Friday, January 28, 2011

For the Love of Siblings

Aiden greets his sister every day with a hug when she gets home from school.

Even though Aiden is just a couple months shy of three,
He is in his prime of what I call,
the "terrible" TWO YEARS
or as we also say in our house, being "Calvin" like.

and with this, comes behaviors
that aren't typical of my little guy.
He truly is a VERY happy go lucky, huggy, kissy,
always smiling, nice to everyone type of kid.
I CHERISH his demeanor.

BUT, every once in awhile (okay, everyday, many times a day),
the TWO year old, or the BOY, (or BOTH) come out in him.
For example:

Santa Claus brought him a new Step Two workbench for Christmas
(and minus the screws it didn't come with means a workbench that is easily
taken apart, which is more fun for our little engineer than actually playing with it).

Anyway, last night as Aiden's sister was peacefully watching t.v.
he decided to whack her, with one of the benches plastic sides,
from behind (so she had not clue what was coming)
over the head which made her also bite her lip.

Aiden really does ADORE his sister and this isn't typical of him.
My guess is he was practicing our emotions theme
we've been working on, in which his favorite is the whole drama scene
from being sad to pretending to cry to being happy again.

As she ran over to me screaming, (very drama queen like),
Aiden stood there staring, with this smug GRIN on his face,
waiting to see what was going to happen next.

I called for him to come over by us (three times)
which he finally did with his head hanging low,
and that GRIN still on his face.

"Aiden, what do you say to your sister? You hurt her and now she's sad,
and it makes mommy mad."
(at this point I was waiting for him to haul off and smack her again),

He went right up to her, gave her a huge hug,
looked her right in the eye, and said,
"I SAWY Taywin."
Hugged her again, smiled (nicely) up at her,
then took her hand to go play.

at this point, I was ecstatic to see
1) that he had sympathy for his sister and
2) that he used a three word sentence to show he's getting the whole emotions theme!

Whew. That shit eating grin on his face really had me scared for a minute.
Little stinker.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Sidekick

How do you go from this,
to this,
to this
in what seems like overnight.
In the blink of an eye, my binky baby has turned into a little boy,
and it makes my eyes water.

This week Aiden had therapy with our Regional Infant Hearing Program advisor, who happens to office out of the elementary school that houses the hearing impaired program for preschool and kindergarten. This program is also an option for us to try and send Aiden to, as long as our school district agrees. Instead of therapy though, his therapist and I talked while Aiden played.

Aiden turns three on St. Patty's Day. What does that mean besides the fact that my BABY is growing up WAY too fast?

It means that he will no longer receive Early Intervention services through our county (which pays for his PT, OT, one of his speech therapies, and provides extra funds for community classes such as the music therapy class he's taking at the time).

It means we have scheduled a multi-factored evaluation (MFE), in order to determine if Aiden is eligible for public school special needs preschool (in which we have multiple options of preschools the district MAY agree to send him to that we've been visiting).

It means Aiden will be under someone else's wing learning language and socialization skills, making friends, having fun, and carrying his "bapac" (backpack) and "uhnba" (lunchbox),

and as excited as I am to think about the benefits he'll receive at whichever preschool setting we choose, and all the fun he's going to have at "sool", and how much language he'll learn, and how much he'll grow all around ...

it all also means I'm just not ready to let my baby go.

It means every time I think about it, my eyes water.

It means that I need to put on my big girl panties and know it's time to let go and let him come out from under momma's wing and gain the independence he is OH SO ready for.

I had no problem sending my older two. None. Nada. Nilch. I don't even think I got tears (not until I saw my oldest walk out the door to middle school).

but now, every time I think about it, I get teary eyed.

So I talked to my therapist, I mean my sister-in-law, and she brought up some very good points.

As many know, barely two months before Aiden was born my dad died from a long, yet fairly quick bout of dementia. He was 55 and way too young. I knew something was wrong with him and worried about him as we tried to figure things out going from doctor to doctor for a good four plus years, took him into my home (on and off) the last two years, and then ran from assisted living to hospitals to nursing homes the last four months. It wasn't easy. At all. I fought (and worked) with doctors, nursing homes, nurses, insurance agencies, and psychologists. I took care of him the best I could. He was my sidekick.

Then two months later Aiden was born. I remember telling my dad the summer I found out I was pregnant. He did a happy dance around the living room. Four months later, he'd make mention of "the baby" but didn't really get it. Three months later, he was gone. I knew Aiden was going to be my strength to carry on. What I didn't know was all I had ahead of me and how much advocating for my dad made me a stronger person and better able to deal with the advocating which was yet to come.

and that's exactly what I've been doing for nearly the last three years. Making sure my deaf son receives the best medical/hearing teams possible to provide him the chance to hear and a life of listening and spoken language; running from audiology appointments all over the state every two to four weeks for nearly a year until his maps are finally right; getting second opinions when that mom instinct kicks in and knows something still isn't right even though "the professionals" say everything is fine; running to therapy after therapy appointment; talking, talking, talking about every.little.thing in order to provide a language rich environment and making EVERYTHING (yes, everything) we do an "experience" to soak his brain with nouns, adjectives, verbs, prepositions, etc. to TEACH him (over and over and over again) something that would seem so simple and that any typical hearing child learns through incidental listening.

For nearly the past three years, it's been him and I,
He's become my sidekick.
Learning, growing, experiencing,

and honestly, I'm scared. The one person who filled my dad's void is growing up. It's not that he doesn't need me anymore, but more the fact that someone else will be teaching him besides me. I didn't have this problem when he went to The River School in DC, but that was more like the ultimate mommy's day out two times a week. I know I could wait and keep him home another year, but again, I know preschool is the best option for him and believe me, as ready as I seem not to be, I am willing myself to be, because I know how much he'll benefit and how much fun he'll have.

But deep down inside, my stomach knots up and I get a lump in my throat with the thought about not having my sidekick, day in and day out, who means the world to me to take care of and play with and teach and love on all day long.

But I'm sure, deep down inside, there's a part of me who will learn to enjoy
the time away from each other and the tears won't last long.
and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to fill that void,
and take this long overdue time alone to find myself
and rediscover who I am, as my own person,
without a sidekick.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2010 In Pictures

2010 was overall a VERY good year. We ended 2009 by packing up our third
(and hopefully last) Uhaul in less than 18 months
and headed to Ohio to settle in. We started 2010 returning home.
Back to the Midwest. Much closer to family. Turning the page,
to another new chapter.

Here's what made our 2010 full of LIFE, LAUGHTER, and LOVE:

celebrating Aiden's ONE YEAR OF HEARING and
SECOND BIRTHDAY all within a week.

16 hours closer in distance means SO much more time with my mom,
(and my 80 year young grandparents too!)

meeting other CI/hearing loss families in our local community for picnics and play dates.

starting high school, first formals, and

girlfriends we adore.

many trips to the zoo,

finding a hearing team for Aiden,
who fulfills what we've been in search of.

new family members,
Austin Robert (my brother's first child) blessed our world on 6/9/10

16 years of marriage ... I'm so proud of US!

continuous exploration and discovery of new sounds,
despite a year of mapping ups and downs.

smores, cocktails, and story telling around the fires in our backyard firepit,
right up until the wind was just too much to handle and snow nearly covered it.

Having 16 cousins so close to grow up with,
and participating in so much more than we ever have before.
I LOVE my husband's family and all they are to us.

LOVE their relationship and

all theirs.

a trip to Walt Disney World

Aiden's "monkey-like" qualities of getting into EVERY.little.THING.

Ryan turning 14 and surviving yet another
year of a teenager (we may not be sane, but we're surviving)

deer in the backyard.

sister-in-laws. Love them.

a well needed long weekend away with girlfriends equals

2010 brought NEW TRADITIONS:

celebrating my dad's life and memory
each year on his birthday by doing things he
loved to do, telling grandpa stories throughout the day, and of course eating
a big steak dinner to top it all off.
We sure do miss him.

celebrating Kailyn's (who turned double digits) and Uncle Scoot's birthday together through
a fun filled weekend that also includes the Dublin Irish Feis which my niece dances in.

an annual camping trip with family,
so much fun!

We ended the year spending Christmas with my mom and brother,

and adding a new puppy to the family
(meet Bella)
What a truly good year we were blessed with.
We're hoping 2011 brings as many good times as 2010 did.

Here's what we're looking forward to:

Aiden starting preschool
more language explosions!

Kailyn making her First Communion and Ryan his Confirmation

Meeting a new niece in February

Heading to California for the 2011 John Tracy Clinic summer program
spending the time there with my very good friend Kat, and her son Thomas

many more family gatherings and trips to Wisconsin
(and hopefully finally meet a few CI friends there)

a second hearing birthday for Aiden

Saying bye-bye to the binky and potty training
(ok, not really looking forward to either of these)

a year of good health, many smiles, lots of laughter, and good times.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Spongebob "CHARMING" Pants

Everyday I work with Aiden teaching him language. What I think is hilarious, is no matter how much I work with him and how many words he learns, I do not teach him how to use these words in a "I'm going to get out of trouble by saying something that will make mom smile" way.

It's just inbred in him, just like I believe it is in all kids his age.

At first, my little devil, I mean angel, would use adorable, yet very sly, tactics to get out of trouble, such as - running up and planting a big kiss on my lips before I could say anything more; looking up at me with that shit eating grin, eyes scrunched closed, all teeth showing as to say, "don't you just love this face?"; or my all time favorite, in the middle of catching him in a situation, he'd completely stop whatever it was he shouldn't have been doing and perform the sign of the cross.

Obviously, he knew I thought all of these actions were cute and would use them to his benefit.

Now, he's starting to use his language for his benefit of staying out of trouble. I think I'm the one who's going to be in trouble with him already trying to talk his way out of time-outs. Yet, in the same breath, how truly amazing is it that he's figuring out, on his own, how his expressive language, can help him get out of sticky situations. How simply amazing is it that our deaf son, is not only talking, but realizing how effective his words can be.

His favorites lately are "I sowy" as he gives me a huge hug, or "tmon mom", as he pulls me away from the situation into a new area as if I'll forget about what he just did, and of course, the ultimate, "I wuv ew" as he runs up and gives me a big hug (and the shit eating grin).

Oh, and this was yesterday's, "Watch what I can say to make me look cute and get out of trouble" phrase.

Only thing is, is they work. He's too cute for them not to and I L-O-V-E every word that comes out of his mouth (or so I say that now lol)!

note: turn off music to right first. Again, for some reason sometimes when I caption videos on Overstream from my iPhone, they do not play on all computers, so I added the video uncaptioned as well.


not captioned:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

SiMpLy CrAzY NoNsToP BuSy

is what I have been since Thanksgiving.

Aiden's blog is LONG overdue for MANY, many updates, but my search to find time to update has been unsuccessful

of THIS ...
(a multitude of roadtrips traveling to and from Cleveland for fun holiday family get togethers or audiology/AVT appts or a night out of Christmas shopping and cocktails with my sister-in-laws)

and THIS ...
(my mom and brother drove in to spend Christmas with us and help make it the best Christmas ever. It was our first Christmas together in over three years and I enjoyed every moment with them. We also had my husband's brother's family from New York the weekend before and my husband's sister's family came in the day after my mom and brother left to help us ring in the New Year. So fun!)

and of course my favorite THIS (which was worth every crazy moment)...

BUT, the main reason I am absolutely insane, completely crazy,
is because of THIS Christmas Eve surprise,

because, you know, I have nothing better to do.

I gotta admit, this Christmas, as on-the-go that it was, was quite calm compared to the last three. Three years ago I was pregnant and in and out of hospitals and nursing homes spending as much time possible with my daddy; two years ago we had just moved to Maryland and were temporarily living in a two bedroom apartment, out of boxes until our house was ready; one year ago we were surrounded by moving boxes all over again, packing up the UHaul the for our journey out of Maryland to Ohio.

Hence my determination to make this holiday as magical as possible.

and it was just that.

I am ever so thankful knowing we are finally settled; thankful to spend the first Christmas season EVER between BOTH our families; thankful for the festive, jolly, Mrs. Claus like, everyone' WONDERFUL.Christmas mood I have been in.

and what a beautiful Holiday Season we had
I wouldn't have changed one thing about it.

Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday too.

Oh. and in between potty training a toddler AND a puppy,
getting my house back to normal everyday living mode,
and preparing for Aiden's upcoming transition from an IFSP to an IEP,
I will try my BEST to update Aiden's Journey.
I just need to find some alone time with my computer and
a glass, I mean a bottle, of wine.
Believe me, I'm looking forward to it.