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


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






"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.


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.


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, 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.