My Aunt Kathy sent me this article about a deaf college basetball player who wears a hearing aid and CI. Really interesting -- touches on the whole Deaf/oral debate, his experiences when first implanted at age 14, and the way he copes with stadium noise. Enjoy!
As Ben's parents, we probably made peace with his deafness and all the equipment a lot sooner and more completely than anybody else -- friends, family. As close, supportive, and involved as they have been, we're the ones who were there for the hearing tests and were told, "He's deaf.*" We're the ones who researched the technology and the devices, sent him off to surgery, enjoyed the thrills and spills of activation and therapy and watching him reach all the milestones. We're the ones who clean and store the equipment every night, and who maintain that constant vigilance -- did the headpiece come off? Is something not working? Is there too much static here? And we're the ones who live with that sword of Damocles hanging over our heads, the specter of infection or device failure, and the need for more surgery. Because we're immersed in that world, it long ago became our reality, our New Normal. For everyone else, I think there's still just that tiny element of surprise and unease.
On the other hand, as his parents, we'll probably never make peace completely with it. Every now and then, after months of New Normal, it'll suddenly hit me all over again like a lightning bolt: I had a deaf child. How did that happen? My child has a very serious disability. One of his five senses is dysfunctional, nonfunctional, and it's only with significant technological intervention that we can recover some measure of that sense. It's okay; we're cool with it; he's doing really well. But ... wow. And then I realize that there was a little piece of it that I still hadn't come to grips with. I guess it's something we'll just have to approach asymptotically.
*The clinicians don't say "deaf," of course. They say "hearing impaired." As in, "Your child has severe sloping to profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss." I just say "deaf." I like it better.
1. While noodling away all over the piano keyboard: "This is a John Lennon song, but I'm changing the words a little bit."
2. "I want to go back to Cape Cod. It's a good place. It isn't not good. It has good show quality."
We're still trying to figure out what he means by "show quality". Neil quizzed him on it pretty closely, but it's still a mystery. But we love the double negative. This kid has no problem with abstraction and formal structure; he's gonna love studying grammar in school. (I did. No, seriously, I really did. Diagramming sentences was my idea of a good time.)
Three posts in one day?!? It's either feast or famine here, folks. Both of these are from today:
1. While playing with a Jacob's ladder: "Jacob left this here. I don't know why he did that. But he left it here for us to share."
2. Ben: "Curious George and a boy are riding in a balloon." Neil: "Are you the boy?" Ben: "No! I'm real, and the boy is made up." [Silly Daddy!]
This is one of my favorites. My niece Megan shot this on Christmas morning and then edited it together into a really nice little video. I added captions for the dialog relating to Ben, but made no attempt to capture all the other banter and the noise of unwrapping presents. (If you follow my father's comments about getting a first class male, you'll get some appreciation for the kind of environment in which I grew up -- and it didn't warp me at all; I'm perfectly normal.) Now, how many of you know what "Mississippi hot dog" refers to?
"Special Cousin Anna" is one of Megan's close friends, and a couple of years ago she spent Christmas with us. Since Ben was just learning relational terms like "cousin," we gave Anna that honorary title so that Ben could fit her into the framework.
Here's a great video from a couple of weeks ago. We met up with some friends to go sledding on 3 Man Hill on our local college campus. This was after we had already spent the morning at Jackson's house making bird treats. They have a wonderful tradition of putting their Christmas tree up in the backyard, after they're done with it for the holidays, and hanging bird treats all over it. The boys had a lot of fun spreading peanut butter on graham crackers and then dipping the works in birdseed.
So anyway, after that we headed out for some sledding. Featured are Jackson and his moms Rachel and Susie, Etta and Desmond and their dad Todd, and of course the three of us. I captioned a lot of it, but there's some background chatter that I didn't try to get. Enjoy!
Yes, we still exist. (My father would immediately question whether we're unique. He's a math geek, too.) And it's not like I haven't had time to blog. Okay, I've been busy (I'm always busy, and so are you), and I've been sick, but still time isn't the issue. I've had some pockets of time here and there to blog. I just ... haven't felt like it. No offence. I love this blog world and all the people I've met -- it's become an important part of my life. I guess I just needed a little break.
But I'm back, baby! Prepare yourself for some seriously cool blogging action. Yeah, pictures, videos, amusing anecdotes, and more than your fill of Bennyisms. We think he's had a bit of a growth spurt recently -- physically, cognitively, and emotionally. He just seems to be looking at the world in a whole new way, and processing it differently. Neil spent a week in Utah skiing with his brother, and during that time I got to test my solo three-year-old parenting skills -- and I must say that we did very well. That right there could be a blog post. I'm not lacking for material here.
Well, okay, so I can't promise you the most thrilling blog in the sphere on a daily basis. But I do promise to check in more regularly. In fact, I vow to have an actual post (with content and everything, as opposed to this sort of semi-apologetic rambling) by Saturday at the latest. See ya soon!