August 31, 2013

Hearing the Whole Banana

Okay, so I had this whole blog post all typed up, and it was witty and smart and very insightful... and then, well, I erased it.  As you know, I'm a total quitter so losing a perfectly usable post made me throw in the towel.  I couldn't rewrite it, and I couldn't bring myself to write about something new, because that's just wasteful.  In situations like that, the most logical solution for me is to quit.  Well, I pout first, then quit.  Buuut, I'm back in the saddle because Laura Belden Cook threatened to take away my baby if I didn't.  

Please pray for her.

Speaking of my baby... I am so pleased to report that Mr. Jaylen is adjusting nicely to his new hearing aids (or his "helppity helpers" as we may or may not call them around the house.)  If you haven't checked it out yet, the video that I posted of him hearing fully for the first time is worth a look. 

It was such a precious moment to see him looking over his shoulder trying to figure out what and where that noise was!  The ride home from the audiology appointment was adorable.  I sat in the back of the van so that I could watch Jaylen's reactions, and it was so sweet to see him discover sounds for the first time.  He was trying to sit forward in his car seat, straining to see the cars pass.  It was as if he just realized that cars move and make noise!  I think this whole time he thought that we just get strapped into a silver box that shakes around for a while and then spits us out at grandma's.  

He seems confused by some sounds and excited by others, and placing sounds will probably be a bit of a challenge for a while, but overall he is adjusting very well.  

Originally, the audiologist told me to plan on doing nothing for two weeks except putting hearing aids back into my child's head.  In the two weeks following his appointment I had our annual Back-to-School-Girls-Only camping trip (Jaylen and his helppity helpers not included), getting the Harper ready to go to his first day of kindergarten, Marlie's birthday, the first week of school, adjusting all of them to a new schedule, tons of orders to fill (including a wedding), plus a zillion other things to do.  I wasn't sure how I was supposed to cancel all of that to solely be on hearing aid duty, but it all worked out because Jaylen has literally not touched the hearing aids one single time.  I don't know what it is about that kid but a) he's awesome and b) everything he does for the first time, he acts like its old hat.  He just plays it cool and acts like he's been doing this all along.

It's not like he hasn't noticed them, it's just that he is awesome at keeping them in.  We can tell that he is noticing a difference because he is responding to sounds that he would normally not even blink about.  The biggest and best difference is how vocal he has been!  He can definitely hear himself... and he likes what he hears because when those puppies go in, he jabbers and coos and squeaks and squeals like it's payin' the bills.  

It has been a fun, and relatively easy adjustment, especially because we won't really do much differently.  His speech therapist/teacher of the deaf still feels that continuing to use as much sign language as possible is going to be the best chance for him to develop language.     She also said the we are excellent students, very "motivated" and that I have *sensational style.  *The part was a lie, but the other stuff made me feel so good, I didn't want it to end.

Anyways, the nice remarks gave Tom and I the courage to really dig deep and learn how to sign an entire book.  Who cares if it's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  We can sign a whole entire book!  I actually made a group of children sit down and watch me perform, and I have to say... the two year olds dig my stuff.  

Okay, that's all I got.  Baby Jay got hearing aids, his first tooth, started crawling and pulled up to stand along the couch for the first time!  He can also sign "mama, eat, thank you, and jump" (he doesn't do any of them consistently or well, but he's just seven months old for pete's sake... what more do you guys want from him really!?) 

Above is the "speech banana" which shows all the speech sounds (letter sounds) that fall in the mild to moderate hearing loss category.  Without amplification Jaylen would not be able to hear anything on or above the banana. As you can see, his speech development would be very challenging without any of those sounds available to him.  You can't learn to speak by hearing a lawn mower.  So, we are thankful that he appears to be hearing everything in that yellow section... and, we believe, even some of those beautiful, soft sounds at the top that we take for granted.

When we brought him home with his hearing aids for the first time, we got him out of the car and he looked right up at the trees and watched with wonder as the leaves rustled in the breeze.  Every single appointment, the countless hours spent in waiting rooms, all the parking garage fees, and co-pays and specialists and tears and evaluations... the waiting and the stress and the wondering, all of it, every bit was worth it just to see the smile that spread across his face because he could finally hear the whole banana.

August 28, 2013

Video: Jaylen Gets Hearing Aids

Jaylen finally got his hearing aids!  As you can see here... he is very happy about exploring the new world of sound!  

Here is the video from Jaylen hearing fully for the first time.  

August 19, 2013

At Least My Neck Looks Good

I am already about to fall off the blogging-every-other-day wagon.  It's not that I wanna quit, it's just an absolute animal house over here!

I promised a long overdue update on Jay's health, then I bragged about how awesome he was doing, then I clicked enter, thennnn he got RSV.

So... This post may be a little short and a lot cranky.  Tom has been out of town for nearly a week and while he was gone I went to the doctor three times, to the grocery store two times and into my shower, only once.  This is particularly heinous because my face smells like dried pee because I read that using cold coffe like a facial toner is anti-aging.  It actually kinda works - my neck has pretty much gone back in time - but my face smells like I use a wet pull-up as a pillow, so that makes the results only so-so.

I digress...  Ahh yes, Jaylen.  So, it is looking like his brain has either mirculously healed, which I believe is totally possible, or the physical therapy he receives is allowing his brain to remap enough for him to catch up developmentally.  Either way, he can now open his hands on his own and he's scooching around like a total and complete boss man.  They are keeping an eye on a few areas that are lagging, but I am seriously not worried because he continues to blow my mind time and again.

We are all learning sign language, which has finally given me a legitimate excuse to forbid speaking... because, ya know, we gotta practice and all.  The kids are picking it up super fast and, so am I.  Jaylen has even signed mama, thank uou and eat!!  Really we're all naturals, except Tom.  

Not really, I'm kidding, he's doing sooo great!

 At learning slow.

Jay gets his hearing aids on the 26th and we are all pumped to the max.  Lots of peeps have requested a video of his response to using them for the first time... and I am happy to oblige, but what some of you readers may not know, is what my speaking voice sounds like.  One taste of that, and you will understand why jaylen's video will probably include a lot of desperate clawing at his ears.  

Okay, back to the horrible virus... His poor baby rib cage is retracting and he's pertpetually raspy and gaspy and it just breaks your heart to see.  I teetered on wether or not bring him to the ER over the weekend, but I feel like I am wrong every. single. time.  Honestly, I bring them in, certain they have dysentery, and it's "just a simple heat rash."  Or, I keep them home and they "need a blood transfusion."  (These are actually both REAL EXAMPLES of how poor my judgement is.)  Needless to say, I didn't get it right this time.  When I got to the doctor's office their original plan was to TRANSPORT HIM TO THE HOSPITAL  via AMBULANCE!  This might have been my wrongest one. Well, maybe second wrongest.  (See "needed blood transfusions" above.)

Anyways, he's not quite out of the woods, but mama's not messing around now... In keeping with my tradition of over correction, if he so much as sneezes  I'm taking him in. 

Well, I don't even know if this counts as an update because I am certain it lacks any sort of flow, grammar, or proper punctuation... But whatevs.  My face is pee-free, and I did. not. quit.  In my house, we call that a victory y'all. 

August 17, 2013

Adventures of Unemplyment, part 2

First, I want to thank those of you who have reached out with support and encouragement regarding this new endeavor.  You shall be handsomely rewarded with more frequent exposure to the ridiculousness of my life.  So, congrats all around really.  

I guess I should start with a little family update.  We are about two months into The Adventures of Unemployment.  Tom has been faithful in applying to all sorts of jobs in several different fields.  His experience is largely in education, but his former position was administrative and he did a lot of training, some media, and plenty of "go between" helping regular people use and understand the IT side of a virtual charter school.  These are all skill that would fit nicely into a more corporate setting, which he is very open to.  Tom is gifted in the areas of organization and he often dreams of sitting alone in a room stuffed with floor-to-ceiling stacks of disheveled paper records.  He longs to take a room full of chaos and systematically create useful, digital archives.  So, pretty much my personal hell.  That's what he dreams of. 

I say all this in case his skill set would be a good fit where you are currently working, or in case you are a wealthy benefactor with a large, and very disorganized, forbidden library that could use Tom's touch. If so, that would be very Beauty and the Beast of you.  Which is weird but whatever... he can start Monday. 

This time has been challenging, but also positive in that it has been a very stretching time - which is always painful and usually productive.  God has used this time to deal with me on some pretty big things, particularly in the areas of trust, need vs. desire, and patience. 

Okay, okay... maybe rage and pride have come up too, on just the rarest occasion. But I'm doing my best.  The hardest part, honestly, has been watching Tom struggle against the lie that he is somehow "less" because he lost his job. It's hard for me to understand because I have seen so much "more" come out in him through this.  More character, more faith, more desire to complete the LEAST pressing home improvement projects in history, and... a little more sass, if I'm being completely honest. 

By request, ATATT will make a return appearance.  All Tom All The Time has been a beloved feature during our annual Tour de USA, and since this year's road trip was canceled in favor of the Adventures of Unemployment... It seems only fitting to give ATATT it's proper stage time.

I'll go more in-depth about Jaylen in my next post, but suffice it to say he is doing beautifully!  He's an absolute delight and we are seeing such significant improvements in his development that its actually kind of absurd.  It's not as absurd as the sense of urgency with which Tom weeded a non-visible area behind our shed, but we'll save the  home improvement stories for ATATT.  'Til then, lets comb those human resource departments and find this eager beaver a J to the O to the B! 

August 15, 2013

Nobody Quits the Easy Stuff

As I have shared before, I am a little bit of a quitter.  I don't just quit when it's cold, people... I quit in all kinds of weather.  I quit kind of a lot.  I once shared about how surprised I am that I haven't quit parenting yet. It's worth a read, I promise.  Spoiler alert - it involves blow drying a human butt.  London just asked me to "come clean up the dribble-squirts on the couch" so trust me when I tell you that my life hasn't gotten less strange since my blow drying days.

So, why am I bringing this up?  Well, I want to let you in on a little something that I am trying to do, and I am going to need some support because, well... I'm a quitter.  I truly want to succeed at this little something, and I maybe need some support and accountability or else  I will feel dumb and afraid of failing and I will quit  I might lose a little steam.  So, I am going to tell you what I am trying to do, and I need people to  slap  encourage me if I quit.  I know what you're probably thinking, "you're a big girl, do you really need other people to keep you from quitting?"

The answer is "Yes." And also "shut up."

So here goes nothing... I am going to commit to blogging every other day or so, with a very specific purpose in mind.  I have asked Miss N (my youngest son's birthmom) if she would like to work together to write a book about open-adoption, and I am thrilled to say that she heartily accepted!  I have been gathering questions about adoption, race, parenting, marriage, life and faith from lots and lots of readers, and this will give me a jump start on what I will be writing about between now and October, which is when I will start the second annual 31 Days of Kindness.  We will be using some of these questions to guide us in working together on a book.  I have received questions some really hard questions, like, "Do you love your biological children the same amount as your adopted children?" and "Do you think there are certain people who should not adopt?"  I promise to answer each and every question that I have received... so stay tuned!

One thing I am particularly excited to announce is that Miss N will be making an appearance on the blog doing a guest-post!!  So... if there are questions you have about her perspective on adoption, race, parenting, marriage and faith, please let me know!  She is eager to get started and is also gathering questions in the same way that I have been.

A huge part of me feels silly and embarrassed for even writing this, but I am starting to recognize that "that huge part of me" is a fear-driven, people-pleasing egomaniac that is afraid of failing or being judged.  But, the thing I fear most is wasting an opportunity to do something amazing.  I don't want to be driven by fear, but by faith.  I don't want to be people-pleasing but, rather, God-honoring.  And I don't want to worry about being judged, instead I want to judge others. Kidding, kidding... What I really want is to just not quit.  Because one thing worse than failing, is never having done anything big, or important, or challenging enough to make quitting a temptation.