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:)



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.


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.


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