whole month-and-a-half at that time, so no one but Best Buy has it in stock. And because we don’t want to pay tax, because we already pay enough tax to Uncle Sam, we’ve been waiting. Finally B&H had it in stock, so it’s set to arrive on Thursday. Yippee!

This is my new baby here.

What? Where’d that photo come from?! No, that’s not it. It’s nice though, huh?

Some people pay five thousand dollars for their camera, but we’re not one of them. Nope.

This is our beauty down below. It’s new. It’s shiny. And it’s never going to be dropped a day in it’s life. Very long life.

Did you know they sell lenses that cost more than the camera itself? I didn’t realize this. The term Macro never entered my vocabulary until a few weeks ago and now I’ve been bitten by the bug. That lens is going on my wish list and I have a weird feeling it might be that list for a long time. Since it will probably take that long before I can purchase it. But that’s ok because I’m going to be very happy with my new camera anyway.

On Friday I’m having a bunch of girls over to scrapbook and I plan on taking lots of pictures. I might should warn them. Nah.

And on Saturday I’m packing up myself and my kiddos for a trip to my uncle and aunt’s place by the lake in the middle of nowhere, where I will take lots more pictures. Every year they host a chili cookoff and have a lot of people in surrounding counties participate. I’m really not much into eating chili in the middle of May, but that’s the crazy stuff we do here in Texas, so I’ll go with the flow. And take lots of pictures.

So while I may not have blogged much over the last week or so, please excuse me over the course of next week when I have an excessive amount of photos to blog about.

Until then.