Saturday, July 11, 2009

Letting go........

Cousin Kendall and Brook playing at the water park

the water slides that both my kids went down by themselves
(I was waiting at the bottom for Brook though!)

Gage and his friend Brayden waiting for the buckets to dump water on their heads
Fun fun fun! This water park is about 45 minutes from my house and my sister and I took the kids to play yesterday. Guess what? Gage found a long lost buddy that used to go to his school and had moved away. Once they found each other, they were inseparable. Brayden communicated very well with Gage and they went up and down those big slides all day. I had to swallow my fears and I realized that I've given Gage what he needs to survive with or without his cochlear implants. He has his needed survival skills (great with visuals, speech reading, body language) and he sure don't mind telling people that he can't hear if there is ever any communication issues. So I let him go in the adjoining pool (for only a few minutes at a time) without me being right there in the water with him. I did overly obsess and keep my eyes on him as much as possible but he was doing fine. I had to realize that my biggest fear wasn't anything more than his ADHD. I was afraid that he may get the whistle blown at him from the lifeguards and he would be dismissed as a wild child who doesn't follow rules. So I had to refrain from making those non existent predictions and know that his friend Brayden can hear and if he needed to relay messages he could. I also had to realize they were just boys and the pool was full of other 8-10 year old boys who were much wilder than they are! I think it did him some good to walk around there and have that freedom.
Now, I also realize that Brook does not have those skills. She's good, but not good enough yet. She's not good at speech reading and in fact I had to help out when little kids would say their names, she can read my speech best. If you say more than a couple of words though she doesn't get it. We will work on that while we have a chance so I'll speak to her more when ci's are off to give her that practice. Also, at one point we had to go get her processors so that Gage could explain "who that boy is playing with her brother!" she needed answers. Brook did not care for the big slides (that are really slow) and she wanted to stay with Kendall and play in the short water....we learned the word shallow! I did tell the lifeguard when Gage first went up that he couldn't hear so she needed to give him a thumbs up when she wanted him to slide down, and she did just that. I didn't get to tell her about Brook since she didn't see me down there but when it was B's turn to slide and she wouldn't go down, she (the lifeguard) did look down and found me gesturing that Brook couldn't hear and she totally understood, tapped Brooklyn and had her look down to see me waiting at the bottom. Brook slid down, she went under at the bottom and said "get me out of here, I want to go back over there!" So I took her back to Aunt "Sissy" and Kendall. I've learned more than one lesson from yesterday's adventure and one being I have to trust my aging son a little more, and two that I have work to do with Brook or she'll be a lost little puppy. Family communicates just fine with her but when you speak that well, no one ever suspects you might be deaf, they suspect that you're either rude(ignoring) or that you just don't listen. I need for her to be confident enough to say "I can't hear you". But some of that is just an age thing, this is what she said on the way home.
Brook: "Why does Kendall not know when I can't hear?"
Me: "She's only four, she forgets, you have to just remind her."
Brook: "But why does everybody not hear me in the pool."
Me: "Because it's really loud at that pool and you weren't speaking loud enough."
Brook: "Can we hear my song now?" wanting to listen to her favorite cd.


Mom to Toes said...

Thank you for this post! It is full of great tips and insight.

We're at the point now where we are starting to help Erin understand how to communicate with people outside of the family when she is not in sound. She tends to run to me and hide behind me in water situations when someone tries to speak to her. Definitely not what she would do while in her equipment.

I will be following your lead.

Jamie said...

Hi Val,

I came across your post on the CI Circle News about last year's bill for captions on the Internet. Good news, the bill has been reintroduced! On June 26, 2009 Rep. Markey reintroduced the bill as the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009. That's the good news. Now for the hard part.

We have a lot of work ahead of us to get this bill passed. The professional organizations NAD, TDI, and COAT are working hard to get it passed, and on Facebook I am leading a grassroots movement to help get the bill passed: Caption Action 2, under Causes. The URL for Caption Action 2 is

Please help us get the word out to parents of deaf and hard of hearing children if you can, because we don't have that much time. We need for lots of parents of deaf and hard of hearing children to write to their Representatives to ask them to cosponsor the bill, and to their Senators to ask them to introduce a similar bill in the Senate.

We only have until January 2011 and then the bill will die just like the one from last year did. (See the countdown counter on the Caption Action 2 blog,

Finally, can you email me on Facebook? I tried to find CI Circle News on Facebook but I could not find it.

Tiffany C. said...

Brayden doesn't like to answer anyone else but me. We went to a birthday party today where they had a waterslide. So everyone is takling to him and he wouldn't answer back. They would come get me and ask me to ask him what he wanted to drink and other questions. I finally told them to get his attention and point to their mouths so that he knows they are speaking to him. Afterwards he got a bit more confident and would give simple answers back, yes and no. Brayden is great at reading lips, ques, gestures, and body language. We're starting to give him a bit more freedom. I'm just so overprotective of him. His favorite thing to do when we go out to eat is ask the waiter for a box. We're still working on getting him to order his own food and drink. Great post!

Shelleyrae33 said...

Thank you for that post. As a mom who hasn't gone through the CI process yet (surgery scheduled for OCT 14th) I guess I never thought of what life would be like when he takes his processors off. I am so proud of your beautiful children to have the courage to say, "I can't hear you". What brave little souls!