Saturday, August 25, 2007

Chance the defender

Chance started playing soccer this year. We have not been a big soccer family so far, so we wondered how Chance would adapt to the game. He was really excited to play, but he had not had much exposure. In baseball, you can observe the players around you and watch the other team play when you are in the infield.

In soccer if you stop to observe, you get pinged in the head with a ball. There is also non stop action and you have to be able to hear a coach's directions as both you and he are running up the field.

Chance has taken to soccer very well. He is fast and does very well being a defender by the goal. He is good at blocking shots before they even reach the goalie.

Today as he played, I noticed that at one point he was just standing on the field glancing in my direction. I had glanced away from the field for one moment, and when I turned back, there Chance stood.

"Oh no! He's been wounded and I don't know which body part I am going to need to focus on when he comes over." I thought. You turn away for one second...

It turns out Chance wasn't looking at me at all. He was focused on the Apache helicopters that were flying by. I was surprised actually that Chance had not noticed the helicopters earlier in the game. They kept flying by. Helicopters are one of the few sounds that Chance can hear with "a natural" ears.

There was no defending going on at this point as Chance was mesmerized. He ran over to point the helicopters out to me and after acknowledging that they were indeed cool, I sent him back out to defend his goal.

I have been pleasantly surprised to see how much Chance hears out on the field. He hears his coach calling out calls, telling him to go here or there and does not miss much at all. I am sure that he does not hear absolutely everything, but he is on the ball and when his coach calls out something to the whole team like."Kick the ball away from the goal." Chance moves in to do just that.

So, soccer is going well. It turns out Chance is quite good at this game.

I am glad that we signed him up to play.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chance heard the leaves in the trees!

On the day that we found out that Chance was deaf - as I was driving home from the hospital in a sort of daze - one thought hit me as I looked out the window, where the wind was blowing the leaves in some big trees and I was watching them sway back and forth.

"My son will never be able to hear the leaves blow in the wind," I thought to myself. I love that sound and it caused me to get teary eyed as I realized that Chance would never share that sound with me. Then I comforted myself with the thought that Chance would not know what he was missing as he would not remember having ever heard leaves blowing in the wind.

Well, yesterday as we left Chance's soccer practice, the wind was blowing the trees as we walked back to the car. And Chance said," I hear the wind blowing the trees!"

Some moments are hard to describe as they touch you so much. This was one such moment for me.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Chance "hears" how his name should be spelled and reacts.

Chance was signing his name on a paper the other day and when he was done, I was a bit surprised. Chance knows how to spell his name of course, but his paper reflected something other than the spelling I was used to.

Across the paper, Chance had written, "Chans." At first, I was confused. Had Chance mistakingly put an 's' in his name? That seemed strange since this had never happened before.

"Chance, why did you put an 's' in your name?" I asked.

Chance matter-of-factly sounded out his name for me and informed me that it made an "s" sound at the end, so there should be an s. And since he had put an s at the end, there did not need to be an e either.

This is good since Chance could not hear s's just a year ago so it is apparent, his hearing has improved in this area. It is interesting that he has transferred this new hearing ability to his name. I don't know if this is a phase, or if Chance has decided permanently that his name should have an 's' in it since that is the way it sounds.

School is about to start so we'll have to see how he decides to spell his name on his papers :)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Chance and the family reunion

We attended a family Reunion yesterday. Chance met many relatives that he does not remember meeting before. He made some new friends too.

So much work goes into planning an event like this and Chance's aunts had done a good job. However, there were a few glitches in the beginning just to shake things up. About a half an hour into the event, a storm moved in and blew down all of the pictures and ripped the paper off the tables where everyone was planning to picnic. It rained pretty heavy for a bit, but just as it looked like an outside reunion was doomed, the rain stopped and the skies cleared.

Then, during the magic show, while all the kids sat mesmerized on the grass, the sprinklers suddenly went on, adding to the puddles already created by the rain. The pavilion where we gathered now had puddles of water all along the perimeters. Not too much of a bother, except a few of the kids running around slipped and fell when they encountered the water. Chance was one of these kids. He went dashing through the pavilion and plopped right onto his hiney. Both implants promptly fell right smack into a puddle. There was a collective gasp as all of the relatives in the vicinity contemplated what this could mean. Several hands reached out to help Chance up and someone plucked the implants out of the water holding them out while they eyed them worriedly. Chance's dad and I were over by a tree lining up for a picture but I had seen the event and came over to make sure that Chance was ok. After ascertaining that Chance was alright, the next thing everyone wanted to know was if the implants were ruined. Someone was saying, "Get something to wipe the water off!"

Once again, we are SO GRATEFUL that his implants are not that delicate around water! They survived the submersion just fine. Chance was embarrassed at having fallen in front of everyone, but other than that, no damage was done.

So, several relatives are now breathing easier with us knowing that the implants survived. And Chance was able to talk to and get to know more of his relatives because of his implants. Many of Chance's relatives were impressed with how well Chance could hear and commented on how great it was to see that he was doing so well. It was a good day.

Friday, August 03, 2007

That makes a cool noise!

Today at lunch, Chance stuck his food in the mircowave and stood back to wait for it to heat up. As he and his sister watched the food go in circles, Chance suddenly jumped up to lean in closer to the microwave.

"That makes a cool sound!" Chance said his face registering complete surprise.

Chance's sister and I leaned in closer to the microwave.

"Do you hear that?" Chance bubbled like he was sharing a newly discovered bit of information.

"Chance, you haven't heard the mircowave make noise before?" I asked.

"No! It makes noise now!" Chance beamed.

I will now pay more attention to the fact that the microwave makes noise when it is cooking something. Chance shows us all kinds of things that we don't really think about until he points them out to us.
Hooray for microwaves making noise when they cook! What a great sound!

Chance hears his name in song...

Yesterday Chance was playing a game of checkers with his brother when he excitedly said,"hey, they said my name!"

There was a CD playing in the background while the boys played their game.

'Listen!" Chance said.

"Yes, they did say chance.' his brother responded while he continued to play.

"They are saying my name again!" Chance laughed.

Then Chance's brother delivered the news..'Chance, the song is not talking about you. They are just saying chance."

Chance was undaunted. He was delighted that he heard his name while listening to the music. With a name like Chance, he has a good chance of hearing his name in songs again:)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Chance makes friends in all sorts of places..

This summer it has been very satisfying to watch Chance interacting with other kids, many that he has never met before, as he plays sports, plays at parks or rides around the neighborhood.

There have been several instances when Chance has made a friend while playing in the sandbox or climbing up the jungle gym. Chance is confident enough to reach out and meet other kids and play with them wherever he finds himself this summer.

I love to approach him as he is playing at a park etc. and have him exclaim excitedly, "This is my new friend!" He still doesn't always get their names, but he bonds with them all the same:)

Sometimes, he recognizes a child from baseball etc. and readily approaches them to play when he sees them again at the park. It shows that Chance is confident in his ability to communicate and be understood by other kids. He doesn't have to focus so much on understanding and being understood, and can instead focus on just being a kid that wants to play with other kids.
Sometimes Chance will hang back at first to access the situation, but more and more he just jumps right in.

We went to a park after Chance got his mapping done, and a group of women with several children were playing tag. Chance and his brother joined right in to play.

I think Chance is very social and is now able to express that more since he can hear better and not have to focus so hard on just hearing what people are saying. Sometimes Chance has to use his power of observation to totally grasp what the situation is when people are running all over talking while they play tag etc. but Chance is able to catch what is going on more and more and join in on the fun. Chance can not hear perfectly with the implants, but he is hearing phenominally well and his opportunities to interact with those around him have increased and improved more than we had ever hoped for at the beginning of our journey.

I can see that it is very satisfying for Chance to feel comfortable enough to just be a kid that is joining in on the activities going on around him instead of missing out on most of the things that are being said.