Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chance talks about learning Chinese

Hello, this is Chance here.

My mom is having me explain what it is like to take Chinese for my language in school. I got into Chinese thinking, this is probably going to be a boring class because you have to learn how to pronounce the different tones and pronunciation but I have a couple of friends in there and it turns out that it is better than I thought it was going to be. It is actually a bit fun learning the new language, there are a few benefits of learning a language that many people aren't taking, one is you can talk in a different class and the teacher will have no idea what you are saying. 

Two is that you can have a private conversation with your friend and everyone else will have no idea what you are saying (girls...). Chinese can be a very hard language to take but it is better than you think it is going to be. It's awesome being able to pronounce and read words in a different language. 

This is Chance's mom here.  Chance came up to me yesterday and started telling me the different sounds that he has learned in his Chinese class so far.  He likes the class and has several friends in there that could prove to be good for study groups when they need to study for tests.  Chinese is not a subject that Chance's dad and I are going to be able to help him with.   Hopefully, having great friends in his class will not distract Chance from utilizing his listening skills to the highest degree:)

Chance and his brother

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chance takes the challenge and sleeps on

Many of you may be aware of the ALS challenge that is playing out across social media like Facebook. (  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.) The idea is to raise awareness for this debilitating disease that has no cure and I would guess very little understanding.   Chance was challenged and taking the challenge, had a HUGE bucket of ice water dumped on his head this morning.  When you accept the challenge, you challenge at least 3 other people that you know to do the same thing.

Chance took his implants off for the dunking as it was 5 gallons of ice water poured over his head in about 5 seconds. Chance loved it. He was cold, but he loved it

The last few nights we have had several storms with massive claps of thunder. The kind of thunder that wakes you up from a sound sleep because your whole house just shook and the noise is so loud, that your brain is instantly alert to see if you are in danger.   Chance sleeps on. Waking him is like waking the dead, so I don't know if even a shaking house is enough to wake him up. I will have to verify with him, but I have not heard him say one word about the noisy storms, but the rest of the family compares how long it took to get back to sleep after being jolted awake like that.

 Yes, Chance is the soundest sleeper in our house.  The situation reminds me of a children's book we have called "Bear Snores On" about a hibernating bear that sleeps through all of his friends coming into his cave and having a party.  Maybe the family should try having a party in Chance's room after he is asleep and we can see if he sleeps through it. We could call it, "Chance Snores on."
Chance strikes a pose.

Monday, August 18, 2014

We meet a fellow implant family

We were sitting at church a few weeks ago, when I noticed that about 5 rows up sat a little girl with cochlear implants.  She looked to be about three years old and it was obvious that her grandmother who sat by her adored her.

After church was over, I went up to talk to the grandma. She was visiting our church that day so I introduced myself and told her that I had a teen-age son that had bilateral implants as well.  She was excited and started asking about how Chance was doing and if the implants had worked well for him.  Obviously, I said that we LOVED the implants and I told her that Chance played on a competitive soccer team, was on the city swim team and had a job as a swim aid. She was delighted to know that Chance was doing all of that with implants.  She was interested in meeting Chance so I called him over.  Chance came over smiling, and she asked him questions.

As a parent with a young deaf child, it does your heart good to be able to talk to people who are further along on the implant journey than you are.   You want to see older kids who are living with implants and see how they are working out for them.  Can they play sports? How are they doing in school? Do they have friends and are they treated well by others?  Chance was able to show this sweet grandma that yes, you can do anything that any other child can do even with implants.

We ended up talking to the little girl's parents, and had an immediate connection. You are people sharing a life experience.  You learn from each other and share insights you have gained on the journey.  I love to connect with other parents who have deaf and hard of hearing children.  We parted after exchanging cell phone numbers in case either of us has questions or perhaps answers to questions that may arise.

We are part of an implant family and we keep finding delightful members of our family as we travel along on our journey.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Chance goes to youth camp

Chance spent the last week at a camp for youth.  He was so excited to go and had been planning on what he would pack for days.  There would be girls there and dances, so what one packed was extremely important.
Chance did a good job packing all he needed including his guitar for the variety show.

 He roomed with a friend who was also deaf, so we had to tell the counselors that they would have to go in and wake those boys up or they might miss all of the morning classes. Chance had cousins and his brother attending the same camp, but because of differences in age, they didn't really see each other that much.

We dropped all of the boys off on Monday morning where the entire week lay ahead of them for fun and friendship.  We planned on picking them up on Saturday morning when the camp was over and we could hear about how great camp had been.

Monday night, at 11:05, I got a text.  It was from Chance, who had forgotten his battery charger for his implants.

Excuse me a minute.....Ha! Ha! Ha! He goes away for a week and forgets his battery charger??  Chance is usually so responsible and on the ball with this stuff that we were just shocked.  Lucky for him the camp was just a half hour away.  It was bedtime lights out though, and we got the text late so we planned on delivering the charger and extra rechargeable batteries the next morning.

The next morning, our home phone rang at 6:50 a.m. I knew it was Chance right away, and told Chance's dad that his implants must be dying.

Chance told us that his implants were beeping and that meant he had about 20 minutes left to hear.  We called the camp and told the counselor that we were on our way and in the mean time, Chance would be signing out and would not be able to hear anything.

It all turned out well in the end.  We delivered Chance's implant charger and he was able to hear for the rest of the week which is good since not being able to hear all week at camp would be most unfortunate.

Next week, I'll blog about the COWS of camp.  That stands for the crush of the week.  Everyone apparently knows this term, and the really brave souls, tell their COW how they feel by the end of the week. If you tell your COW and they don't feel the same, it is rather awkward.  If you tell them and they feel the same however, then it makes camp just that much better.