Friday, December 10, 2010

'Tis the Season

This is my favorite time of year.
I LOVE feeling like a kid again and the excitement of
seeing the magic in my children's eyes as the house
gets all dressed up for the season and the Merry moves in.

This year is even more amazing as we watch and HEAR
Aiden learn and speak and truly begin to understand the season.
We're hearing, "TISMIS TEE" and "SANNA AUS" and "REINDEER"
and "TANY TANE" and "EL" (elf), and "SOMAN".
He gets it. I think it's inbred in every kid's heart and mind,
because he's NEVER picked up on SO many words
in so little time.

I LOVE how all my kids get excited about decorating the house and
the Christmas tree while jamming out to Christmas tunes,



even if the experience is short lived and they're just fine with leaving
mom to finish the job by herself.


I LOVE how Aiden walks around with all
the musical ornaments, LISTENING to the
Christmas music, HUMMING along with it.

I LOVE how my husband is all Clark Griswaldish
and has to have the biggest Christmas tree our ceilings will allow AND
the best lighted house on the block.
Not super crazy like, but he's smiling ear to ear knowing
we're the only house with lights outlining our roof.
(side note: according to him, the neighbor across the street
who has someone decorate for him does not count.)

I LOVE how Aiden sits and admires his own
"Tismis Tee" we put up in his playroom,
and decorated together. He's so proud of it and

I kid you not, he'll sit in his chair for long periods of time,
staring and smiling.

I LOVE baking cookies with my kids,
Christmas music blaring in the background, flour
everywhere, and half the dough eaten before
it ever makes it to the pan.

I LOVE how everyone is just that much more generous
and thoughtful to each other.
Such as this surprise I woke up to
the other morning from my sweet teenage son.


I LOVE how Aiden is addicted to "tany tanes".
He can't get enough.

Seriously, who can eat a WHOLE candy cane
like that in less then 10 minutes?


I LOVE how we get to spend Christmas this year with BOTH of our families.
It is our first year ever we've lived this close,
and I LOVE my kids get to celebrate the season with their
cousins, their aunts and uncles, and BOTH of their grandmas!


What do you LOVE about this time of year?

HaPpY HoLiDaYs

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ready or Not?

Aiden's ready. I'm not.

Last year at this time, we drove a good hour plus two times a week for Aiden to attend the program at The River School in Washington D.C. It was well worth the drive, as the program there is PHENOMENAL, but I truly don't think Aiden was completely ready for it all. He was the youngest in the class (by a few months), he still wasn't walking, he wanted nothing to do with circle time, he'd cry almost every time I dropped him off, and would cling to me the rest of the afternoon after I picked him up. Yet, even with all this, he grew a lot, and I learned a lot, in the short three months he was there.

When we moved to Ohio, I decided to not enroll him in any type of preschool program, but to enjoy my every moment with him (most likely being my last child) and prepare him better for his preschool days. Plus, we moved into a county with an amazing early intervention program and were able to take advantage of many extras such as music therapy, Little Gym, multiple focus play groups, and a weekly toddler play group all funded by the program and still get in structured playtime with other kids his age.

I'm glad we made this decision. I LOVE my days with him and he's really come a LONG way. Today, he doesn't shed a tear when I drop him off for play group, he's talking SO much more, and receptively he understands so much more. He's done a complete 360 when it comes to keeping his attention to the task at hand and to structure all around. He's growing up. He's ready.

and not only is he ready socially, but very much cognitively as well.

WARNING - Mommy Brag Moment: he counts to 15, recognizes and names the numerals 0 to 10, knows all his shapes and identifies what shape an object is (i.e. his Lego table is a "sware"), knows all his colors, says the abcs, and can recognize and say around 7-10 letters, is completing simple patterns, etc.

My little explorer is ready to go, no matter how much his mommy is not ready to let him go.

I am so proud of him.

(note: turn off music to the right. and I apologize, but I am having trouble captioning right now, but will try again soon.)



this video was taken over a month ago.

and although I think I'm not ready to send him off, that I'll miss him terribly, that he's still too young, that he's my last child and I need to hold on to every.single.minute with him ... I'm sure it won't be TOO terribly hard to find the fun and joy of some mommy alone time.

hmmmmm.

When can he start?


Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Simple Things


There's not a day that goes by that we don't appreciate the miracle of Cochlear Implants.
Nearly everyday I have a a story for daddy or grandma about something Aiden heard or said.
Then there are some days, like today, where I'm completely nonstop,
running from appt. to appt., that I realize, it's truly about the simplest things.

The simple things, in the moments of craziness, that make me stop and cherish;
yes, completely STOP and CHERISH;
the teary eyed moments;
the moments I SMILE and WHISPER, "Thank you God."

Such as today,

when my phone rang (old style ring tone) and he pointed to his ear, HUGE SMILE on his face,
and belted out, "I erd at! Hewo!"

when I asked him in the car, without turning around, "Aiden are you hungry?"
to which he replied, "NO!".
"You don't want to eat?", I asked again. "No, no, no, no, no!"

when, moments later, I spelled out S-T-O-P (without saying the word), to which he yelled back, "STOP!"

and just seconds later as we pulled into the drive, "Yay, house!"
(again, this was after being gone all afternoon at appts)

when I sang to him as we drove to therapy and he told me, "No",
which I ignored and continued to sing, since "NO" has become the word flavor of the week
(and let's hope it loses its flavor and doesn't last much longer).
Then when I didn't stop, he tore off his CIs and gave me his first true shit eating grin.
Ya. Tell me I wasn't trying to hide my laughter.

when I called his name from the kitchen as he sat playing Wii in the family room with his big sister
(great language opportunity btw).
He turned to look at me and I said,"Daddy has your bath all ready."
To which he jumped up, ran down the hall to head upstairs,
and I said, "Aiden wait. Mommy needs a hug."
To which he turned around and ran to give both his sister and me a big huge hug.

Yep, it's the things that can seem that simple,
that really aren't
that simple.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Halloween Madness

Where did October go?? My life seems so nonstop right now, which honestly, it has been since the day I delivered my second child ten years ago, then add in a third, and I'm constantly in search for a stop sign. I'd even take a yield at this point. As much as I wanted to post about each little fun thing we did the past month, ya, didn't happen.

Our October was full of fun all around. I remember last year at this time trying to get Aiden to repeat the Lings "oo" and "ee" and what a better way than with all the wonderful sounds of Halloween! He gave me pumpkin-"uhin", and bat-"a", and even a long o sound for ghost ... but no "oo" and no "ee". Well, this Halloween he pronounces them both beautifully and from all our work last year, I could tell he found that vocabulary file in that cute little head of his and just took off.

This year we heard pumpkin (still without that /p/), witch (its and ee-ee-ee), ghost (now with a good /s/ and final /t/ and the lovely "ooooo" to go with it!), bat, trick-or-treat (ih-o-eet), owl (he says the best owl), moon, broom (which he really has trouble saying words that have the /u/ sound, but says it perfectly in isolation) and so much more.

What are the fun things we did to immerse Aiden in the world of Halloween and fall vocabulary?

I made pumpkins from construction paper, cut out different shaped face parts, then let Aiden glue them on as we talked all about it - he even announced he was giving it ears all on his own. (Vocab - eyes, nose, mouth, ears, pumpkin, triangle, circle, glue, sticky, orange, yellow, black). Even though he knows all this vocabulary, we worked on two and three word phrases such as circle eyes, black mouth, glue it down, glue is sticky etc.


getting his pumpkin off the fridge to show daddy

I made a picture chart which labeled different Halloween terms, then copied it again to cut out each card to play matching games, to which candy corn was the treat ... Aiden DOES NOT like candy corn ... so we switched to m&m's and played Halloween bingo with them.

Showing a picture with a word is also an excellent pre-literacy/phonological awareness skill to teach that letters, make words, and have meaning. After Aiden matched each separate card to the correct picture, we would "read" each word from left to right, top to bottom.

We went on a fieldtrip to learn all about COSTUMES and found the perfect one for my little monkey (which was LAST YEAR's costume).

October+2009+702.JPG.jpg

Halloween 2009

This year he chose Mickey Mouse - his new all time favorite character.

Halloween 2010

He was so excited to try it on when we got home and was in awe looking at himself. I had to fight the little stinker though to put it on for trick-or-treating. He sure knew what to do to get that candy though and would run up to each door, knock (even if they were sitting outside, but had to knock because that's how we practiced all month), open his bag, and say, "Ih-oh-eet" and a quick "Tan tu" as he ran off to the next house.

We visited a pumpkin patch and ate fresh Kettle Corn and pet the (very few) animals they had, and went on a hayride.


I printed out a Halloween activity from the Listening Room, which was a book about how a witch found a piece of paper and made it into a house for her and her cat. We followed all the steps she took to make the house and in the end, the house was also a PUMPKIN! Very cute! Love this site.


We made good ol' Betty Crocker CUPCAKES with orange frosting and topped them off with owls and pumpkins. (SO much vocabulary when cooking/baking and honestly, TONS of fun too!)


Turn off the music on the right to hear him counting the yumminess before he gobbled one up.

(without captioning)

(with captioning - works on my Mac, but not my PC?)


I bought tons of stickers to decorate cut out pumpkins or just stick on plain old white paper and played "ghost" and read tons of Halloween books and sang songs and looked through every.single Halloween aisle at every.single.store we walked into.

The boy definitely knows Halloween.

Next up ... leaves, apples, and Thanksgiving.





Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The SPIRAL

Since Aiden's hearing loss, the spiral look of the cochlea has become very meaningful for our family. Not only does it represent the cochlea, it represents the miracles Aiden receives through the use of his cochlear implants. It represents him being able to hear all the beautiful sounds our world has to offer, our voices as we speak to him, the cats meows, the tick-tocks of a clock. It represents his voice, and being able to hear him speak those three words I one time thought I'd never hear him say, "I wuv ew".

With this said, I was excited to see that Cochlear Implant Online is hosting its first contest giveaway and wanted to share the chance to enter. The lucky winner will receive a beautiful spiral pendant, from Lisa's Pieces, a shop at Etsy.com, like the one shown below (with a chance to choose from a list of phrases).

il_170x135.156854955.jpg


What a great way to represent the gift of hearing AND to spread cochlear implant awareness. Go here for instructions on how to enter for your chance to win.

and to share a couple other cool "spiral" items we've received as gifts:

A very dear friend and former college roommate also creates jewelry. When I saw some of her work, I commented on how I loved the spiral effect and why it meant so much to me. We got together awhile back and she had some ready and waiting for me to pick one from, all depicting the spiral. I chose this one, not only for what the spirals represent, but also for the beautiful blue color, which reminds me of Aiden's blue eyes. Her work is beautiful, no two alike. If you're interested, let me know.


My mom bought Aiden his own patio set this past summer. She thought it was cute and well made and didn't think twice about the design on the table top. Aiden loves it. Check it out.


Even if I don't win this contest, I will be ordering one of Lisa's Pieces pendants (oh, and check out the earrings she has too) not only for myself, but they will also make great gifts for others! Plus, it's never a bad thing to add a new jewelry shop to my list!

Friday, October 29, 2010

TWO Milestones Today!


Every Friday we attend a class, Muscles and Messes, that is put on through a private Occupational Therapist paid for through the county as an Early Intervention service. The ten week class is for kids who have sensory integration challenges and is run by an OT who specializes in SI and a speech therapist. Each session focuses on a different sensory input. The parents are provided information on the specific input along with ways to help the kids overcome different challenges. During the hour session, the kids run and play and swirl and twirl and crash and swing and slide and push weighted down shopping carts and smear paint or shaving cream all over the windows and ride the zip line and play in the ball pit and crash some more. It's an hour of nonstop fun,

and by the time we walk out of there, Aiden has had his sensory fill and will actually SIT in a shopping cart. The class is PHENOMENAL!

At the end of each class, we sing the "clean up" song then head to circle time to sing our good-bye song, to which each kid is prompted to say their own name.

Milestone #1 - After the clean up song, Aiden actually went and SAT DOWN on his own, and was the first one there and prompted the other kids to "sit own". He typically needs to be guided each step and repetitively told but through his own listening, he knew the song was over and the next step he needed to take! Even more shocking, he actually sat through the whole good-bye song. I'm usually the only mom sitting in the circle without a kid since he's the one who is still up and running trying to get in every ounce of play he can.

Milestone #2 - During the good-bye song, AIDEN prompted everyone else to say their name. I had to look to make sure I had the right child, because in any type of therapy/class setting, Aiden does.not.talk. At each child's turn, he would point to them and say, "name?" and then try and get them to say, "Aiden." He wanted everyone to be Aiden. Of course, when it was his turn to say his name, he said nothing, but by golly, everyone else was "Aiden".

These are huge for us. H-U-G-E, HUGE! I hate that we only have four classes left and that this OT has a waiting list a mile long, because as comfortable as Aiden is there and as awesome as this OT is with sensory related challenges, he could make some huge strides.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Preschool Tours ... Already?!?

Just months after Aiden's cochlear implants were activated, he discovered the sound of an airplane as we sat watching his brother's baseball game. I was lucky enough to hear the plane ahead of him and had camera in hand, ready to capture the moment, praying he heard it too. Sure enough, he was astonished, staring into the sky, HEARING it, as he watched it fly over. I marked another simply amazing moment on my never ending list as tears rolled down my face.


Fast forward to today and I just cannot believe we are at the point that Aiden's daddy and I will be touring, at the least, three different preschools to send Aiden to AND are beginning the process of transitioning him from an IFSP to an IEP, which will happen once Aiden turns three. Where has the time gone?

All my life I've been one to cram. I was the college student who wrote every paper at the very last minute; the one who studied zero all week until the night before the test and then pulled all nighters with my two liter of Mountain Dew by my side. This is not the time to cram, although I'm getting close to that mark. Now that we're only five months out from Aiden's third birthday, the time is NOW to understand all I can about the laws, the terminologies, our RIGHTS, the procedures, what we want written into his IEP, etc, to a "TEE" in order to be able to stand up and speak intelligibly for what we know is best for our little listener.


I saved this Preschool Placement Checklist for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Kids from Drew's mom quite awhile back, knowing I would use it one day. I plan to fill it out during each visit to help us in choosing the right preschool fit for Aiden and our family. We did consider touring some mainstream preschools in our area, and we still may. We feel pretty strong though that what Aiden needs at this time is a deaf oral preschool program. We feel a placement in this type of program will definitely benefit him and help reach our goal to have him mainstreamed by kindergarten. I'm excited about all the tours and love the fact that we have different deaf oral preschool options. Options are always a good thing.

Aside from choosing the correct preschool program, we know there is MUCH, MUCH more to this whole transition process. I would love any additional tips, advice, websites, suggestions, etc that you can share that helped make the transition to an IEP easier for you and your family. I'm getting too old to cram it all in last minute ... and Mountain Dew just isn't my thing anymore.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hello Language Explosion

Back in August, Aiden's expressive and receptive language were evaluated using the SKI-HI Language Development Scale by our Regional Infant Hearing Program (RIHP) and the REEL-3 by his Auditory Verbal Therapist (AVT).

The SKI-HI is a language assessment that was specifically designed for children ages birth to five who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The REEL-3 (Receptive-Expressive Emergent Language Test) is a language assessment that is given to help identify infants and toddlers who may have language impairments or other disabilities that can affect language development.

Both test results are obtained through parent interview.

When we first moved to Ohio, we did the SKI-HI, but not the REEL-3.

February 2010 - Chronological Age=23 months; Hearing Age=11 months
  • Receptive Language: 20-22 months
  • Expressive Language - 16-18 months
August 2010 - Chronological Age = 29 months; Hearing Age = 17 months
  • Receptive via SKI-HI: 32-36 months; via REEL-3: 35 months
  • Expressive via SKI-HI: 22-24 months; via REEL-3: 24 months
So, within six months time, my little monkey not only increased his receptive language skills by 12 months, he has receptively surpassed his chronological age.

Expressively, he gained six months of language, in six months, and is still about five months below his chronological age, but still above his hearing age. In my eyes though, this is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING ... you know, being the fact this is a boy who was born PROFOUNDLY DEAF. and I only have the highest expectations that not only will he catch up to his CA, he will go way beyond. It's only a matter of time because ...

... the boy is talking. Check out what he's saying at the right (yes, I finally updated it) - and this is just what he says spontaneously and in the correct context. I did not include the many words he imitates.

He has an expressive vocabulary of over 200 words. Over 100 of these words have been added in the last THREE and A HALF months (July to present)! Leaving the first 100 to the first 16 months. Hmmm, doesn't make much sense does it?

Ummm... can you say major mapping issues? and finally identified motor planning problems from his sensory integration. I believe too, that all his gains in his gross motor skills the past six months have allowed for this recent language explosion.

I am SO PROUD of my little man and all he has accomplished. He has come such a long ways in the past six months alone and I can't wait to see what the next six months brings!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Simply Amazing Moment 3,258

The other day I was upstairs getting Aiden dressed for the day
when I heard one of our cats meowing and scratching at the front door to come in.
This is not uncommon in our household as our cats are IN and OUT all.day.long,
which yes, is quite annoying.

I didn't think much of it since it is such a common sound,
but Aiden stopped and pointed to his ear; so we both sat and listened.
Then a huge smile crept up on his face, and
said, "Cat! Meow!" then lead me downstairs to let the cat in.

He heard the cat meowing, outside, no windows open, from upstairs in his bedroom.

and I was simply amazed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Regional Infant Hearing Program

and checkout who's on the cover of our RIHP's newest brochure!


This was taken in the Spring at one of the hearing loss toddler playgroups we attend through the program. There's actually a tear in his eye as this is when he was Mr. Cling, but now he can't get in the room fast enough!

The Ohio Department of Health funds several Regional Infant Hearing Programs (RIHP) throughout the state of Ohio. These services provide families of babies and toddlers identified with a permanent hearing loss free of charge and are in addition to any services we receive through our county. The Columbus program provides services to families in nine surrounding counties. It is through this program which we are offered a parent advisor (our wonderful Ms. Natalie whom we see once a month for therapy ... only once a month because of the areas growing clientele of parents with babies/toddlers identified with hearing loss) and attend a bi-weekly parent support/toddler group. They also offer audiological support from a licensed Educational Audiologist and are an excellent provider of resources and information.

We are very lucky to live in a state/county which provides such wonderful services for Aiden, not just as a toddler, but also once he turns three and begins preschool.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Smorgasbord of Updates

Not posting in awhile PLUS tons of unfinished posts sitting out in Never, Never Land EQUALS stress in my OCD mind. To clear my head and stop the massive pile up of posts screaming to be finished, I decided to sum it all up in one, which is probably best since I'll be to the point and not ramble on like I often can.

1) Vacation! - Let's start with the important things first. ; ) Aiden's daddy and I just got back from a much needed get-away to Vegas with my husband's sister and her husband. It was our first trip without kids AND without going to see family in over 10 years! Our 16 year anniversary is coming up (smile) and they just celebrated their 10 year (smile). Aiden's awesome grandma drove in from Wisconsin to stay with the kids while we flew off to Sin City. I didn't realize how worn out I was until my body took over my fun and went into complete relax mode. I did more laying in the sun and sleeping than anything else. My mom did a FABULOUS job in keeping up with Aiden's CIs, participating in his therapies, and by the time she left, he even had some new vocabulary added to his growing list. We all had an amazing time, came back more relaxed and are now ready for the beach!

2) New Audiologist - We decided to switch Aiden's audiology center from Cincinnati Children's to Cleveland Clinic strictly for convenience. We loved the audiologist we had in Cinci, but traveling two hours west one week then two hours north another was wearing. Our newest audiologist was trained and highly recommended from our old one, works hand in hand with Aiden's AVT, Dr. Don, AND is training to be an AV under him as well. So not only is she Aiden's new audiologist, she participates in his Saturday AV therapies as well. She is absolutely wonderful with Aiden and he responds very well to her.

3) Mapping Madness - A few weeks ago we had a third audiology appointment within six weeks. We're still trying to get Aiden's maps back on track and with the looks of his latest audiogram, we're well on the way. I was shocked Dr. Rachel got results across the board like this because the boy wouldn't sit still and really wanted nothing to do with the testing. So I'm sure they're even better than what the audiogram below shows, which would put him hearing between 20 and 25db across the board! We go back in a couple weeks for AV therapy and another audiology appt. to confirm these results and make any necessary mapping adjustments.


4. Speech Therapy - Back in early summer I debated adding on more of a traditional speech therapy for Aiden and decided to go ahead and try it for six to eight weeks. Well, we are going to continue with Ms. Cheryl as we absolutely see a difference in Aiden's overall tone and breath control. She has been amazing at providing us ideas on how to work with Aiden's sensory issues and low muscle tone which are affecting his motor planning skills and therefore his speech production. We know Aiden gets it receptively. He's well above age level in his receptive language. It's expressive where he lacks. He is starting to speak in a lot of two/three word sentences, it's just that you can't understand a lot of them (unless it is something that has become very repetitive for him, such as "get down" or "all done" or "it's stuck"). If he were to say each of the two or three words separately, you'd understand each one pretty well. But when he goes to put two or more words together, they come out all jumbled. We brought up the concern of apraxia, but she doesn't see it in Aiden. She is also helping us with specific speech sounds (right now we're working on /p/). Since we've been seeing her, Aiden is now producing a perfect "ee" and can hold a sound for a much longer duration AND at different pitches; something he couldn't do before.

5. Auditory Verbal Therapy - We continue to see Dr. Don two times a month. We drive to Cleveland once a month so Aiden's daddy or siblings can participate in a Saturday session, and then to the college where Dr. Don teaches once a month which is closer to home. This man is amazing and Aiden responds very well to him. We're blessed to have him on our team. Right now we're working on 1) identifying "ing" verbs and using them in simple sentences such as, "The boy is riding.", 2) sorting higher level groups such as types of animals (farm vs. water vs. zoo/jungle) and fruits vs. vegetables and 3) discriminating between similar sounding words, such as house and mouth, 4) story telling through Aiden's daily experience book (which I'll detail in a separate post).

5. PT and OT - Six months ago my son couldn't walk on or off a one inch floor mat without falling. He would have to completely stop, throw his arms out for balance, then carefully walk up or down. One inch. Many days he walked around like a drunken sailor. He could barely run and definitely couldn't jump. There's not a better time to see improvements in gross motor than summertime. Parks, play dates outside, riding bikes, climbing, running up and down hills, camping, swimming, etc. This summer we saw TREMENDOUS gains in Aiden's gross motor. He is now RUNNING, jumping (well more like trotting, but sometimes he'll get both feet off the ground), and best of all - he's PEDALING his tricycle! He still has some off balance days, but he's learning to compensate for them and is finally keeping up physically with his peers.

With his gross motor gains and ideas from his wonderful PT to continue to work on at home, we're going to stop PT for awhile and pick up OT, but this time with a therapist who specializes solely with sensory integration. Sensory is such a beast to understand and can affect so much, including speech production. I don't feel like I have a good handle on it and need a lot better guidance on how I can help Aiden conquer his sensory needs in order to move forward with his expressive language and speech production ... oh and learning how to calm his major hyperness/daredevil ways wouldn't hurt either.

6. Transition Time - I CANNOT BELIEVE we're at the point of leaving county services and beginning to look at PRESCHOOLS! To me, this means Aiden is almost THREE and growing up way too fast! I'm in the process of touring local preschools (more to come on this) and at the end of this month we'll have our transition planning conference with our local school district. It is a very brief meeting which we'll introduce ourselves and let them know which preschools we'll be touring as well as where we would like Aiden's evaluation done to determine eligibility of services.


7. and the best for last - Aiden. Aiden is taking off. His vocabulary is growing daily (I know. I SO need to update that vocab. list to the right), he is reaching the goals set for him, and you can just see his little brain constantly in discovery mode. He knows his colors, his shapes, his numbers (not just rote counting, but identifies them written up to 10) and is starting to recognize certain letters. He's having little conversations with us. He tells his brother, sister, and the cats what to do, he tells everything bye-bye (except his therapists, because why on earth would he talk to them?), and is starting to express his wants and needs so much more than he ever has. He has finally learned to EXPRESS the word NO ... and as he says it, he signs it just as fast! Dr. Don says he's on the verge of a 2-3 word sentences language explosion, "Deafness, shmeffness", he says, "he hears and speaks better than many hearing kids I know."

I love this journey.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Phrase of the Week

This has become Aiden's FAVORITE thing to say this past week. He says it about E-V-E-R-Y thing, from the toys he's trying to pull apart or push through a hole, to simply putting his hand in his cup holder on his carseat (to which I have to turn around and pretend I'm pulling it out), to turning a page of a book only to leave a hand behind on the previous page (no sense in even reading, he gets more caught up in crunching my hand or his own between the pages). The boy is pure silliness.




We added on, "It's all better" once whatever "IT" is gets unstuck. Within the day he was saying his own version of "all better" and so now we're onto "I fixed it!" We'll see how long this phrase lasts and how much other language I can pull out of him from it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Seriously?!? 18 MONTHS!

I looked up at Aiden's time ticker the other morning and was taken aback when I saw it read "18 MONTHS since his FIRST ACTIVATION". Has it really been that long? It seems like yesterday that my little binky boy was being fit for new ear molds or that I gave him a kiss as his daddy followed his CI surgical team into the operating room, or that our little monkey pointed to his ear and smiled as he heard his first sounds with his CI during his activation.

and here we are today, 18 months into his hearing journey, and Aiden continues to amaze me every.single.day.

I know I've mentioned this before, but being one of the best pieces of advice I was given when I found out Aiden was deaf, I found myself thinking of it again. It was from this wonderful mom, whose daughter "Toes" is such a huge inspiration to our family. In her email to me (which I still have) she said,

"... do not let his deafness define who he is, but just as important, do not let it define who you are either."

I get teary eyed every time I quote it as it feels like yesterday that I sat crying, reading her words of encouragement and inspiration.

So 18 months into our journey, I think about this advice, and I look back at how far Aiden has come, how much progress he's made. I think of his expressive and receptive language capabilities, how much of a trooper he is being toted from appointment to appointment, how at any given time in our household you can hear someone saying/explaining something to Aiden and how our house has become such a language rich environment ...

and as I contemplate all this, I realize it's not easy to NOT define who he is with his deafness - with all these appointments, all these therapies, all these language assessments of where his scores fall looking at his chronological age and hearing age, all the planning of what workshops we'll attend next and which preschool he'll go to, etc, etc.; all this constant language and making nearly everything we do a meaningful experience ... all for Aiden.

and sometimes I have to stop myself, and remember this wonderful advice. Because it IS so easy to get caught up in the day to day activities, appointments, therapies, experiences that revolve around Aiden's hearing loss. I have to remind myself, Aiden is my baby, my two and a half year old sweetheart, and just like his sister is not defined through the glasses she wears, Aiden will not be defined through his hearing loss.

So instead of throwing numbers out there of how many words Aiden is speaking, where he falls on the Ski-Hi and the REEL-3 language development scales, I'm going to celebrate his 18 months of hearing on how we define Aiden.

AIDEN ROBERT


Adorable. Have you seen those baby blues? He is always SMILING and LAUGHING; he is the happiest child, and for this, I am most thankful.
Inquisitive. Which leads him to exploring how things work, which leads to taking them apart, and is a.k.a. getting into every.little.thing.
Daddy's little boy. When dad's around, no one else matters.
Energizer bunny. The boy NEVER stops, he is always on the go, that is unless mom puts on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Never meets a stranger. There's not a shy bone in his body; he's all about high-fives, hugs, and handshakes.

Really SWEET, SILLY, and SASSY, in no particular order, just the right mix of each.
Organizer. As he cleans up or plays, he likes things in the right place. In fact, he can be a little overly sensitive if things aren't sorted correctly, yet this same boy can destroy a room in less than five minutes.
Builder. Our future engineer. He LOVES to tear things apart, figure out how they work, then build them back up.
Eager, engaged, and enlightened in everything he does (including his therapies). He loves to learn and gets so proud of himself when he discovers/learns something new.
Rough houser. There's nothing better than a wrestle match with Ryan and let me tell ya, Aiden's one tough cookie!
Thinks everything out, quietly analyzes situations, and doesn't give up until he figures it out.

This is Aiden. and it is these definitive qualities which make him the boy he is. Yes, he wears bilateral cochlear implants, which are life changing. and yes, every worry, every tear, every skipped heartbeat, every mile driven to appointment after appointment, every moment getting caught up in hearing loss, is worth every milestone he reaches.

It's his vibrant personality, his determination, and will to succeed though that lead him to continue to discover, continue to ask, "Was at?" as he hears a new sound. It is all this that will lead him to success.

and for him, for his wonderful self, AND for cochlear implants I am forever thankful.

Happy 18 months hearing Aiden!

Friday, September 17, 2010

and for him, we will be,

FOREVER GRATEFUL.

Check out this article on the amazing man who invented cochlear implants. He will always be honored in our household for providing Aiden, among hundreds of thousand others, the chance to hear.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Aiden + Naptime = Disaster

Let me paint the picture ...


Aiden's brother and sister are finally back in school; I'm trying to get Aiden back into OUR daily routine - which includes trying to get him back into a nap (more so for me); and while he naps, I of course, try to finish a thousand and one things, including craziness like washing all the bedding and starting dinner in the middle of trying to fill in the blanks on posts I started ages ago yet are still in limbo out in never never land waiting to be finalized and probably never will.


Whew.


and then, when I think I have him on task, when all is quiet above, I creep up the stairs (as many times as I remind other's he cannot hear without his CIs, I still find myself "creeping" up to his room to "peek" in quietly. Why? Who knows.) just to check, because when it comes to Aiden, "quiet" typically means "trouble".


As in this case.


Most of you know how I've checked on Aiden before during naptime to have every.single piece of clothing pulled out of his drawers, every.single.wipe pulled out (to which I stuffed every one right back in), even a pants full of poo torn off and left in a corner. I thought we were over this and he was back to actually napping instead of destroying.


Apparently not.





I think he's done with naps and even more importantly I think I need grandma closer by. The (not-so) funny thing is, is that I was in the process of deep cleaning his room. Maybe he thought he was helping.


Here is the video I took after I put his CIs back on to talk about what he had done. I sound like mommy dearest, but was honestly trying hard to hold back from laughing and letting him think it was all ok.


(make sure to turn off the music to the right)

The first video has captioning, but for some reason doesn't work on all computers (works on my Mac, but not my desktop), so I added a noncaptioned one directly from YouTube.





Saturday, September 11, 2010

So Much To Say yet So Little Time

I've started several posts lately, as whenever I think about something
I want to write, I run over to my beloved MacBook and start writing.
Problem is, they all sit there unfinished as I haven't really had the time
to sit and put good thought into fixing
my mumbled messes, such as:

Aiden's six month IFSP review was last month, well actually towards
the end of July,along with a few different language evaluations.

It's our time to start looking at preschools since his transition meeting
from the county to the school district will be this November or December -
seriously, did I just write PRESCHOOL? Where does the time go!?!

Our new fall crazy, busy, nonstop schedule

How he's doing with his new "traditional" therapy
(I'll just say we will continue to go)

and then of course my handful of emotional day in and day out
posts of just stuff I think about

With the fall approaching, so does getting used to a busy life in our household.
Ryan and Kailyn started school,

Kailyn kissing Aiden goodbye on her way to the bus.

which comes along with getting into a homework routine,
and with Ryan starting high school
(oh my gosh, did I just write HIGH SCHOOL? DEEP BREATH!)
his homework is NONSTOP; add in the new fall activities/sports/practices
that I'm constantly running to; getting used to EVERYONE'S new
schedule (including Aiden's), and oh, did I mention I now have a high schooler?
Well, any of you who were once in HS or have a HS'er,
know that mom's newest job title to add to the already long list,
is TAXI CAB DRIVER. It's nonstop.

Not to mention none of us are in school mode. We still think it's summer.

aiden performing d.j. duties

a little baseball playing

and knowing the cold weather is on its way, we're spending
every moment we canenjoying the outdoors.
In fact, Aiden's physical therapist asked if we
could meet at the park instead of at my house until it gets cold out,
Ummm, YA!
and she'll be super excited to hear our days outdoors have lead to Aiden
pedaling his tricycle all by himself! HUGE p.t. milestone!

We've had family visiting to help us enjoy
the new firepit my husband built,

and to help us hold on to the final days of summer,
yet bring in the cooler weather and beauty of fall.
We've been traveling a lot and getting in
last minute four day weekends while we can.

and hence, my lack of time and lack of posts.
They're all there ... just waiting for me to fill in the blanks,
and soon enough, I hope to have them cleaned up and cleared out.

HAPPY FALL MY FRIENDS!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Life With Aiden

I've been meaning to jot these stories down in Aiden's baby book,
but then I remembered this blog IS his baby book.

Every night we have the typical bedtime routine to brush teeth, read books, say prayers, I LOVE Yous, kisses, Aiden hands me his CIs, and lights out. Well, actually, there's also the 100 times in and out of his room to stop him from cleaning out his closet or drawers or bookcase, tearing down the blinds (which reminds me I need new ones for his room AND Kailyn's since he tore those down too), but anyway,

last night, as I was saying prayers with him, his left CI was already off and he accidentally knocked the right coil off. He continued to put the coil back on, listen to a couple words, then take it off, put it on, take it off over and over again. He thought it was hilarious. Of course I was laughing too thinking, "Oh my, this is just the beginning of him realizing he doesn't hear my voice when he takes that thing off." I wonder if he thinks maybe I'll shut up if I see his coil is off. Oh my, here we go.

Lately Aiden has been trying to put his CIs on our ears. Then he smiles at us and gives us a high five, like he's proud of himself for sharing. I've even caught him trying to put one on the cat. I wonder if he thinks we can't hear like he does unless we have one on too? I wish I could take a peek inside that nonstop mind of his.

I'm sure I'm missing some other Aiden silliness, but last but not least,

Aiden has become very good at performing and SAYING the Sign of the Cross. I really need to get it on video cause it's too damn cute. He must sense that we know just how cute it is, because when he's been getting in trouble during the day, he'll stop, look me straight in the eye and start the motions as he says, "Da fadder, da son, (something mumbly for Holy and Spirit), AHen!" Then he'll smile this ear to ear (excuse my french, but honestly) shit eating grin that says, okay am I good to go now? Definitely a Catholic boy.
Oh Lord help me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Audiology Round Two

Friday we hopped in the car for a trek back to Cleveland to follow up on Aiden's ugly audiology results from a few weeks ago. At that time, we left with four new programs to work up to. By this past Friday, we were on program 3, ready to change to program 4, but I held off as I wanted to see how he did with P3 and I didn't want him testing with a new program.

The results looked much better than last time, but still weren't where we want them to be. Aiden did pretty well behaviourally in the booth for his right ear, but as the left ear testing began, hyper mode kicked in. Maybe I shouldn't have bribed him with all those m&ms during the right ear testing.

Anyway, these were the results from three weeks ago:


and after gradually turning up the levels in the low frequencies on both ears, and the high frequencies on the left ear, the newest audiogram looks like this:

Good progress was made in the lower frequencies, which is wonderful. He is right where he needs to be for the mid frequencies and right ear high frequencies (except the measure at 8000 hz, which I don't believe is accurate), but the left ear at 4000 Hz we need to watch as well as both ears at 8000 hz. These higher frequency results are most likely due to Aiden's not wanting to "play" anymore. We couldn't get a SRT on his left either. We decided not to make any map changes at this time, but to move on to P4, and come back in two weeks for another recheck.

Overall, I am very happy to see the improvements. It is so important that he has a stable map to continue his language development. I definitely want to see the lower frequencies come up a bit and get a more accurate result on his left ear all around.

So two weeks from now we'll head back to Cleveland for another soundbooth and any mapping changes needed. Since we switched to P4, Aiden has repeated some very good /e/ sounds (which have always been very nasally), a good long i - which he now says "bye" and "hi" instead of bah and hah like someone from the deep south, and repeats the /m/ and /oo/ immediately when said at a good distance, mouth covered, unlike he was before.