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.
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!