Thursday, August 30, 2012

A big pile of shhhh-aving cream

Ben, eying some white antibacterial cream that had been rubbed onto his skinned knee:  "I wonder why they call it shaving cream, when it really isn't shavable at all."

If you have any idea what he means by this, please enlighten me.

It's been an intense week for Ben.  Last academic year he was enrolled in PreK at his daycare facility, and he continued over the summer, but his program ended last week.  Kindergarten, however, doesn't start until next Tuesday.  Meanwhile, our classes started this past Monday, leaving us with a week where we're working full time on campus without any childcare.  The director of the daycare managed to find a spot for him in the same classroom where he'd spent the last year, which was fantastic.  However, he's one of only two veterans in a room full of newbies (the other veteran is from a family in the same situation as ours).  He had to give up his cubby and mailbox, and settle for another cubby at the far end of the row.  In various other ways, it's clear that he's not really supposed to be there.  His teachers (the same ones he's had for a year) are wonderful as always, but he's a sensitive kid and I can tell he's picking up on the vibe.  Anxiety level is a little higher.  Plus, he's a little sniffly, maybe fighting a mild bug.  And his excitement about kindergarten is definitely tempered by a healthy dose of trepidation.  Put it all together, and the kid is under stress.  He's not really acting out or anything, but he's not quite himself.

We're also, perhaps not coincidentally, going through a phase of Catastrophic Nuclear Meltdown over any tiny booboo.  When he was a baby, we actually worried from time to time because he seemed to have an unusually high tolerance for pain.  But over the last year or so, he's definitely migrated over into Wuss Territory.  A little stumble on the sidewalk the other night produced a skinned knee and elbow, and it was all I could do to dab at them a little with nothing more potent than water and slap some band-aids on while he proceeded to communicate his distress to all of western New York.

This afternoon was Kindergarten Visitation Day.  Neil took him over.  Intense, clingy; it's all becoming just a little too real.  And then right after that we had an appointment to test out all of his FM system equipment.  I raced over after my class and joined in the fun.  Basically, it consisted of four to five adults standing around talking about things that he didn't understand, and occasionally jamming a piece of plastic into his equipment somewhere and saying things like, "Ben, can you hear me?  How does that sound?"  If he wasn't exactly cooperative by that point, you can hardly blame him.  It's a complicated system, because he has to have different kinds of receivers attached to his hearing aid and CI.  The teacher speaks into a mic, and her voice is broadcast by FM directly to his devices.  There's also a soundfield system in the classroom, which has its own microphone -- the teacher's voice is sent to a set of speakers around the classroom for the benefit of all kids.  We spent too much of the last few weeks agonizing over exactly how these two systems were going to interact.  It turns out that the FM system came supplied with the cable necessary to link the two together, but it was still going to be an extra layer of complexity -- but fortunately the teacher has decided that she doesn't need to use the soundfield system for the foreseeable future.  Long story short, everything seems to be functional at this point, and hopefully the whole thing will quickly become mere routine.

Throughout, I could almost hear Kermit singing in my ear:  "It's not easy, being deaf."


dlefler said...

We were standing around the same piece of equipment today - daisy-chaining Nolan's FM to the red-cat system. We didn't actually do a soundcheck since it was open house and there wasn't a moment's peace, but we will give it a shot on Wednesday.

Nolan was extremely shy and hid behind me/was non-communicative during open house. I think he was just overwhelmed by the noise level and all the attention.

PinkLAM said...

Can't wait to hear about Ben's experience in kindergarten! Hope all goes well both hearing technology-wise and social/education-wise!