Friday, July 30, 2010

I get by with a little help from my friends

Since Chance's new mapping a few weeks back, he seems to be missing more when we are talking. I notice it and his dad notices it. Chance is adamant that he hears just fine, it is just quiet sometimes or there is too much other noise in the room.


So today, I told Chance that I was going to ask his two best friends in the neighborhood if they thought Chance was hearing as well as he usually does. I saw the three boys outside riding their scooters and called Chance over.

"I am going to ask your friends if they think you are hearing as well as you usually do." I told him.

"Ok!" Chance said surprised but not bothered.

So I called his friends over to ask them and Chance stood by with a little smile on his face.

"Does Chance seem to hear you as well as he always has?" I asked his friends.

Chance looked from one friend to the other.

Once shook his head yes and the other one said,"Ya."

Chance's dad happened to walk out while we were having this little chit chat and said,"Does he ask what more often or seem not to hear you?"

"Only if I talk really quiet but that is the way it always is."

"Chance just got his implants programmed so we wanted to make sure they were working like they needed to," I said.

His friends nodded and then a smiling Chance sped down the driveway with his friends.

Score: Chance 1 Parents 0

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hah! A mamma's revenge

So Chance did that thing again where takes off the part of the implants attached to the magnet and just lets them hang there flopping on the sides of his face. This means he can not hear a stinking thing. He did not want to listen to what I was saying so he released his ability to hear.

This ability to quit hearing at will disturbs me a bit as a mother. Chance does not do it much, but the fact that the capabilities are there is, well....disturbing. And it is not something that I want to become a regular occurrence. What if Chance goes through an awkward teen stage of not thinking we're cool (like that could happen) and he doesn't want to listen to us so he just unattaches his implants on a regular basis?

Today I fought back. Chance unhooked his implants and they were there dangling by the side of his head as he looked down.(we want to make sure he could not read my lips either apparently).

So, I took the implants off of his head. How many moms can take their kids ears off? I wasn't angry, Chance is a good sport and laughs easily so I figured he would appreciate the joke yet get the point at the same time. This caused Chance to look up. Then I calmly just said," If you are not going to use them, then it is my turn." And I put them on my ears and walked off.

Chance was soon following behind me saying,"I want them back."

I just replied,"It is my turn to use them since you are not."

Chance was bemused by this and as he called for me to return his implants, a smile would creep onto his face though he tried to hide it sometimes.

I walked down the hall and into the bathroom with Chance following close behind me.
I only had the implants on for a few minutes. But I think those few minutes made Chance realize just how much he missed his implants when they were gone :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

40 minutes too late....

We just got back from a lovely trip to St. George where we mingled with family, spent a day on the lake and played games.

Chance got to reconnect with cousins and play all weekend long while eating donuts that his uncle brought from his donut shop. Seriously, is there any better vocation an uncle could have than having a donut shop?! Every family gathering that this uncle attends is sure to serve donuts much to the kids' delight.(and the adults too. His donuts are beyond your ordinary variety).

Since traveling to St. George requires packing up the car for a 4 to 4 and a half hour trip with 5 kids, we need to plan to make sure that we have all that we need.

We did our usual run through of grandma's house as we prepared to leave for home.

Swim suits? Check all packed and ready to go.

Tooth brushes? Check. Wait, hold on. We did pack only our tooth brushes right? Some poor cousin will not be toothbrushless tonight when they go to brush because we packed ours and theirs?
Suitcases, pillows, sleeping bags, flip flops, snacks and 5 kids...check.

40 minutes later while driving down the freeway........

"Did you guys remember to get my rechargable battery pack at grandma's?" Chance calls up from the back seat.

Silence. I looked at Chance's dad and he looked at me. Neither one of us took ownership for packing the rechargeable battery packs so that answered the question.

Apparently, no one packed the rechargeable battery packs. The reason Chance was asking was because one of his implants was about to die and needed new batteries.

How unfortunate that none of us thought of this 40 minutes before. Chance had just been complaining that one side of his headphones was not working. Well, at least that problem was solved since Chance would shortly be hearing out of only one ear:)

Thankfully, Chance's aunt who lives about 40 minutes from our house had not left St. George yet, so we made a quick phone call and asked her if she would mind bringing the battery pack with her when she comes home tomorrow. Oh, and not to be pushy or anything, but would she mind putting the battery pack in her car as soon as she got off the phone with us so that she didn't forget it? Luckily, Chance's aunt is really nice and so she agreed.

Chance and his battery pack should be reunited sometime tomorrow. Chance is a little dismayed at the wait, but we are lucky that his aunt is able to bring them to us so soon.

We all learned something from this. First, we need to remember to include the rechargeable battery pack in our list of things to remember on a trip. Two, sometimes using the rechargeable batteries is not all it is cracked up to be and using the disposable kind may well be our best option while on vacation.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

We've come a long way baby!

This week as we sat at the annual 4th of July parade in our area, I was taken by the thought of just how far we have come with Chance since he was first diagnosed as being deaf.

The 4th of July is a big deal in our hearts here at our house and in our area as well. There are big festivities that take place all through out the weeks leading up to the 4th, one of the biggest being the parade. People line up the streets for blocks and blocks. Typically you have to get there really early to get a spot to watch the parade as some people even camp out overnight to save a place.

After we found out that Chance was deaf, taking Chance to places like the parade where there are lots of people and the potential to get separated is greater than normal was quite scary. Chance could not hear real well in places with lots of people not to mention the fact that there were clowns, fireworks and various other activities to distract him. All it would take was for Chance to get interested in something and start walking toward what he saw and he would be lost. We could not call out to him in the crowd because he could not hear us. To make us even more nervous was the fact that we realized that Chance could not tell anyone who we are should he get lost. He could not tell anyone our names. In the beginning he could not tell anyone his own name. With all of this in mind, we were on high alert each time we went out in big groups with Chance. Many times, one of us would just track Chance while the other one worried about the other kids and getting us where we needed to go.

We considered not going to the parade and doing something else instead, but the boys really wanted to go so we came up with a plan of sorts. We wrote down our names, address and phone number on a piece of paper and stuck it in Chance's pocket. We made a big deal about that paper and told Chance that if he could not find us he should find a policeman and give him the paper. Luckily, there are many policemen hanging around the parade, so after we got a spot to sit for the parade, we took Chance for a walk and showed him where policemen were located as there were several on surrounding corners.

We also did not go really early to the parade. We did not want the pressure of tracking Chance for several hours before the parade actually started. Tracking him during the actual parade was going to be enough to keep us busy since he could not hear us and there were literally people 10 and 11 deep on the sidewalks all around us. Plus, one of Chance's hearing aids started having a problem so it was being repaired and we were down to one aid.

Thankfully, some nice people let us sit by them so that we got a spot to watch the parade.

The next year, Chance could hear a little better, but one of his hearing aids wasn't working right so we had to send it to NEW YORK to get it fixed. So again, we were down to one aid over the 4th of July. This time, we found a spot to sit later in the morning as well since we did not want to track Chance for longer than we had to. A lady let us move our blanket in by hers and it seemed all was well, but then during the parade, she wanted her grandkids to be able to lay down, and she got annoyed at us when all of them couldn't. We all scrunched together and tried to make her happy, but she could not be satisfied. She actually got quite mean when I tried to explain to her that Chance was deaf and could not hear and waved her hand at me in an annoyed gesture.

The other people around us seemed annoyed by this woman and her actions towards us and after the parade, several people told us it was a pleasure sitting by us and one family gave the kids some suckers.

Those years are well behind us now. Chance is perfectly capable of finding us or help should we get separated. Part of that come with age, but part of that simply comes because Chance can hear. He can hear!

Yes, we've come along way baby! And thankfully so!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

They burn the flag because it gets cold?

Chance's brother headed off to his first week of scout camp and lucky for us, it was close enough that on the last night, they had a family night. We were fed dinner and got to reunite with our happy yet dirty boys and see what they had been up to for the past week.

Chance will attend scout camp one day himself and he thought the whole camp was great. There was a pond, baby duckings, canoes, tents, firepits and lots and lots of trees.

After dinner, the scouts put on a program for us which included skits, an award ceremony and a touching patriotic segment. The "stage" was outdoors next to the lake with logs for sitting tiered up the hill. I chose a seat for us that was smack in the middle of the arena and close to the stage to give Chance the best odds of hearing what was happening. He laughed at the skits so he obviously got them. He even repeated several of them for his dad in incredible detail when we got home.

As part of the patriotic segment, they talked about how to properly retire a flag, A flag that had flown over an Air Force base was cermoniously disposed of while we all sat watching in silence and quotes were read about the significance of the flag and what it stands for. The arena was silent with a feeling of reference as the flag was tenderly laid to rest by some of the scouts.

Chance sat transfixed watching the ceremony and then he turned to me and whispered,"Why are they doing that to the flag?"

Since the arena was silent with reference, I didn't spend a lot of time explaining why the flag was being retired, I just whispered back,"Because the flag is old."

A look of confusion and concern spread across Chance's face as he leaned back over to me and said in surprise,"Because the flag is cold?!!!"

"OLD" I repeated looking straight at him so he could see my lips.

Chance nodded in that, "Oh, now I get it" way and then we sat in silence enjoying the rest of the ceremony together.