Monday, March 31, 2008

"Make me smart, implants!"

Once a week Chance and I attend AV therapy (auditory/verbal therapy). As we sat down for our therapy session last week, the teacher asked Chance to listen close as he got ready to do a listening exercise. Chance tapped his implant on one side and said," Make me smart!" His teacher and I chuckled at this and Chance smiled.

"My implants make me smart!" He beamed.

Chance would be smart without the implants, the implants just let more information get into his brain from the world around him than he would get with out them.

Let the games begin...again.

Since Chance has siblings, each one has had to come to the realization that Chance can't hear squat when his implants are not on. His sister was fascinated with the implants for a while and would take them off . Then she went through a stage where she would get frustrated and say, "Chance is not listening to me!" when she tried to talk to him first thing in the morning. It took a while before we convinced her that when Chance took off his implants, it was like taking off his ears. Nothing she said would make a dent until those implants were on.

Now Chance's baby brother is wondering why usually attentive Chance sometimes pays him no mind at all.
We were in the van coming home late at night, and Chance gave us him implants to hold. This is one of those times when being able to tune out the world sounds rather delightful. When you are ready to doze off, just take off the ears.

Anyway, Chance's baby brother sits next to Chance in the van and had something of vital importance for Chance to hear. First, he called Chance's name. Chance and his baby brother are little buddies so for Chance not to respond took him off guard. We suddenly heard this little voice from the back seat growing ever louder as he called, "Chance." CHANCE!" I turned to see my littlest boy in the half light staring at Chance and yelling his name. Chance meanwhile had his eyes closed and was quite unaware that there was any sound going on in the world at all.

His baby brother is not old enough yet to grasp that some people can't hear. We tried to tell him that Chance could not hear him. He only looked at us and went back to calling Chance's name.

Chance is innocently unaware that his siblings go a little loopy when they call and call and he doesn't respond. He just goes about his business as usual.

I'm sure we'll encounter more situations like the one in the van before his baby brother can understand that Chance really can not hear much if his implants are not on. Chalk it up to one of those hard learned lessons of childhood.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Chance's "wow" factor

Seeing as how we live with Chance each and every day, we get used to him reading out loud, asking us questions any kid would ask, and expressing his needs and desires. But every once in a while, we get the "wow!" factor that Chance generates from people who have not seen him for a while.

This weekend, Chance has caused many people to exclaim, "Wow!"
First there were the family members that flew in from out of state. They have not seen Chance for several months. Over dinner, Chance walked up and told me something and then walked off.
"He sounds so good! It is just amazing!" Chance's uncle exclaimed.

Then there was the babysitter. We used a babysitter that we have never used before and when I drove her home, I told her that it was nice to have another babysitter in our arsenal. She asked how long we have lived in the neighborhood, and that began a discussion of how, although we have lived here for a while, we have not used babysitters that often. I mentioned that between us not knowing any of the babysitters in the neighborhood well, and being nervous to leave Chance with someone who Chance may not feel comfortable with, and who may not feel comfortable with Chance, we had not used that many sitters even though we have been here a while.
"He is doing so good though! You can hardly tell he's deaf!" She exclaimed.
"Yes, he is doing really well now. That was more during the first while after we found out he was deaf. Now, we don't have those same worries." I explained.

Then during the Easter program at church, I asked for volunteers to come up and read from the scriptures. Chance came up to the microphone, and read 2 verses cold from the scriptures. Scripture wording is not always in language that you read or hear everyday, but Chance did just beautifully, only needing help on words that any 7 year old would need help on.
After church was over, a woman in our congregation approached me and said, " I was really impressed by Chance's reading! He did so well. Good for him!"

I echo the "wow" factor that Chance elicits from people. It is fun to see the reaction of people who don't know him as well, or have not seen him for a while. They are not obligated to say anything. But Chance's progress and ability to speak and hear, is truly an amazing thing to behold.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Overheard conversations......

The thoughts and conversations of Chance:

After returning from a shopping trip, a box of Glad garbage bags was sitting on my kitchen counter. Shortly thereafter, I heard the following....

Chance: "Why do these garbage sacks say glad on them?"

Chance's friend: "Because they are glad!"

***********************

Chance was sitting on his Dad's lap on the eve of St. Patrick's Day contemplating some of the mysteries of life.

Chance: "How big are leprechauns?" He asked holding his fingers about 7 inches apart to judge if that looked like about the right size.

"They are bigger than that." His dad replied. Chance looked amazed. "Why are some leprechauns big and some are little?"

Chance also wondered aloud if the leprechauns would turn our milk green as has happened for the past several years at our house.

***********************

Chance asking questions of his grandpa for a school project:

"What kind of car did you drive in the 1950's?"

Chance's grandpa sat for a moment and asked, "I wasn't old enough to drive in the 50's. How old does your teacher think I am?!"

"What was your favorite movie in the 1950"s? Chance asked his pencil poised ready to write down the answer.

"I would run home to watch Flash Gordon after school." His grandpa replied.

'Flash Gordon?" Chance asked writing down his answer as his grandpa spelled out the unfamiliar name.

***********************

Chance sat at the kitchen table reading a book.

"Is throughout a compound word?" He wanted to know.

"Yes, that is right. Good job." I responded smiling to myself as I realized Chance was getting the concept of compound words.

***********************

Chance was looking over a book order form that he brought home from school.

"How many bucks does this cost?" He wanted to know as he eyed a deluxe piggy bank that took both the swipe of a card and a key to open it.

***********************

Chance came running in the house breathless and asking for marshmallows.

"We need marshmallows for our camp out fire." Chance said holding open a plastic baggie in anticipation for a marshmallow drop.

I looked out the garage door to see several neighborhood kids gathered in a circle around a pile of sticks in my driveway.

I filled the baggie and added some graham crackers to boot.

'Thanks mom!" Chance said kissing me as he headed out the garage door.

"Guys, I got the marshmallows!" He gushed sprinting through the garage. This was met with happy cheers all round.

***********************

Chance walked into the laundry room requesting a granola bar to eat. Later as he asked for something else to eat, I told him that he had already had a granola bar.

"But granola bars are too short!" He complained indicating their meager size with his fingers.
"My tummy is not full yet!"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Saying goodbye is not always sweet sorrow

There is a family that is interested in buying Chance's old hearing aids. Obviously we don't need them anymore:)
Chance heard me on the phone talking about the hearing aids and came up to me to see what I was talking about.
"Hearing aids?" He asked me.
"Yes, someone might buy your old hearing aids."
Chance's eyes got big. I don't think he spends much time remembering those and had forgotten they existed.
"Is that ok, or do you want them back so you can wear them?" I asked.
Chance shook his head vigourously. I don't want them back!"
"Why not? Don't you miss them?" I asked.
"I could not hear with those!" He replied.
This began a discussion of the things that Chance had heard with his heairng aids.
"Could you hear your friends with your heairng aids?" I asked.
"Sometimes. But not if they were too far away."
"Could you hear your teacher at school?" I wondered aloud.
"Not all of the time." Chance told me.
"Could you hear your mom?" I wanted to know.
"Yes." He giggled. "But not all of the time."

"There is a little boy who can not hear very well Chance and he might need your hearing aids. Is that ok?" I asked.

Chance's eyebrows went up. "There is a little boy who can not her very well?"
"He needs hearing aids like you did. Do you want to say goodbye to your hearing aids?"
"No. Does he already have the hearing aids?"
"No, his mom and dad will come and get them a little later. Is that ok?"
Chance nodded.
Now the journey will begin for someone else.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Chance wants to play the drums

Chance's newest ambition is to play the drums. He has mentioned that he wants to play the drums for a while now. I told him that he needs to take piano lessons first. I think the piano, at least for a short while, will give him a good musical base. Plus, we own a piano...... this is not the case with a drum set:) I'm all for him playing the drums, I think it would be a good instrument for him to learn.

Chance was taking piano lessons before he got his second implant, but we took a hiatus since we had so much going on at the time. It seems the time has come to get back in the saddle again though.

Chance loves music. His sister got a CD of funny songs for her birthday and it is fun to see Chance's face when he hears the lyrics of some of those songs. He has turned to me, mouth agape, and asked, "Beans in my ears?" One of the songs is called,"Beans in My Ears." The lyrics say,"My mom told me not to put beans in my ears, beans in my ears, beans in my ears."

Another song is about the cartoon character Alley Oop. "What is this song talking about?" Chance asked me in the van, a look of concentration across his features.

It is good to see that Chance is understanding the lyrics on a new CD even if they don't seem to make much sense:)