Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Chance's Christmas concert

Tis the holiday season when choir classes at schools across the nation, perform the songs they have been working on for months.

Chance has been going through finals, his singing performance being part of his choir final.  As a stroke of luck, Chance was actually positioned in a spot where we could see him unlike his last concert where he was totally hidden by bigger high school kids.  It is much easier for parents to photograph and video their children if they can see them.  Otherwise, things get awkward like the summer I photographed the wrong kid coming off the slide at swim class.  We parents were all lined up by the slides trying to time things just right so that when our child came around the corner on the slide and splashed into the water, we could permanently record the moment.  I snapped a photo of a child I didn't even know. Obviously, I was off that day.  But I digress...

At the concert however, we had a decent view of Chance and were able to record him singing the songs that we had been hearing bits and pieces of as he strolled through the house during the last few weeks.

Chance did great and I am once again grateful that my boys stuck it out in choir in the early days when all of their male friends switched out of class as soon as their mothers weren't looking.  My boys like to sing and on top of their school performance, they both sang in the church choir this year.

So, here is Chance performing one of the songs from his choir concert.  We missed the first verse on video, but this is "The 12 days AFTER Christmas" - To set the stage, here's the missed first verse: "The first day after Christmas, my true love and I had a fight.  And so I chopped the pear tree down, and burned it just for spite.  And with a single cartridge, I shot that blasted partridge, my true love, my true love, my true love gave to me."


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jingle Bells and other tales of the season

I was sitting in a chair reading when Chance came out, wiping sleep from his eyes and with out implants on.  His little sister ran up to him and grabbed onto his leg to greet him. She then handed him some Christmas stories that she had been looking at.  Chance pulled her down into a chair with him and began to read the stories to her.

After a few stories, Chance's sister turned to him and said,"You got to sit on Santa's lap yesterday like me!"
Chance did not respond.
His little sister then took Chance's face and turned it until he was facing her and again said,"You got to sit on Santa's lap yesterday like me!"
I heard Chance say, "Huh?"

I heard my daughter's little voice sigh in exasperation.  Chance was still looking at her trying to figure out what she was saying.

Chance is an excellent lip reader even when his implants are off.   His sister is just little enough though that she is still learning to enunciate her words and sometimes we have to have her repeat things so we know what she is saying.  Interestingly enough, apparently this transfers over into lip reading as well.  If someone does not pronunciate their words correctly, the shape of their mouth must make it more difficult to read their lips.

By now, Chance's little sister had positioned herself on his lap right in front of him so they were looking into each other's faces  I gently explained to her that Chance could not hear her because he did not have implants on yet.  Since Chance had started reading stories to her right away, I don't think it occurred to his sister that he could not hear her.

When I told Chance the same thing that his sister had been trying to tell him about Santa,  he read my lips and smiled at his sister and said,"Yep! I did see Santa!"

Then Chance suggested to his little sister that she drive little Matchbox cars on his back.  It is a wonderful sensation when someone does that, like a little rub down with pint size cars.  So right now, Chance is spread out on the floor and his little sister is driving miniature cars and trains up and down his back.  Chance looks quite content.  And he still can't hear any of us as his implants have yet to make their way to his ears this morning.




Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sheesh

Every once in a while Chance does this thing where he comes out without implants,  and then proceeds to call me.

"Mom?"

"What?"

"Mom?"

"What?"

"Mom?"

"W H A T?"  I answer looking around to figure out where he is and why he keeps calling me after I have answered him each time.

Chance will be there on a chair or standing in the kitchen, with out implants on totally and completely unable to hear my answer, calling me.

Really?

Dude!  If you want to ask me something, you have to do your part and make sure you can hear me! That is what I am thinking.

I will catch his eye by waving my hands furiously like I am landing a small plane or wad up a piece of paper and throw it at him.

When he looks at me, I tell him to put his implants on.

Sheesh.

Deaf teenagers:)

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Chance goes to spin class

Over Thanksgiving break when the boys were out of school, Chance and his brother came with me for the first time to spin class.

For those of you who have not experienced spin class before, you use a kind of stationary bike with a dial in front of you so that you can adjust the tension.  Turning the dial to the left, makes for easier peddling because there is less tension.  Turning the dial to the right, causes the pedaling to get harder and  the more you turn the dial to the right, the more it feels like you are climbing a giant hill.

Chance and his brother joined me during the wee morning hours before the sun was up to get an hour of exercise in for the day.

Spin class is held in a room full of bikes and after doing the warm up, most of the lights are turned out and you ride in the dark.  I don't know why.  So there all three of us were, exercising in the dark listening to our instructor give out instructions like, "Turn down the tension to level 4.....now, here comes a hill,  turn it up to level 9, here we go!"

Chance's brother being an avid biker, was in his element though it was a bit weird for him to be riding on a stationary bike.  I tried to help the boys during the class to know what was going on as the first time you go, it can be little confusing to know exactly where say level 9 is because there are no numbers on the dial.  It is very individual, you learn what a level 9 is for you and turn up the tension until it feels like you are climbing a steep hill, or what level feels like a flat level road to you.

When Chance and his brother were spinning their legs really fast while the rest of us were struggling up a hill, I told them to turn up the tension.

All during the class the instructor is calling out instructions and giving encouragement as you work to get stronger and better.

At one point, I looked over next to me and found Chance with his head practically on the handle bars and his legs barely able to push the pedals.   He looked exhausted.  I tried to get his attention and tell him to turn the tension down, and he did, but he was still struggling.  I told him to turn it down some more and then it occurred to me that Chance had not been hearing all of the instructions.  He had turned up the tension and then left it there, not hearing when the instructor told us to turn it down. We had been doing a pattern of turning the dial clear down to the left, riding as fast as we could, and then turning the dial up high like we were riding a hill.  We had done that at least 3 times except for Chance had not been hearing the change in instructions so he had kept the tension high the entire time.

I took note of the loud music, the dark room and realized that Chance probably could barely hear the instructor at all.

I felt so bad and told Chance to turn down the tension and get a drink.  He asked me if he could go to the bathroom and I told him that would probably be a good idea thinking it would give him a chance to bring down his heart rate.  When he got back, he looked much better.

I don't know that spin class was all that fun for Chance. He liked riding the bike and the music, but he wasn't able to hear the instructions.  We'll have to take him back and this time be more prepared.  Chance is more familiar with how the class works now, and his brother and I would make sure to tell him each time there was a change in how we were riding.   I want him to go and have a better experience the next time.  I am amazed at Chance and the way he just kept riding even though it was really hard for a loooong time for him.

Chance is a little trooper.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Politics is like the government and stuff

Chance has been working on an assignment in history class called "Adopt a grandparent."   The assignment included Chance doing interviews with his chosen grandparent.  Chance has chosen the best grandpa in our area to interview.  He and his wife are like the foundation of our neighborhood.  They plan neighborhood events and my children actually call them grandma and grandpa.

Chance has really gotten to know some things about his adopted grandpa through these interviews.

We were talking while in the car about various things the government is involved in.  I will just end it there.  Just let it be known that the conversation was full of opinions.

Chance chuckled, "Me and grandpa had the best time talking about politics during our last interview!"

Then he laughed.

Then he paused and said, Wait, politics is like the government and stuff right?"

When I assured him that politics was like the government and stuff, he went on.
"Ya, we talked about a lot of politics because we were talking about patriotism."

It is important that Chance know just what politics are.  He'll spend his whole life being affected by politics.  And talking about politicians. And having opinions about politics. And having that one person he knows who will insist on sharing their opposite opinion with Chance on a regular basis whether he wants them to or not.
Yes, he needs to be aware of just what politics are. I'm glad we clarified the definition.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spirit Week

This past week was spirit week at Chance's school.  That means the kids got to do various activities each day like crazy hair day, crazy leg day (I know, don't ask), and on the last day they put face paint on their faces and sprayed their hair the school colors for an assembly.

Chance went to school benign enough.  He had a few streaks of face paint on with a supply of more to add later before the assembly.

By the time I picked Chance up from school, almost his entire head of hair was sprayed in school colors.  I asked him if his friends helped him.  He said no, a teacher had helped him.  THE teacher that teaches drama and is amazing at costuming and make-up.  She helped to make sure that Chance's efforts at school spirit were not half- hearted.

Chance told me the story about how as his teacher was covering his hair with yellow color, she suddenly kind of shrieked and said, "AH!  CHANCE, I FORGOT ABOUT YOUR IMPLANTS! THEY HAVE SOME SPRAY ON THEM!"

Chance chuckled and said, "Thank goodness I had my soccer covers on my implants.  Those wash off a lot easier."

Later that night,  after I told Chance's dad the story, he replied, "Is that why I saw Chance washing his soccer covers in the sink today?"

Why yes, that is why you saw Chance washing his soccer covers at the sink honey.  They participated in spirit week by doning the appropriate colors:)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Shadow

Halloween night, we had a little party over here at our house for Chance, his brother and a few of their friends. We have a Japanese exchange student here for the week and a day after landing in the United States, he got to experience Halloween.  There is another family in the neighborhood who has an exchange student as well and he joined us at at the party.

Part of the festivities was a scavenger hunt that I arranged placing items at various houses throughout the neighborhood for the boys to find and bring home.  Then I handed them a map with the proper houses marked with an X.

Chance led one team and his brother the other.  The teams took off into the night and we passed out candy to pint size trick or treaters.  Chance's brother's team won.  They all came in panting and the Japanese exchange students crashed onto the floor leaning against the couch to rest. They had run at break neck speeds through the neighborhood while still adjusting to a different time zone.  They are awesome.  The boys had made good time dashing around the streets near our house to locate the items.

Now the boys had to carve or decorate a pumpkin using the items they collected on the scavenger hunt.  It didn't matter if they carved the pumpkin or just managed to stick stuff onto it, they just had to use all of the items.  I thought it would give the Japanese students an opportunity to decorate a pumpkin.  In the past our exchange students have been rather fascinated with carving pumpkins.  Chance and his team arrived not long after his brother's team.

When the boys sat down with their pumpkins to begin decorating them,  it soon became clear that Chance's team did not have all of the items.  When this was pointed out, Chance exclaimed in exasperation,"I didn't know we had to go to all of the houses!"

I told Chance that I had explained that when all of the boys were sitting in the living room before they left.
 Chance looked around a little confused and then said." I didn't hear that! I am deaf you know." Chance likes to know what the plan is, and he felt he didn't have that information in this case.  Chance also rarely brings up his deafness in contexts like this.  There was actually another deaf boy on Chance's team and he didn't realize that they were supposed to go to all of the house's either.

So I loaded up Chance and took him back to the two houses he missed to gather the items.

All the boys ended up carving the pumpkins and then incorporating the items into their design.  The Japanese students pulled the pumpkin guts out with their bare hands.  They worked together with a look of both unbelief and wonder as the seeds and stringy goo never seemed to end.

It is worth noting that this year Chance and his brother dressed up as Peter Pan and his Shadow.  Chance was the shadow.  They had a great time hamming this situation up at school as Chance would steal his brother's hat and his brother would chase after him.  Apparently, Peter Pan also tried to sew his shadow on a few times as well.  They kept the student body amused.

At one point during their dad's trick or treat parade at his work, Chance wrote up an imaginary declaration of independence and handed it to Peter Pan.  His brother refused to accept it and tore the imaginary document into shreds.


Our family always has a theme we dress up like for Halloween.  This year, Chance's youngest brother and sister held heavy sway over our theme.  They chose Peter Pan.  So, Chance was Peter Pan's Shadow, his brother was Peter Pan,  his sister was  pirate, his brother was Captain Hook and his littlest sister was Wendy.  She wanted to be little Wendy and me to be big Wendy.  So we were both Wendy with matching blue dresses and bows in our hair.  Chance's dad was Mr. Smee.  A pointed request from Chance's little sister...she wanted her dad to be Mr. Smee.  It worked out quite well and everyone looked great.  I think Chance's little sister pulled off being Wendy better than I did, but one really can't compete with someone who is that cute.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Chance, Chance, are you there?

Chance has been in a choir performance at school all week.  The choir sang for a performance of three classic musicals that the school put on.  Students acted out scenes from these musicals and Chance and his fellow choir students sang and enhanced the performances of,"Phantom of the Opera," Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde," and "Wicked."

I knew Chance was in the show, I saw him and his brother perform on Monday night with the entire family.  It took us a while to find Chance that night as he was hidden from view behind some taller high school students.  We didn't have a camera that night, but consoled ourselves with the thought that we would bring the camera to one of the other performances as the boys sang several times through out the week.

I attended again solo on Saturday night and was ready and waiting on the front row to capture marvelous photos of both Chance and his brother to permanently record this moment of their junior high and high school years.  I found Chance's brother, he was kind of hidden in a corner, but by zooming the camera in and stretching, I managed to get some pictures of him.  Then I waited after the intermission when Chance would be on stage to capture him on film.  I looked as the choir stood to sing and could not see him.  Then I searched the stage when the choir sat down but could not find my boy for the life of me.  I began to doubt Chance.  Chance had brought a good friend to the performance and I could not find him in the audience either.  I started to wonder if Chance had missed the curtain call because he was with his friend and had not been where he was supposed to be.  Then my mind wandered to how Chance's grade would be affected by missing his concert.  Choir only has one way to have a term final, and that is to sing.  I could not see Chance singing and envisioned him failing choir because he  missed a curtain call and then could not get out on the stage to sing his term final in choir. In a desperate thought, I wondered if I could get Chance's brother's attention and begin a signing dialogue that would have gone something like this:

'Where is your brother?"

Chance's brother would glance around the stage, and not seeing his brother either, would shrug his shoulders at me as he started to wonder as I did if Chance would now fail his choir class.

I restrained myself from using such communications and did not cause a scene.

At the very end of the show, when the actors and actresses came out to bow, I SAW CHANCE.

He was wedged behind some highs school students in the bass section and could only be seen when everyone on stage started to move around and shift their positions. In a desperate attempt to capture him on film, I was able to get one picture to prove he was there.  One.  Then the ranks closed in again and Chance once more became invisible.

So, here is Chance in his term choir concert.





I love the fact that Chance has learned songs from these musicals and has fallen in love with a few of them.  At least I can hear him sing around the house, since I could not hear or see him in concert at the school.

For the term final concert, I am sending Chance with a stool.  That way I may be able to see him perform.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chance doesn't believe he can't do it

They had a career day at school this past week.  In the morning the kids took tests, then in the afternoon, they got to talk to various people who were visiting the school talking about possible career options.
It was during this little career investigation that Chance came across a career that he was told he would not be able to do because he is deaf.

A marine came to one of Chance's classes and was telling the kids about being a marine. One of Chance's best friends from school raised his hand and asked if Chance would be able to join the marines with his implants.

The marine asked what kind of implants they were.  Chance's friend replied they helped Chance to hear. The marine then said that you could not be in the marines with poor hearing.

This did not set well with Chance.  I asked Chance if he had asked his friend to ask the question about the implants and he said no he didn't.

On the way home from school, Chance was telling me that, "these people don't know what they are talking about!  I can hear just fine!"

I think this may be the first time that Chance has been told that he can not do something because he is deaf. Obviously, Chance does not agree that this would hinder him in being a marine.

Most times if Chance was told that he could not do something because he was deaf, I would be right there with Chance telling him that he could do anything he wanted to do and he didn't need to worry about the opinion of others.

I understand though how being a marine and being deaf could be problematic. If Chance's implants come off in combat or for any other reason, he can not hear.  And sending in an interpreter with him into battle to sign for him all the commands that are issued is not really feasible.

Technology as it stands now for deaf and hard of hearing people would not do well in the marines where you are put in some of the most dangerous situations in the world.  When you can't hear or there is the possibility that your "ears" can fall off (or be blown off), this can cause problems for you and for the men and women who are serving with you.  Not because as a deaf person you are not capable. It is the nature of the communication between troops and the noise and chaos that ensues in some situations the marines are involved in.  You have to be able to communicate with your team.

So, for now with the present technology, I can see how being deaf in the marines would be a problem.  I don't rule out future technology and other possibilities though.  Chance does not feel he is held back at all by being deaf, so he'd be open to other possibilities.

Who knows, maybe in a few years, there will be a technology advancement that makes it possible for Chance to be a marine while being deaf.

I never rule out any possibilities with that kid.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Chance's implant goes SPLAT

I got a call from the school last week.  It was Chance's brother calling. He informed me that he, Chance and a teacher had just picked up the pieces of Chance's implant off of the gymnasium floor.

"Pieces?"  I asked.

"The hook part of the implant isn't there anymore and it is in pieces."

"How is Chance? Does he need me to bring his backup implant?"

"Chance, do you want mom to bring your back up implant?" My son called out to Chance who was standing nearby.

I heard Chance in the background say that he would be alright for the last two periods of the day.

"Chance just wanted you to know so that you could order another one right away." My son informed me.


Flash forward a few hours later.



Chance presents me with a baggie containing his implant.  In various pieces.

"WHAT HAPPENED?"  I asked since I could not fathom how the implant could have broken that way.

Chance then demonstrated what happened in P.E. class that day.  He and a friend were goofing off in the gym and Chance put his arm around his friends neck/shoulders.  His friend reached back behind his head to grab Chance and hit one of the implants with his arm, causing it to fly off and crash onto the gymnasium floor.  Where it kind of went splat.

Chance then went and got his brother in class so he could come help him recover the implant pieces.  When your brother is deaf and his hearing device splatters across the floor, it counts as a valid excuse to leave class.
Needless to say, that implant has retired and a new recruit is en route to our house through the mail as we speak.
Chance on his way back for his second implant surgery.
Who knew THAT could happen?(Chance 7 years ago)

Wow. Who knew THAT could happen?

This is why we have insurance on those babies.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Parent teacher conference

 This last week was parent teacher conference.  It was a crazy busy night with my husband and I making it  to the school by the skin of our teeth.  In fact, while we were waiting in line to see a teacher, we got a text telling us that the scouting activity that night of which my husband is a part, had been moved up....by an hour and a half.  So,  I finished visiting the last teachers solo.
It was a good night to be parent.  I got comments like:

"Oh, how I love having that boy in my class."

"He is so polite and always helpful."

"I think he is gifted."

"He is such a positive influence in class."

"He is getting 104% in class so far."

Yes, when I get down as a parent, I am going to go back over these comments made by Chance's teachers :)

I would say the school year is going well for Chance so far.  Physics is a class he has to focus in on for that intense science  terminology that comes up, but I talked to his teacher and she is willing to work with Chance and make sure he understands what is being asked on the test questions.  She also has a monthly spread sheet that lists what they are studying on each day.  How awesome is that?  Now we can know at home what is coming up and prepare him with vocabulary if needs be. His teacher said she would email me the calendar each month.

I was very excited to hear his speech teacher say she thinks he is gifted.  Speech.....as in getting up and talking in front of people.  I always hoped that Chance would acquire this skill and be comfortable talking in front of people despite the fact that he is deaf.  He has to give impromptu speeches in the class and think up things on the fly.  His teacher says he is doing really well and does not seem nervous at all.  She told me he gave a speech last week about animal cruelty and used the fact that he has animals and that they need to be treated with love and kindness.

Wow. We could not be happier with Chance's progress.  Go Chance!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

To use or not to use that phrase

Chance is a little bit late with the meaning of some words.  For years this worked in our favor on the playground because Chance didn't pick up on all of those naughty little potty words that kids say.  We knew his hearing was really picking up when he started coming home with words that other kids had known for years, and his deafness had protected him against.

Jokes about farts?  Chance didn't pick up on those for a looooooong time.

The various terms that float through childhood when referring to a certain male anatomical part? Chance had no idea.

Chance has been introduced to many of the words that all the other kids know by now.  But every once in a while, he will use a word, that we would really rather he not, and upon investigation we discover that it is a bit like that line in the movie, "A Princess Bride," when someone says," I do not think that word means what you think it means."

So it was when Chance walked into the living room and said to his sister, "screw you."

I was sitting in the same room so I knew there had been no altercation or escalation that had led to an incident where one might say that phrase to someone.

I asked Chance, "What did you say?"  He repeated it back to me with a question...."screw you?"

I asked him what he thought that word meant.

"Dang it or something like that." Chance replied.

Not quite the meaning of that phrase.   I was glad that Chance was off on his definition and had not intentionally been using such a phrase on his sister.....or anyone else for that matter.

I told Chance that "dang it" was not what that phrase meant and that it was a phrase we don't want to use.

Flash forward to the next day when I am picking up the boys from school.  Chance got into the car and cheerfully said,"Mom, I came up with another word to use instead of screw you."

"What's that?"  I asked.

"Curse you."  Chance replied happily.

Well, not as bad as the first phrase but not a perfect substitute either.

The saga will continue over at our house while Chance tries to find the right phrase for the meaning he is trying to convey.


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Chance starts 8th grade

Chance started school this past week.  He has a full schedule.  He is taking physics, P.E., choir, a computer class, speech, history and English and he is taking 9th grade math honors. Since his math class is a high school math class it actually counts on his high school transcript. At this rate, Chance will graduate high school having taken calculus. Chance has one of those engineering type brains.

He also practices soccer every Monday and Thursday after school plus weekly games.

And he helps to plan activities and lead his youth group at church.

Oh, and his mowing business is still going strong as people still need him to take care of their yards.

Chance is a busy boy.

He also manages to make movies with his friends in between everything else that he does.

This past week Chance got a nice surprise.  Two of his friends who spent years with him attending the School for the Deaf toured his school to see if they wanted to attend.

Chance attends a charter school and there is a waiting list to get in.  Apparently, his friends names came up. Chance didn't even know they were on the waiting list.

Chance is so excited about the prospect of having some of his deaf friends attend his school.  These boys have been friends with Chance since he was 3 or 4 and the opportunity to be in the same school again would be great. All of them wear cochlear implants and have been attending neighborhood or charter schools for years now.

Both boys are a year behind Chance in school, but they would all be in junior high which means they would see each other all the time, and possibly have some classes together. Then there is lunch.  They would all have the same lunch time.

Update:  Chance's two friends are not going to attend his school this year but are looking to attend next year. Sigh, Chance is bummed but many of his friends from last year are still at the school so he still has an active social life :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chance flips the phone

It was bedtime and the house was finally settling down for the night.

Most of the kids were in bed, and Chance had just put his implants away and was walking down the hall to his bedroom.

Chance's dad and I had a movie cued up and were just getting ready to settle in for some relaxation when we heard it.

A phone, somewhere in the house had suddenly gone off the hook.

We have five headsets and they are flat like remotes so they easily slide under things or inbetween coushions and get misplaced.

We set out to find the offending phone wondering all the while why in the world a phone was suddenly going off in our moment of peace and quiet.

Thankfully it was quiet or we might never have found the phone.

Chance's dad and I searched our chairs, standing up and doing that little swivel dance you do when you are looking for an item that could possibly be laying where you were just sitting.

No, it was not in the nooks and crannies of our chairs, it was down the hall somewhere.

Why?  Did one of our children suddenly get the urge to call someone at 11:00?

Chance's dad wandered around and found the phone laying on the floor in the middle of the hall.  Isn't that where everyone keeps their phone?

Chance had passed the phone, flipped it on by bumping it, and then continued on his way in his quiet, restful, minus implants world.

Obviously, Chance gets to dictate when his quiet time begins at night.  That is quite a skill.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chance's Superpower

Chance's deafness has proven to be a major benefit to his older brother this summer. No, Chance doesn't get special privileges at the water park or get free stuff at the amusement park.

What Chance brings to the table is much more valuable than that........Chance can read girls' lips. When they are out of the range of hearing for mere mortal boys, Chance has the ability to discern what passes between a girl and her friend if he can see their mouths.

It's almost like having a super power.

Chance and his brother saw a girl that his brother knows while coming out of the temple.  She was going in as they were coming out. They exchanged greetings and Chance turned to look back as the girls went in and although she whispered it to her friend, Chance saw her say, "I like him."

Chance then turned to his brother and told him,"She told her friend that she likes you." Chance's brother thinks she is pretty attractive so this was welcome news.




So now we know what Chance's super power is. And his older brother has been made aware of a girl that likes him.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Chance goes to scout camp

Chance left for a week long scout camp today.  Scout camp is a great place for boys to spend time in nature, earn some merit badges and take a break from regular dental care.

I am so happy for him and know that he will create some great memories with friends like in years past.  Who knows what may happen this year.  Will Chance be outed again around the campfire and have the girl he has a crush on announced to all of the other boys by a friend?  Will Chance stay upright and avoid passing out like last year? Who knows what can happen......a week sleeping in tents in the wild can create all kinds of unique opportunities.

I will miss Chance while he is gone.  He is a bright spot in our home.  But I love the scouting program and am glad that my boys get to participate in such an active troop.  The leaders are amazing and are so dedicated.

I secretly packed a package of Oreos that Chance should find part way through the week as he digs deeper into his duffle back to retrieve such necessities as bug spray, mess kits and hopefully a toothbrush.  (The boys have told me how some scouts ease up on their brushing hygiene at scout camp).

Chance even packed dental floss.  All by himself.  I am not under the delusion that the floss will be used every night, but I think brushing is a truly humane thing to do when you are sharing close quarters with a bunch of other people.  I don't even want to know what morning breath is like when you haven't brushed for 4 days.  Ick!

Chance has worked hard mowing and trimming lawns to pay for camp these last several weeks.  He even has some spending money for the camp store.

When I was sneaking in the Oreos, I noticed that Chance packed a roll of toilet paper, paper and pencils to write with and the old towel I told him to take.  Last time he took one of my good WHITE towels.  I don't think it will ever recover.

Chance is in his back-up implants.  They are the Freedom version.  He put them on last night to make sure they were working well and had charged batteries for today.  Chance noticed a difference between the way he hears in his old implants verses his new ones.  He likes the new ones more. So do we.  That is why he is out in the wilds in his old ones:)

A week later........

Chance had a great time at scout camp.  We went up on the last night for the parents' night program.  Chance brushed 3 times (4 once we got there and I asked about it).  That number is really good considering that I took an informal poll at camp and found that many of the boys had brushed once...or not at all.
Chance is one step ahead of the game.

Chance shot arrows, and participated in the adult iron man relay.  He swam against leaders and staff and did really well.  I wonder how many of the leaders have been swimming every day for an hour and a half all summer.

Chance also drank lots and lots of huckleberry pop from the store at camp.  It is good but VERY sweet.  It is a good thing he brushed more than the average camper.

Chance did not pass out at camp this year.   But he did get dehydrated.  He lay down for a few hours in the tent after drinking water.  His dad went up to be a leader for a few days and said Chance did not feel well and just did not look right the afternoon he slept. We have to convince that boy to drink more water when he is out in the wilds.



Some of Chance's fellow scouters lamented that they wished they had the ability to go into the tent and not hear anything.  Ah, a bonus of being deaf.

Chance also did his wilderness overnight camp.  Chance went up to a clearing, made a shelter from objects he found there, and then spent the night.  I was wondering exactly how long it would take Chance to wake up in the morning and return back to camp since he would not hear the noises of morning. He also would not hear the things that go bump in the night up in the woods.  Not hearing may have made sleeping in the wilderness in your handmade shelter a little easier.  Just a blissful sleep full of woodland smells minus the animal noises and snapping twigs that go bump in the night.  According to his scout leader, he came back about the same time as the other wilderness campers too.
That is good.  I imagined Chance tired from his week of outdoor living sleeping in until the sun shone in his eyes or the morning was steadily heading to afternoon.

Chance came home tired, and full of stories to tell.  He fell asleep the day he got home in his dad's chair just before his brother and some friends headed out to watch a backyard movie when it got good and dark.  Chance missed the movie. He was kind of upset at me for not waking him up so he could participate in the festivities, but sometimes it is best for 13 boys who just returned from a week of scout camp to go to bed early and get some sleep.

Even if they want to party on.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Trouble on the high seas

The Fleet of Red Canoes by Bill Gracey
Chance and his brother have a job this summer mowing, trimming and helping with whatever yard work is needed with people in the neighborhood who have signed up for their services.

One generous soul told the boys that they could take his canoe out sometime if they wanted.  Today they took him up on his offer.

We bungie tied the canoe to the top of the van and off we went to a little body of water a few miles from our house.

Chance, his brother and two of their friends were quite excited to give the canoe a try.  They had some fishing gear, and I watched them set off into the water and told them I would be back in an hour and a half to pick them up.  There were sun bathers and swimmers in a roped off area off shore so the boys joined a throng of locals to partake of the water on a hot summer day.  The boys had all been canoeing at scout camp  so this was another opportunity to apply their canoeing  merit badge.  And I made sure they all had life jackets whether they were my son or not.

When I came back to pick the boys up, they were still out on the lake...trying to catch fish with their hands.  Chance hid his implants by the pavillion behind a rock so that he could hear as long as possible, but still leave  his implants on shore.  It is a toss in situations like this.  I want Chance to be able to hear what is going on with the other boys, but canoes full of teen age boys have been known to topple over and dispense of their occupants in one fell swoop.

The thought of two new implant sinking into the murky water and then netling into the mud on the bottom of the lake makes my stomach start to churn.

So, Chance of his own accord, decided to leave his implants on the shore.  We didn't even talk about it,  he just took care of things on his own.

I am always amazed how Chance and his good friends manage the communication gap when they are involved in activities like this that require Chance to take off his implants.  The funny thing is, Chance will still ask his friends questions when he is not looking at them sometimes.  His friends will respond, but Chance has no idea.  He can't hear or see them.  Most of the time, Chance just stares at their lips and uses his miraculous lip reading skills that he has honed.

When I came to pick up the boys and we were loading everything up, Chance told me that his brother had been kind of cranky  to him.  Then, in a totally seperate moment, Chance's brother told me that Chance had been kind of cranky to him the whole time.

In discussing the crankiness together in the car,  I helped the boys realize that both of them had things to learn from this moment.

First, Chance talks a LOT louder when his implants are not on.  Chance's brother knows this, but Chance is not usually with out implants for 2 hours at a stretch.  So Chance and I helped remind his brother that Chance is not angry and annoyed when he is talking that loud with out implants.  He simply does not know that he is as loud as he is.

Second, Chance's brother, who is usually fabulous about making sure that Chance understands what is going on when he can't hear, thought Chance knew the detailed plan they had hatched to catch a fish.  Chance, did not catch the detailed plan and started doing his own plan. With his super duper vocal abilities that come out when Chance can not hear how loud he is, Chance started telling the other boys HIS plan to catch the fish.  It was a miscommunication with an added measure of deafness to boot.

Not earth shattering stuff really.  Just a reminder that both of them can be a little more patient with the other and take into account the situation.
The boys are great buddies really.  That is why they were out on the lake together.  They enjoy being with each other most of the time.

Chance is a little do it yourselfer and when those implants are not on, it is hard to know what exactly Chance has decided to do on his own at times.  When I thought we had everything loaded into the van and were ready to head home, Chance started walking briskly down the path with his back to me going in the opposite direction of the pavilion where his stuff was hidden.  I watched him walk with purpose toward the other side of the lake and then asked his friend,"Where is Chance going?"
"Some of his stuff is over there."  His friend replied.

The next thing I knew, Chance was in the lake about waist deep.
"Why is Chance in the lake?" I asked out loud.

His brother replied, "Oh, there is a fish over there he was trying to catch."

Sure enough, Chance brought a fish to proudly show us all that he had caught it with his bare hands. He also showed us how the fish was missing an eye.

After Chance gathered his stuff and had his implants on, it was much easier to know what he was up to because we could just ask him:)

The boys had a great time and made sure that the time spent on seats in the boat was bout even.  There were two seats, so the boys took turns sitting on the seats and then just sitting on the bottom of the boat.

The boys have now decided that we should own a canoe.  I have to say that I agree.  That could be a lot of fun.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sometimes being deaf doesn't matter, it is simply a matter of luck

Ahhhhh, the great outdoors!  Add in a few cousins, sprinkle in some aunts and uncles plus siblings and who could ask for anything more?
Chance chill'in and playing pool with cousins.

We spent a few days at a cabin in the mountains where Chance and his cousins slept out on the wrap around  porch.  So many cousins, and so little sleep.

On the second night, I slept in the loft with Chance's younger brother. A sky light was about 3 feet above my head, so when the hail started, I was clued in quite quickly that the clouds were releasing the small balls of ice.

Did I mention that Chance and his cousins were sleeping on the porch?  Chance doesn't hear hail hitting wood planks.  Even if he is laying on the wood planks.

I found Chance crashed on the rocker/recliner the next morning when I went down for breakfast. I figured he must be soaked to the bone.  His brother would have at least had a warning that something was amiss when he heard the hail start to fall.  Chance may have clued in when small pellets of ice started to smack him in the face.

As it turns out,  the cousin sleeping right next to Chance had to leave in the wee hours of the morning with his family. Chance had moved into the cabin when he'd felt his cousin dragging his sleeping bag into the house so he could fold it up and leave for home. It helped that Chance was cold and so he was not in as deep a sleep as he might have been otherwise.

Chance was saved from the hailstorm by a stroke of luck.

Chance's hearing brother however, was so tired from lack of sleep that he got quite saturated with moisture  before he realized that mother nature had unleashed herself onto his sleeping bag.

The moral of this story is, sometimes it does not matter if you can hear or not.  Some things just come down to luck.

        Two highly attractive boys on the wrap around porch. Before the hailstorm got everything all wet.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Piano lessons...the eternal argument between parent and child

(This post actually took place during the first part of the month of May).

Since the dawn of creation I imagine kids have been arguing with their parents about why they have to take piano lessons.

There are kids who actually like piano and motivate themselves to attend lessons of their own free will.  I have one of those  kids which helps to offset the one who doesn't always like to go.

Notice the girl playing too....junior high is a coed team.
While not revealing his identity, I will just say that my child who balked at going to piano today used the argument of "Well, maybe I shouldn't have implants then!"

That is right.  I am willing to bet that I am one of the only parents who have gotten that particular argument against going to piano.

This is how it went down:

I told Chance that since he didn't have a soccer game today that he needed to go to piano lessons. Since soccer season has started, Chance has taken a brief hiatus from piano since he now has a game every Tuesday during his regular piano lesson time.

Chance was taken aback by this request as he was thinking he did not have piano this week.  I told him that he could get a new song to practice  and then he could resume lessons at the end of May when school soccer was over.

Chance apparently had other ideas of how his afternoon would go.

"I don't have to go. I'm old enough to decide."  He informed me

I then explained to him that piano lessons actually helped him learn to hear and understand music better with his implants.

"Well, I don't have to go just because I have implants!" Chance informed me.

When I explained again that yes, he really did need to go to piano and it would help him with music and his implants, he let loose the big guns.

"Well, maybe I shouldn't even have implants then!"

I had to control myself so that I did not snicker.

"Alright, I'll just take the implants and you can go with out them."  I said mischievously.

Chance instinctively put his hands up to his implants,"NO!"

Chance went to piano.  With his implants.

The argument did stretch my parenting skills dealing with excuses kids use when they don't want to do something.

I'll have numerous other opportunities to learn about excuses as my other kids won't be able to use this particular one and will come up with their own excuses as to why they can't go to piano.



Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chance goes pro

Soccer is over for the year.  Sigh.  Poor Chance.

That was how his summer was panning out.  Then I went onto the website to resign Chance up for the county fall and spring league so he would be ready come fall.

While on the website, I noticed a call out for anyone interested in joining the competitive leagues.  The spots had actually been filled for the next session, but they were compiling a list of anyone who would be interested in trying out should slots become available.

Chance wasn't even home at the time, but I knew that he would be interested in at least giving it a shot if an opening became available.  Then I didn't even sign him up for the non competitive league.  I figured that he would have school soccer and we would look into a county league a little later when the time was closer.

A few weeks went by and I didn't even think about it until a coach from a neighboring city called and said he was looking for 3 players to join his team.  He would be having tryouts the next night and invited Chance to come.

We showed up at the park and met with the coach and Chance lined up with 3 other boys who were trying out for the team as well.

The coach had set out drills for the boys to do so he could assess their skill level.

I sat under a shade tree watching a huge bank of trees at the edge of the soccer filed sway back and forth in the building wind.  The coach was talking to the boys and giving them instructions while standing a good distance away from them. Then the coach asked Chance to lead out and go first.

I looked at the swaying trees,  then back at Chance.  I then started praying that Chance would be able to hear what the coach was saying through  the trees blowing in the wind and the distance between him and the coach.

I kind of held my breath as Chance started that first task.  Did he catch what he was supposed to do?  Chance got a running start and dribbled the ball down the field before kicking it into the goal net.

Due to the pattern set during the first drill, Chance was first every time they did a new skill.  That meant he didn't have the luxury of watching the other boys go first to see exactly what was expected if he didn't hear all of the instructions.

We left the practice not knowing if Chance had made the team or not.

Then the coach called and said he wanted Chance on the team.  Chance was so excited.  We worked out practice times, got details on cost and pending tournaments and thought we had it down.

Then  the coach called back and said Chance was too old for the team.  He said he was sad about that because Chance was a good player, but the rules of the league said that Chance couldn't play because he had just turned 13 in May.  The coach said he had passed Chance's name on to another coach who may need another player and wished us the best.

I was not excited to tell Chance about this new development.

Then another coach called that same day from our city and said his team was looking for a player and could we bring Chance over so he could take a look at him.

It was a last minute deal and the family had just finished dinner when I told Chance that another coach wanted to see him.

Chance heads downfield, anticipating the pass
When Chance and his dad got back from the "tryout", Chance was pretty excited.  Chance's dad was cautious.  The coach had liked Chance, but as luck would have it, a boy that his team had been trying to recruit for a long time called and said he was ready to play for the team.

The coach had explained how even if Chance did not make the team this year, he encouraged him to try out again next year as things could change and another spot may become available.  Though we didn't share our thoughts with Chance, his dad and I figured the odds were with the other boy.

Then we got the call.  The coach said that he thought Chance would make a good addition to their team, that he was teachable and had some raw talent.  He wanted Chance on the team.

I got off the phone and told Chance's brother to go downstairs and tell him that he had made the team.  I heard Chance's scream upstairs.  I met him as he came up the stairs and he said," This is what happens when you say 5 prayers in one night!"

Chance had wanted to be on the team, but he had not expressed how much until the got the spot.

So, Chance is now an official member of the Strikers team.  His uniform is on order, and Chance says that his coach, who he really took to at their first meeting, looks just like you would imagine a good soccer player would look.

Let the games begin!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Chance is the man of the house

Chance got to practice his..........well, his.........his lashing of a window onto the house with a tarp and paracord skills.  That is a scout merit badge right?  If it isn't yet, it should be.
We are hoping that the window stays put through the next two nights.  That is when Chance's dad will be back from a scout campout.

What are the odds that a window would fall out while he is gone?

I told Chance that he was the man of the house since his dad and brother were gone.  I did not intend for him  to prove his capacity to fulfill the role.

Chance carefully helped me wrap the window in a tarp and then firmly wrapped  paracord around the window and attached it to our deck.  If this is not the way to hold out the elements when a window breaks, don't tell us.  We are on a learning curve here, having never done this before in our lives.

A glance outside one of the windows that was still intact, showed the trees  swaying gracefully in the wind. The sound of the wind penetrated the windows and called out that a storm was  brewing.

A storm.


Could it get any better than that?

Oh, and Chance went out and staked down the trampoline so that it was not picked up by the wind and hurled into the house......where there is the potential for another window to be broken.

When we decide to make a man out of the boys at our house, we don't mess around.  We just throw them right into the fray.  It is a sink or swim kind of thing.

Of course, Chance sort of brought this on his self.  He locked the back door so that his sister could not get into the house.  Chance has some sort of alibi about why he is innocent. Whatever.

Chance's sister then attempted to climb into the window to the side of the back door.  The window we told the kids was not stable and they should not  open it.  That window.  As she slid the window up,  it just jumped the track and the bottom half fell onto the floor.

It did not break, the frame was just bent up.  While looking at the window laying bruised and dented on the  kitchen table, I knew with a surety that this window will never adorn our wall again.  We shoved it into place as best we could and lashed it into place for the time being.

It is a good thing that Chance has skills from scouts.  His knots are holding part of our house together right now.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Chance moves into the fast lane

Last week marked the beginning of swim team for Chance and his siblings.  This means a summer full of waking up early and being in the pool by 6:45.   Swimming laps and laps and laps and then a few more laps.

The kids are divided by ability groups, and if they need to move up to be pushed, sometimes they are put in an older age group.

Chance began the season in the slower lanes.  After the first two days of swimming, Chance's brother announced that the work out they were doing this year was intense.

Chance replied,"No it's not!"

Within the next few days, Chance's brother informed their swim coach that Chance was saying that their morning workouts were easy.  Apparently, the coach said, "WHAT?"

Chance has now been moved into the fast lanes and is swimming with boys from 15 to 18.  He seems to be holding his own.  All of those days of playing two hours of soccer helped with conditioning I am sure.

You've got to love older brothers:)
2009

2009

2007

2003 Chance DID NOT  want to be in lessons

2003 This teacher was so good and sweet with Chance.  Even when  he made it clear that he  did not want to there.
 When we started this swimming adventure, Chance was not amused.  For the first two years of his life, we did the mom and tot class together. That was all fine and good.  We both had a great time.
At age 3, right after being diagnosed as being severley to profoundly deaf, Chance went into class with out me.  Preschool classes did not allow mothers.
I figured that out of all of my children, the one that could not hear me around water was the one that needed swim lessons the most.
Chance fought me.  He cried.  He reached his little hands out to me with  a heartbreaking expression of  anguish.
It was hard for me.  I sat at the edge of the pool gesturing to him and smiling encouragement.
I talked to the teachers and the actual teachers in the pool were not phased by the fact that Chance was deaf.  They took it in stride and almost all  of them learned to love the little swimmer that could not hear them.  They gestured and they amplified their movements so Chance could follow.
Chance needed to learn to swim.  It was imperative to his safety and well being.

Now Chance is swimming with the big boys. How is that for coming full circle.


Sunday, June 02, 2013

Blast from the past

I am a notebook person.  During the first years of Chance's diagnoses, I took notes on everything from what the different people working with Chance suggested we do at home, to things I learned while attending meetings and conferences on deafness.

I found one of these notebooks this week where I had written words and phrases that Chance was able to say at the time.

I am guessing he is about 4 or 5 at this time.  Some of the phrases are not grammatically correct, but we were just delighted that he was gaining the ability to express himself, and it was hard work!

These words and phrases brought back many memories and I cherish the hard working little Chance who preservered and aquired the language skills he needed after not hearing for two whole years.

Some of my favorites:

Me shower.  ( I want to shower)

Clean up or come clean up

Come see.

Shhhhhhh!

Me play?  Me play Cade?

Me go daddy. ( I want to go with daddy)

Mommie owie. (mommie has an owie)

Me want no.  ( I don't want some)

Me see.  ( I want to see)

Me school no.  (I don't want to go to school)

Me swing.

Uh oh.

It

Baby no, ( advising his little sister not to do something)

Go way.  (Go away)

It broken.

And one of my ultimate favorites " I want blue, red, yellow, blue, red" etc. when there were M&M's around.  He wanted to make sure we gave him enough and that he got every color.  Then he would patiently sit and divide his M&M's into piles by color.  Count each pile, and then eat them.

Oh, and "Oh man!"  It was adorable when used this expression and we loved it when situations arose when he felt the need to say it. (his preschool teacher taught it to his class)
Chance using the art of unspoken communication

I can hear his little voice now working hard to express his wants and needs.  The pronunciation was not  always perfect,  and sometimes only his momma could fully understand what he was saying, but oh how that boy worked hard!

It warms my heart just thinking about my little Chance.

And all those years of his tenacious trying and never giving up have paid off!  He can totally tell us now when he wants to shower, we just have to remind him when it is time to get out now.

He can also tell us that he doesn't want to do something with a WHOLE  bunch of words telling us why he doesn't want to.

Oh and he can tell us he wants go to out and play with his friends who show up at our door with air soft guns and lawn mowers.  Chance has a little lawn mowing business going on with his friends but that is for another post.

Yes, Chance can express himself and his emotions just fine now.



Chance with his brother practicing non-verbal communication




Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The vacuum

While I was in college and just newly married, I worked with a woman who talked about how she had such a busy schedule, that she had to vacuum the house at 5:00 a.m. sometimes.

We're not talking about vacuuming the main areas of the house either away from family bedrooms.  She would vacuum her children's bedrooms before the rising of the sun while they were still sleeping.  She said that she had trained her children from a young age to just sleep through it.

Since I was in college, and could still recall my teen-age years quite vividly, I remember thinking I would have hated my mother vacuuming my bedroom at 5:00 a.m.  My mother actually hadn't vacuumed my room for years by the time I was  teenager, leaving that little task to me, but the thought of someone entering my bedroom at 5:00 a.m. with a roaring hungry vacuum sounded quite unpleasant.

I thought of this woman and her vacuuming habits as I entered Chance's room while he lay asleep this morning.  His little sister had just dumped a bag of sour candy upside down next to the bed releasing  a cascade of sugary powder onto the floor.

Chance slept blissfully on unaware that his sister, his brother and me were busy encircling the bed and sucking up the mess.

The difference though between me and my old co-worker, was that I would have welcomed Chance getting up to the sound of the vacuum.  The morning was getting on and it was time to get ready for church.

Waking Chance when he is fast asleep is a little like waking the dead, and on this particular morning, he was really tired.  He had played in soccer games, run a 6K at the school and stayed out late playing night games with friends over the weekend.

The vacuum did not wake Chance up obviously, so his brother and sister and me had to get out the big guns.......our squeaky swords, a cap pistol(not loaded) and a  little squirt bottle. Between the three of us, we  eventually got Chance  awake and ready to face the world.

It was not just Chance that needed the big guns this morning either.  His brother needed the same treatment to get him moving and he can hear just fine when we call him. Perhaps we should have tried the vacuum with him first:)

Monday, May 20, 2013

A teenager is born

I don't know how it happened, but CHANCE IS A TEENAGER!!

Yesterday he was shoving his hearing aids behind the couch and refusing to wear them as his startled grandparents watched, and today he was trouble shooting implant batteries that had not fully charged overnight with his dad.

A teenager.  Chance has crossed the line into........well into teenager hood. I didn't notice any sudden changes, but I am keeping my eyes open.

As a tribute to Chance's birthday, I would like to reflect on some of my favorite memories through the years.

One hot summer day when Chance and his brother were in the midst of some deep creative play, I realized with a panic, that Chance was supposed to be at the doctors office for his kindergarten shots. I literally just gathered kids from their various places of play and loaded them into the car.

It was at the doctors office as I panted from the sprint of arriving on time, that I fully realized that Chance was in his cowboy gear.  Including a holster with a cap gun inside.  At about the same moment I realized this, the nurse came to call us back.   At this point in Chance's life cycle, his language skills were still behind and I could not explain things in much detail in many cases.  Although Chance didn't fully understand what was going to happen, he must have had some sort of a premonition.  He started telling me "no" and as the two nurses talked to him as he lay on the exam table, he told them no too.

Then he pulled out the big guns.  Literally.  With a shaky hand and a dead serious expression, Chance pulled his cap gun out of its holster and pointed it at the nurses.  He meant no, and if he needed to use force, he was ready.

Thankfully, the nurses all thought it was adorable. They held straight faces through out the ordeal, but I heard them in the nurses station laughing and telling the other nurses how adorable the boy in room two was.

Then there was the time Chance had done something for which he knew he would get into trouble.  This was pre-cochlear implant days at our house and Chance could not hear us if we called him down the hall, so I was on my way to get him when I was met with this:

Chance was running up the hall smiling and  flashing "I love you" with both hands.  I have to admit that it worked a little.  Whatever he was about to get into trouble for, was diffused with those gestures of affection.

For years Chance attended school with the same group of deaf kids and they all became really close.  They went to school together,  ate lunch together , played at recess together and then wanted to play at each others houses after school.  They were like family.  One day at school,  one of the kids wanted to tell the other kids that they had bought new underwear.  Not having the language to fully be understood by their hard of hearing friends, they decided they should just show the others how wondrous their new underwear really was.  This led to Chance wanting to show off his way cool underwear as well.  At about this point, the teacher came out and it just didn't look good.  I'm not sure how many of the kids were flashing at this point, but the teacher thought she should tell her supervisor.  Thankfully, the supervisor was able to see the situation for what it was and with encouragement from the School for the Deaf and the parents, we prevented a mass flash of undies again.
Kids who have seen Chance's underwear. Chance is on the far right.
From the beginning, Chance has had a soft heart and one of his teachers told me of a touching incident that happened on the bus.  Chance attended school with a little girl who was in a wheelchair with a breathing tube.  Because of this,  she was not able to run outside and play at recess like the other kids.  Chance's teacher told me that Chance noticed this and started holding back sometimes and would play with her inside doing puzzles or other things she could do.   He would also try to make sure that she was included in activities the kids were doing.

One day on the bus as Chance passed by this little girl, she was overcome with emotion and grabbed him and planted a kiss on him while giggling.  Chance was taken by surprise and the bus drivers were touched.

I have just loved all of the stages of Chance.  He is one of the greatest joys in my life, and I look forward to many more happy memories that we can share.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEENAGER!!








Sunday, May 05, 2013

Chance goes "off-line"

Chance LOVES to read and has found that by taking off his implants, he can immerse himself into his own little world.

That would be nice to do sometimes wouldn't it?

It needs to be done in the right way though.  That would mean not locking the door, taking off the implants and settling into reading a book.

That is good if you have given warning to the family that you are "off-line" so to speak, so they don't call you and knock on the door waiting for you to respond.

Another time Chance is in his own little world.
Chance's sister ended up having to go outside and get his attention by knocking and waving at him through the window.

That must have been an awesome sight for our neighbors across the street.

There was Chance's sister calling through the window into the house while waving her arms about.

Having a deaf person in the house definitely keeps it interesting for all of us.

After that little incident we had a talk with Chance about how we as his family, and especially his parents, need to know when he decides to take himself "off-line".

Then he did it again a few hours later!!

This time we were a little more firm in our admonitions about Chance taking off implants and locking the door when no one knows he is unable to hear anything.

Jeez, it would be nice to have that capability sometimes though wouldn't it?


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Twenty four eggs and an angel food cake

I love getting to know Chance as the years go by.  He is an amazing person and I feel honored to take this journey with him.

Chance has taken an interest in cooking.  This week he decided to make a cake as a treat to share with his friends during their late night (a night filled with games, food and or movies where the kids stay up later than normal with their friends).

He did not just want to make any cake, he wanted to make an angel food cake, his favorite kind.  We didn't have a boxed mix of angel food cake so I suggested that Chance make one from scratch.  He had done this with his dad once several months ago.

Chance was excited about this idea and set to work.  The recipe from Alton Brown that was used when
Alton Brown
Chance made the cake with his dad was in our cookbook.  It had been so delicious the first time, we made it a permanent fixture in our dessert section.

A homemade angel food cake requires 12 eggs.  That's right, a hefty dozen.  But you get lots of fluff for your dozen.

I was in with Chance's sister when Chance walked in and said,"I totally failed."

When I asked him how he failed, he explained that he had forgotten to separate the egg yolks from the egg whites before he added the eggs.

That did constitute a fail with an angel food cake.  But I thought Chance should try again and told him so.

"You'll let me use 12 more eggs?!" He said in wonderment.

As luck would have it, some neighbors of ours were selling eggs from their grandpa's farm and I had just purchased two dozen.

Alton Brown also suggests that you use the freshest eggs you can find:)

So Chance gave the cake another go.

Only this time he did not take any chances(ha!ha!).  He got online and looked up the Alton Brown video on how to make his angel food cake.

Chance would watch a clip of the video, go over and replicate what Alton Brown said to do, and then come back for the next video clip.

It is important to Chance to do well in whatever he endeavors to undertake.

This cake-making endeavor is a good example of how Chance does things.  He finds something he wants to do and works to excel at it.

The cake turned out delicious.  His friends got the lion's share of the cake, but I managed to get a slice for myself before it left the house.

Chance is going to succeed in whatever he decides to do in life, and I am excited to be on the journey with him.

Monday, April 22, 2013

If you snooze, you lose...at least at a scout camp out


Chance had a scout camp out this week end.  He packed his backpack, rolled his sleeping bag, and made sure he had enough food to survive in the wilds overnight.
The scouts played capture the flag and stayed up until the wee hours of the night. Who goes on a scout camp out to sleep? The tents are merely a formality.
Come morning roll call, Chance kept sleeping.  You can do that when you don't hear anything going on around you in the morning.
So while the other scouts packed up and ate breakfast, Chance caught up on his beauty sleep.
Usually someone wakes Chance up in the morning at scout camp, but this time, there were a few distractions.
One, Chance had some new scout leaders that are not experienced at camping with Chance and therefore it did not occur to them that he would need an extra hand in waking up.  The tweeting birdies and other scouts sloshing through out the tent were not enough to raise Chance from his sleep of the dead.
The camp was also in a hurry.  One of the scout leaders had to get home earlier than usual, so the camp was in a hurry to pack up and go.
By the time someone realized that Chance was still sleeping, the time for breakfast had passed and Chance barley had time to pack up his bedroll and head out when he awoke.
Chance's friends are usually good about waking him up at scout camp.  This time there were several boys in one tent and they were all in a hurry after staying up late. 
Chance's dad talked to the new scout leader and just explained that Chance will most likely not wake up on time in the morning with out help because he does not hear the camp sounds or the boys teasing and talking.
Once that was drawn to his attention, the scout leader said it make perfect sense.
We hearing people don't always think of what it would be like to not hear anything in the morning because it never happens to us...some of those birds out in the wilds can be pretty darn loud in the morning. And scouts.  They are pretty darn loud in the morning too.
None of this affects Chance's world of silence.
Chance took it all in stride and I think everyone will be more aware during the next camp out.  Maybe this will help Chance never get kitchen duty first thing in the morning:)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Wiz

Chance has spent the last several weeks practicing to be a monkey. A flying monkey. Some parents have kids who aspire to be a fireman, baker, accountant or doctor.  My son aspires to be a monkey.
At least for the last several weeks that is what he was working on.

Chance's school put on the play, The Wiz" and as the picture to the left shows,  Chance got to be an expert at flying around the gym on his scooter accompanied by fellow students on various modes of transportation.


Chance looks a little scary here I must say

A flying monkey with an implant, who could have guessed that was possible?




Originally Chance's brother was in the play as a lifter and back up singer and dancer.  A lifter lifts girls up in the air as they dance and run around the set. Someone has to have that job and Chance's teen age brother made the sacrifice.
After several weeks of practice, it became apparent that the play needed more flying monkeys. You can never get enough of those.   Chance's older brother generously said Chance would love to be in the play. Chance was not excited when he realized that he would be staying three hours after school on the regular early out day, not to mention several other days after school.  But it grew on him, and soon, he was enthusiastically taking his scooter to school each morning in anticipation of the afternoon practices. He was even designated the Toto carrier and got to whisk around the gym holding the remote controlled pup.
The play was a hit and the boys did a great job.
As parents we never thought of flying monkey as a future life path for Chance.  But he nailed it.