Friday, July 24, 2009

Ok then, why didn't I hear you then?

Most mornings at our house find children with jobs to do and rooms to clean. On this particular morning, as Chance was heading back to his bedroom, I asked him to please take the matchbox car that was on the floor in the living room and put it away in his room.

To make sure that Chance heard me, I repeated my request and he even looked at me and nodded.

Half an hour later, while passing through the living room, I noticed that the matchbox car was still laying exactly as it had been all morning so I called out to Chance to come see me.

"Chance, I asked you to put this car away half an hour ago. Someone is going to step on it and get hurt."

With great conviction, Chance explained that I had NOT told him to pick up the car and take it back to his room.

I assured him that I had indeed asked him to put the car away.

Then Chance, with his head bent and his voice full of exasperation asked, "Why did I not hear you then?! "

Where to start with this question. It obviously did not occur to Chance that he would not have heard me. The problem was mine. I wanted to laugh, but Chance was so earnest and serious.

Honestly, I think that this moment had less to do with Chance's hearing loss than his being a typical 9 year old boy who gets distracted as his mother is talking to him sometimes.

Apparently, for future record though, if Chance does not hear me, it is my doing. Not his :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Riding the 'Wican'

We pulled into the parking lot of the amusement park and Chance bounced out of the car ready to take on the rides.

"I'm going on the wican!" Chance declared, referring to one of the rides he had heard his brother talking about.

"Where is it?" He wanted to know as he scanned the park from our parking spot.

"Do you want to go on the wican?" Chance asked some friends who were with us. They didn't hear him so they did not catch his mistake.

"It's called Wicked", I explained to Chance. I could just imagine Chance in the amusement park asking about riding the Wican.

With a name like Wicked, you have to know that the ride will pack a punch. Chance has always loved these thrill rides. His dad and I went on the ride with him and his little sister who also appears to be an adrenaline junky.

You start out in a tunnel where you load, then the ride slowly takes you out of the tunnel and then shoots you up to a peak, where you immediately hurtle back down towards the earth, all the while watching the earth come at you since you are face down. It was a thrill. Chance hears nothing this whole time just thrusting and what he can see. No thrill screams from the people ahead. No WHOOSH of the cars as they sail over the tracks.

We eagerly watched the kids' expressions to see what they would think. They loved it. Both of them wanted to know if we could go again. The line was quite long by this time so we told them we would come back later.

We take Chance's implants off for the rides since we don't want to know what happens to them when Chance is hurtling around at 60 m.p.h.

How much more attuned must your other senses be on a roller coaster when you are not hearing anything?! Whatever the feeling is, Chance seems to really like it")

During our ride on another roller coaster as we were climbing up to the top so that we could Swoosh down again, a voice came over the speaker reminding everyone to keep their head back against the seat. I looked over at Chance as we started to descend and realized that his head was not against the seat and he was getting ready to hold his arms up in the air as we went down. The voice that told us to hold our heads against the seat, also told us not to do that. Since Chance could not hear me, I motioned to him to put his arms down and pushed his head against the seat. This meant that when we descended, my head was not against the seat until late in the turn. It was a little uncomfy and my head got whipped around a bit, but I recovered soon enough and was glad that I had made Chance understand what he needed to do. This discussion about our heads being against the seat and not holding our arms up in the air as we descend might be better had BEFORE we actually are zooming down the tracks. I'm just thinking.

Chance had a great time and I was amazed to see how much he got while talking without implants to one of the boys. I was on a ride behind Chance and his friend, and Chance nodded as his friend gestured and looked at him while he talked. After the ride, his friend was telling Chance what rides they still needed to ride and Chance understood all but the part where he was told which ride was next. So his friend dashed off and Chance turned to me and said,"Where do I go?"

All in all it was great day. Chance loves to hurtle through the air. If only Chance and I could trade places for one ride....I could ride in silence and see what that is like, and he could see what it is like to hear the screaming of other riders and the sounds the ride makes as it zips around the tracks.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Chance feels the music

Chance has been taking swimming lessons first thing in the morning so he usually just grabs his implants and doesn't put them on until he needs to hear instructions from his swimming teacher.

Today as we drove, Chance suddenly said,"Is that music? I feel music!"

From what I could see in the rear view mirror, Chance was even swaying a little to the music he felt.

Sometimes, I would like to be inside of Chance's world and feel what he feels for a moment.

Once Chance was at his private swimming lessons, I had to remind him that even though he could not hear his teacher, his teacher could hear him. I think Chance is so used to being in a class with several other kids, that he isn't used to so much attention from the teacher.

I would hear Chance say, "What?" when his teacher said something that he did not get a good lip read on, but Chance seemed to forget that even though he could not hear his teacher, his teacher could hear him.

I was again amazed at just how good Chance is at reading lips. His teacher was in the water with Chance swimming or walking along beside him and was really good at getting Chance's attention and putting himself in Chance's view so that they could communicate with speaking and lip reading. The teacher would also motion or use signals so that Chance would know what was going on.

It was a very positive experience. Chance worked harder than he ever had before during swim class. The class was tailor made for Chance's level and endurance and that is just what we need.

Chance plays checkers, and makes a satchel and a corn husk doll...

Today we went to Colonial Days which is a little replica of how a town would have been in colonial times. It was great fun. There were colonial games to play, satchels full of lavender to sew and crickets to eat. Yes, the Indians really did eat crickets and you could try them if you wanted. Chance did not want to try them. He did try his hand at several of the activities though.

Chance carefully sewed up the sides of a satchel and then filled it with lavender for me. Now all my clothes can smell good. He also made a corn husk doll for his baby sister. All of these activities were done in groups with someone dressed in colonial clothes giving out instructions. AND CHANCE COULD HEAR THEM! He sat in the groups and just listened like any other child. I never cease to be amazed at what he can hear....or that he can hear at all, let as well join a group of strangers making corn husk dolls and hear the instructions well enough to make one.

Chance also sat down at a table where a checker board was laid out and asked the boy his age sitting there if he wanted to play a game of checkers. I absolutely love to see Chance have the confidence to engage in these situations. The implants have just helped Chance to blossom and interact with people wherever he finds himself. He was extra social today and not timid about engaging people he didn't know in conversations whether it was to play checkers or ask a question about how to do a craft. Does Chance have to pay more attention then someone who hears without implants? Absolutely. Does he pick up some of what is going on by watching his surroundings? Sure. But he can hear and can participate in situations that he just walks into and is not familiar with. He has the capacity and the confidence to hear.

Chance even played a game of checkers with one of the adult volunteers who was all decked out in colonial attire.

Chance's confidence has really taken off since he has had the implants. Gone are the days when he is afraid that someone won't understand him or that he won't understand them. I used to ache when I saw him trying to communicate with people and they either didn't understand him, or he didn't understand them. I could see that his confidence was affected and that he was holding back because he didn't understand what was being said.

I look at where we are now 3 years into having him implanted and realize that getting Chance the implants has turned out even better than we dared to dream.