Sunday, May 30, 2010

What if I can't hear God talking to me?

In our house, we really do believe that prayers are answered and that there is a loving Heavenly Father that listens to our prayers and guides our lives. We were having a conversation about God answering our prayers when Chance asked, "What if I do not hear God answer my prayer because I am deaf?"
This is a totally a logical question. At various times we have talked to Chance about how God usually uses quiet means to answer our prayers as opposed to flashy loud means. This apparently got Chance to wondering if he might miss an answer or two since he is deaf and may not hear the quiet answers.
We gently explained that number one, God knows Chance personally, and will not let a little old thing like his being deaf stand in the way of their communication with each other. Number two, we explained that the answers will come as impressions in the mind or stirrings in the heart many times. Things that being deaf will not hinder.
God has had such a hand in helping us to get Chance what he needs along this journey. We have truly experienced miracles along the way. We let Chance know that God is very aware of him and that he will get answers to his prayers and his being deaf will not hinder that in the least.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mom, what does hearing normal sound like?

I was in the van with Chance the other night and he was telling me what it was like to use implants to hear. "It is just like normal. Like you don't even have implants on." He explained to me. He had apparently given this process of hearing with an implant a lot of thought."At first they kept falling off, but now it is like they are not even on and I just hear without thinking about them."

Then he hit me with,"Mom, what does normal hearing sound like?"

"Well......" I began letting Chance's question sink in. How do you explain what it is like to hear when you have never even had to think about has always just happened for you?

I have actually given much thought to what it is like to have normal hearing since I have a son who is deaf and does not hear things the same way I do. I have come to really appreciate the ability to hear and the amazing power of our brains and the whole process of hearing.

I have not however experienced being deaf and not able to hear so I was sorting out in my mind how to explain to Chance what hearing was like for me.

"I don't really have to think about hearing too much either." I told Chance."My ears just hear things."

Then I thought of various things that affect my hearing. "Sometimes your ears can become clogged when you have normal hearing. Like if you go swimming, or if you have a cold. It it really annoying when that happens and it makes it so you cannot hear as well."

"Really?" Chance asked enthralled.

"Yes. My ears will clog up sometimes and it drives me crazy." I told Chance. Even though I could not see Chance in the dark of the van, I was picking up on his tone of voice and he was really amazed by this discovery of what can happen when you have normal hearing.

"WOW! I am really lucky!" Chance expressed with awe in his voice."That NEVER happens to me with implants!"

This conversation got me to thinking about what it was like to wear implants. You never get water in your ear when you swim that clogs up your hearing?? I had never thought of that aspect before.
I imagine that colds may have some effect on hearing with implants but I don't know. Do colds have an affect on implant hearing? Or does the implant just bypass the congestion of a cold?

Now I have more questions to add to the question I have had for years now,"What is it like to hear with an implant?"

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bobby pins and magnets

While sitting in church, I noticed some sort of a projectile leave our row and land a short distance away. I didn't see what the specific object was, and figured maybe I didn't want to know. Thankfully, no one else seemed to be disturbed by the UFO sailing off of our row, so the damage was minimal. Still, Chance looked perturbed and his brother was stifling laughter. A" mom needs to know what is going on moment", if ever there was one as the potential that we would soon be drawing attention to ourselves there on the pew was great.

It turns out, that the UFO was a bobby pin. A quiet item. This was good. Chance's brother had attached the bobby pin to the magnet on Chance's implant to see if it would stick to it. It did, and as everyone knows, this sort of thing is exactly what you should be focusing on during church anyway.

Chance did not appreciate a bobby pin sticking to his implant and had ripped it off and hucked it away from his personage.

Chance's brother was thrilled and amused to see that his little experiment with the bobby pin had worked. Chance was annoyed and unappreciative of the same experiment.

Thankfully, there were no more objects that would stick to a magnet, so the rest of the meeting went smoothly.

Bonding with Chance

I was laying down getting Chance's little brother to sleep, when Chance came in and lay down by me. He snuggled up to me, and I kissed his head. Across from the bed was a window where you could see the moon shining through the arch of the window. Chance pointed the moon out to me and together we lay enjoying the full moon shining through the window.

Chance did not have his implants in, but we didn't need words to communicate. We just enjoyed the quiet and hunkered down under the blanket.

It was a perfect night with Chance.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Macbeth at Kids to Work

Chance had the opportunity to go to work with his dad on "take your kids to work day." Chance loves to go to work with his dad, and who could have known that going to work on this particular day would have involved acting out part of the story of "Macbeth?"

It was kind of one of those unplanned impromptu things that you just go with when you get there. Chance even got a speaking part!(he is the one in the green striped shirt kind of bending over).

With about 200 kids showing up that morning, the day was set up with a common "show" then going to various rooms across the company's campus to be introduced to various potential careers in short breakout classes in smaller groups, many of which (ie Facilities Management) are related to the company, others (ie Reptiles or FBI) are with invited local experts.

So, back to the main story - the opening "show" is highlighting one career that most would not think accociated with his Dad's company, a technology company: Acting (for stuff like trade show clips, commercials, etc.) So one of the actor employees and his associate did a good fun session with the kids, helping them act out a condensed, more comical, form of Macbeth. Of course, when they asked for volunteers to participate, nearly every child's hand went up. They selected about 12 participants, after which everybody not chosen was bummed. After a few minutes, however, they mentioned the three witches in the story, and announced that they needed three participants that could give a good witch's scoul. Well, making faces is something that Chance does very well, and he was not disappointed. He was immediately selected for the part, which did require some reading and repeating of lines. Chance did very well, and beamed with delight in being able to participate.

Later in the day, Chance and his brother, sister, and Dad were waiting for the last, full-group, show to start (a phenomenal marrionette show by a former Hollywood puppeteer). While the kids were talking with other kids (not sitting right next to him), Chance's Dad overheard one dad in front of him respond to a question from another dad: "I think those help him hear." Chance's Dad realized that they were talking about Chance, and was able to confirm that yes, in fact, Chance was deaf and those funny looking things he wore helped him to hear. One of the dads was sceptical - he had seen - and even heard - Chance participating all day long and was amazed that he was deaf. "You wouldn't know that he was deaf from hearing him," The surprised dad replied.

Kind of wish I there to see Chance being a witch. I bet he did a great job with those facial expressions.

Don't laugh at me....

Have you ever seen the old Aunt Jamima commercials where good old Aunt Jamima has her head wrapped in a scarf or neckerchief? Or perhaps you've seen some motorcycle dude while driving down the road who has a neckerchief wrapped around his head? Or, even better to describe what happened at our house, have you ever seen pictures of say a Russian peasant woman who has a scarf wrapped around her head with just her face showing? Now picture Chance's face instead of the Russian peasant woman's.

The kids and I were all in the kitchen when we heard the roll of thunder telling us the forcasted storm had arrived. It was at this moment that the kids all remembered that they had set up a tarp in the backyard with blankets underneath that they needed to run out in the rain and save.

The kids all scattered to grab their shoes, and Chance ran to the back door saying,"Don't laugh at me. I have to cover my implants." And when I turned to look, there stood Chance with a red bandana wrapped around his face and tied under his chin.

To their credit, his siblings did not laugh at him, but instead they all ran outside together to save their tarp hideout.

Chance looks kind of cute as a Russian peasant woman I must say.

Memory lane........

The local chapter of the Alexander Graham Bell Association held it's annual speech fair and the deaf and hard of hearing kids were in good form.

Chance was slated to sing a song that he learned in chorus this year, and was scheduled to perform toward the end of the night.

As I sat there listening to kids ages 2 to teenagers performing, it was a little like a trip down memory lane. First there were the preschool kids who had just begun their journey to hear. They were so little and cute. Some of them could barely say their names right. That had been our little Chance. Out of all the sounds in the speech banana, the "ch" in his name proved to be a challenge for a while for Chance.

Then came the slightly older kids. They were not as nervous and some had no issue performing in front of the over 300 people who attended. Chance had not been nervous about performing when he was that age either.

Then there were the kindergarten kids. They looked confident and sang their hearts out. Chance received his first implant at the end of kindergarten. His confidence in his ability to hear soared after that.

When Chance's old class got up to perform, Chance literally sat at the edge of his seat. There were his peers that he had gone to school with for 5 years. For the first time, he was not performing with them. They all looked great.

When the teenagers got up to perform, and they talked about how they were on the honor roll at school, or running on the track team or how they loved to dance, (dance on a team requires music, which requires hearing), I thought about how Chance will be up there someday, fully capable to do what ever his passions dictate.

This speech fair was a great source of hope and determination in the beginning. We would see these kids perform and look at our little boy and think,"Hey! He is going to be able to do things that all kids do regardless of his deafness! Look at these kids! They are amazing!"

I remember almost dragging my parents over to talk to one of the teachers who was deaf, just so that they could talk to her and see how much Chance was still capable of, despite the diagnosis of deafness.

Our families were quite startled to find out Chance was deaf. It came out of the blue and no one knew what the possibilities were. That deaf teacher, and those deaf kids performing, showed just what the possibilities were. Chance WOULD be able to read poetry one day and dance to music. And say the 'Ch' in the beginning of his name.

I also realized how much I cared about several of the parents of those deaf kids. We have been through the process together. Shared the same concerns, had the same worries and experienced the same triumphs as our kids literally learned to hear. The parents of these kids are amazing. Their dedication and perseverance is inspiring. Some of the kids have had different challenges besides just the deafness and their parents have been there lighting the way for them.

AND THE KIDS! These kids are amazing! They are smart, they are determined and they are capable. It makes my hear swell to watch them.

These deaf kids and their parents will be interconnected with us forever.