Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: a year of no regrets


As 2009 draws to a close today, I find it appropriate to reflect on the year, just like I did last year. In a nutshell, 2009 has been a year of no regrets. Although Lucas was implanted in 2008, all of his progress occurred in 2009. He was activated on January 9, and there has been no turning back.

I have NO REGRETS about deciding to have Lucas implanted. It has been a life altering experience for our family, and all of the hours of therapy this year were well worth it.

I have NO REGRETS about taking a leave of absence from my teaching job for 7 months. I believe that it affected Lucas's outcome immeasurably. I will always cherish those months, when I was able to experience so many fun Lucas hearing and language firsts.

I have NO REGRETS about following my heart and starting a support group for families of hearing impaired children in our area. I look forward to helping expand the group in 2010!

I have NO REGRETS about spending hours upon hours on the Internet researching hearing loss, working on the John Tracy Clinic correspondence course, reading blogs, and finding resources to help Lucas listen and speak.

I have NO REGRETS about meeting up with other CI families last summer in DC and Ohio and networking with other CI families around the globe on Facebook!

I have NO REGRETS about maintaining this blog, and I wish to continue it in 2010. Not only is it therapeutic, fun, and helpful to other families, but it is also a great record of Lucas's accomplishments and activities!

I'm looking forward to what 2010 will bring! I'm certain there will be many new adventures, including 3 weeks at the John Tracy Clinic in July! And who knows, maybe Lucas will get that baby he so badly wants too. (no hints, just starting to think about the possibility!)

Now I'm off to use the "blog to book" function from Blurb to create a book of all of my blog posts from 2009! Check it out! (thanks for pointing that out to me last year, Landry's Mommy!)

Wishing you and yours a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

linga ling ling

Linga ling ling, three cheers for the lings. It's official, Lucas can repeat all 6 ling sounds. It's always been kind of a frustrating point for me, because Lucas couldn't repeat them all, and wouldn't even play along with the ones he did know. It was not an accurate depiction of whether or not he was hearing across all frequencies... until now. It's a pretty major breakthrough, in my opinion.

The other night in the car, while I was trying to engage him from the driver's seat, I thought I would try the lings. He was able to repeat all 6 successfully, with the noise of the car, and me facing the opposite direction. I was pretty excited!

Hopefully he doesn't get too bored, and decide to tune them out. We'll have to come up with new conditioning games to keep it exciting. His hearing therapist is really great at that! For now, he likes to please and play along. I'm confident now that he's hearing across all frequencies! YAY!

Monday, December 28, 2009

attached to his ear

Lucas is attached to his ear... both literally and figuratively! It has really become obvious in the past few weeks how much his CI has become a part of him. When he wakes up in the morning, he asks for it by making the sign. If the whole processor comes off, he brings it to me to put back on. If the coil comes off, he will even try to put it back on himself. It's an understatement to say that I'm ecstatic that he has embraced it and not rejected it.

Sometimes when he doesn't want to go to bed, he insists on keeping it on. So much so, that I'm afraid he's going to poke a hole in his head while signing "CI". Most of the time though, he hands it right over, as it's an integral part of his bedtime routine. When I ask for his "ear" before nap time, bath time or swim time, he happily hands it over. But, when we were at his cousin's house a few weeks ago, he was not too keen on the idea of giving it to me before going down a slide. I can't blame him, but he will have to learn in time.

He leaves it pretty well alone in the car these days, unless the coil gets knocked off, then he just pulls the whole thing off and gently puts it into the cup holder in his car seat until we reach our destination. Once in a while, he pulls it off if he's really mad. I've been told that that will only get worse...

It's such a part of him now. It's as routine as putting on his shoes, only so much more magical. I really hope it stays that way. Here he is, asking for his processor. Right after that, he got giddy with excitement as I put it on. PRICELESS.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Joy

This Christmas has been filled with lots of JOY. Christmastime has become a very emotional time for me, as it's associated with lots of memories from the past couple of years. Lucas made his unexpected worldly debut in 2007 and spent time in the NICU. I was discharged without him on Christmas Day that year. That was REALLY TOUGH, to say the least. During that week between Christmas and New Year's, we learned of his probable hearing loss (failed newborn hearing screen) and heart defect. That Christmas was JOYFUL and sorrowful at the same time.

Last Christmas was great, but stressful, with CI surgery scheduled for the day after Christmas! We were at CHOP by 6 AM on 12.26! We certainly enjoyed Christmas, but with an elevated level of anxiety. We didn't take Lucas to Christmas Eve service last year, one of the reasons being that he couldn't hear it anyway. But what JOY we had, knowing that he might soon hear. We never knew that he would hear so well though.

This year we've been able to sit back, relax and enjoy Christmas. Lucas is a great age, and he can HEAR this year. I couldn't help but be teary through Christmas Eve service, as he pointed to his ear as he heard the hand bells, the organ, and the hymns being sung. I might add that he was excited by the camel costume during the children's sermon too. I felt such JOY as I watched him light up with excitement as he took in the sights and the SOUNDS.

Every time I hear him say HO, HO, HO, or listen to him name the ornaments on the Christmas tree, I am reminded that he is my CHRISTMAS MIRACLE in so many ways.

JOY to the world!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I just had to get this one on video. He reminded me when he asked for a cracker this morning... and you know what kind of crackers he always wants? Just plain old ritz-type crackers. He's easy to please, most of the time. Enjoy the chuckle!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Happy Birthday, baby boy! You're 2 today! Mommy's so proud of you! You've become such a big boy!

* You weigh about 24 pounds.
* You've just started to wear size 4 diapers.
* You wear size 12 month pants, although you're almost ready to wear 18 month ones.
* You wear size 18-24 months shirts.
* You love your blanket, although most of the time, if it's out of site, it's out of mind.
* You love Elmo!
* You can run now! (Mommy waited a long time for that...).
* You love the water, both during bath time and aquatic therapy.
* Your favorite toys are your play kitchen and your doll-, I mean play-house.
* You like to eat fun foods like sushi, egg rolls, enchiladas and anything with rice or pasta.
* Your favorite drink is milk, followed closely by yoohoo and caffeine free diet orange tea.
* You like to go bye-bye, pretty much anywhere, as long as we go bye-bye.
* Going home to "see the cats" gets you to leave almost anywhere.
* You have about 100 spoken words, but you can't make the /k/ sound yet (that's okay!).
* You refuse to say the word "cracker", and instead choose to sign it, in Lucas fashion, which looks like you're asking for drugs.
* You've started to play games, like hiding your spoon behind your back and saying "I don't know" until we find it.
* You're learning your colors, and can identify blue and yellow pretty consistently.
* You're willing to repeat almost anything we ask you to - my favorite is cocka-doodle-doo.
* You like to turn things on and off, especially the lights on the Christmas tree. But, everything is "off", and never "on" to you!
* You like to dump things and transfer items from one container to another.
* You think the word "ouch" is hilarious, including the action that causes the word "ouch". You like to repeat the action to hear the word "ouch" again.
* You have the most contagious laugh I have ever heard. I hope it never goes away!
* You still love to read books, but you don't insist on the same ones all the time, which is great!
* You still love to nap, and I hope it doesn't go away anytime soon.
* You continue to amaze me with your determination and joyful personality. You will achieve great things one day!

I really look forward to watching you grow this next year! I hope that it is as memorable as this year.

Thanks for the post format idea, baby k!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

dreaming of a white christmas...

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, and it might just come true! With a foot of snow on the ground, it's not going anywhere. After all the snow had fallen, we took Lucas out to experience it! For the record, Lucas has the coolest Daddy who loves to play with him in the snow, make snow angels, and take him for some wild sled rides. Enjoy the pics!

Let is snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

snowy birthday party

Although Lucas's birthday is not for a few days, yesterday was supposed to be his birthday party, scheduled for 4:30 PM. Mother nature had other plans. Snow, and lots of it, was in the forecast, so we re-scheduled for 9:30 AM, hoping that a few might venture out. We still lost 5 adults and 2 kids in the count, but we had fun at Lucas's snowy birthday brunch! We liked it so much, we might do it again next year, minus the snow!

playing with his cousins...
getting ready to pin the tail on the donkey...
trying to blow out the candle!
The best part of this year's party? Lucas got to hear us sing "happy birthday" to him! Priceless. Last year's party was a few days before implantation. Enjoy the video!

Monday, November 30, 2009

'tis the season

It's my favorite time of year. From Christmas music (Barbra Streisand's Christmas album is my favorite) to decorating the house and the tree, I thoroughly enjoy the month of December. And, this is the first year that Lucas will really get to enjoy it too! Not only will he enjoy it because he can hear the sounds of the season, but because he is the perfect age!

On Sunday, we went and cut down our tree. We took Lucas to Elizabeth Farms, a Christmas tree farm, where we were taken by horse drawn wagon to pick out our tree, saw it down, and return to take it home. Lucas loved the horses and enjoyed romping around among the trees.

Then we went to Dutch Winter Wonderland. I can't help but giggle at the name, Dutch Wonderland. It must sound pretty funny to those that aren't from around here. It's an amusement park geared toward kids, and they open up some of their rides during December, along with a light show and other attractions. Lucas really had a blast, not surprisingly. I can't wait to go again next year!

The house and tree are decorated, so now it's time to sit back and enjoy Christmastime with Lucas. He's already absorbing lots of seasonal language. He's not using all of it spontaneously, but if he sees a Santa Claus, he says "ho, ho, ho." We were reading a book tonight, and he was able to identify santa, a snowman, a reindeer, and an angel, which are all new words for him. Now it just needs to snow! Relating the Christmas story to him was easier than I thought too, because he could identify all the animals, the baby, and the stars, which kept his attention.
Wishing you a joyous holiday season!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

never a dull medical moment

baking with daddy

Compared to his first year of life, Lucas's second year of life has been a bit calmer on the medical front. He had no hospitalizations (in 2008 he had 3), and there were no new specialists to add to the list. Especially during the last 6 months, we have had very little to worry about in terms of Lucas's health (thank goodness). His cardiologist even increased the amount of time between visits. We've gotten through the entire fall season without any real illnesses (please knock on wood). It's been smooth sailing. Until now.

Last Saturday when Lucas woke up, he and I were sitting in the glider rocker and talking about the different parts of his body. When I prompted him to show me his thumbs, I noticed something a little funny. His left thumb is stuck in a bent position, and he can't straighten it. If you look carefully at the picture above, you can see the position. It's not forced; it's stuck in this double jointed position. Hmmmm.

I took him to the doctor on Monday and she's a bit baffled too. There's no known trauma. It just kind of happened. He had an x-ray done, and it came back fine. She made an initial diagnosis of trigger finger, otherwise known as pediatric trigger thumb. Needless to say, we're skipping the local specialist and heading right to CHOP to see an orthopedic surgeon on December 17. Based on the research I've done, I anticipate this ending in a surgical procedure. Please pray with us that it will not.

Never a dull medical moment. I never knew that such a phenomenon could occur with a finger. Oh the things I've learned since he was born... I should earn an honorary degree. HA!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! We enjoyed our day with family, Wii and the movie Elf (a Thanksgiving tradition for us). This day has been a great opportunity for us to reflect on what we have for which to be thankful. In addition to being thankful for our families, our health, and our beautiful son, we are forever thankful for the technological marvel that is the cochlear implant.

Because of the cochlear implant, Lucas now has choices. He now has the ability to CHOOSE how he'd like to communicate with the world. Because of his CI, he will be able to use the telephone, a cell phone, and even call 911 if there's an emergency. He will never have to rely upon an interpreter to communicate. He will have the opportunity to attend our neighborhood school.

In the same breath that I talk about how the cochlear implant affords Lucas the ability to fully function and even thrive in the hearing world, I must add that he still has the ability to choose manual communication for himself. We hope for him to fully learn ASL someday. The bottom line is that he has choices. And that is why we are most thankful. His hearing loss will not make decisions for him. He will make his own decisions.

Thank you to Graeme Clark, the inventor of the cochlear implant. Thank you to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for successfully implanting and coordinating the habilitation of his implant. Thank you to Jan, Dorlas, Linda and Jeana, the wonderful hearing loss professionals with whom we've had the pleasure to work and learn from over the past 2 years.

Last Thanksgiving, Lucas could not hear at all. This Thanksgiving, Lucas was only unable to hear during his nap. This Thanksgiving, Lucas puts 2 word phrases together and easily understands almost everything we say. His hearing goes from 0 to 95 with one magical magnetic attachment. I believe it's the most amazing technological marvel of the 20th century.

For what are you thankful?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

the continued role of sign in our home

Lucas signing airplane on Halloween

It's a hot topic. All parents of deaf children must make the decision. To sign or not to sign, that is the question. I posted back in June about our use of keyword signing. I am truly thankful for the way that sign language has helped to bridge the communication gap for Lucas. And even though Lucas is doing soooooo well with his receptive and expressive spoken language right now, sign language still plays a small role in our daily lives. Here's how:

1. Lucas still signs some words expressively along with his spoken word or approximation. We then know exactly what he's talking about. "Milk", for example, still comes out like "muh" which also sounds like his "more." "Cat", for example, sounds like "at", which also sounds like his "hat." When he signs too, he makes himself clearer, and cuts down on his frustrations.

2. When Lucas takes his ear off and leaves it somewhere (gasp!) or it falls off because the wig tape has lost its stickiness for the day, it comes in handy to be able to sign "where's your CI?" and for him to go and get it. Yes, this one is truly a blessing. It think it's time to invest in some critter clips.

3. Bathtime and I have a love-hate relationship. I love it, because Lucas loves it so much. He would be happy to spend the whole day in the bathtub, in fact. And I hate it, because he can't hear me when I talk to him while bathing. So, when he doesn't have his back to me, I sign to him. These signed expressions can range anywhere from "sit your &@! down" to "you are a fish" to "I love you, my little monkey" to "All done! It's time for bed!" Maybe someday Lucas will get the Nucleus 5 processor, and bathtime can become a richer language experience. But for now, I just get splashed a lot.

4. When it's bedtime, and he hands me his ear, our last parting sentiments are "I love you!" when our signing hands meet in excitement. It's my favorite.

Sign language is not our primary means of communication by any means, but I'm really glad that we've continued with it minimally. However, I am also really thankful that he doesn't have to rely upon it. At this time last year, I'm not quite sure I could have predicted that. M.I.R.A.C.L.E.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fall Fun

Last weekend our family enjoyed spending some time outside and raking leaves. I have to say that this is the first time that I've been comfortable outside just letting Lucas explore. With him only beginning to walk at the end of the summer, I always felt like I had to constantly hover over him, because I was afraid he was going to fall. It was wonderful, and so much fun!

He helped us rake!

He played in the leaves!

He even happily played at his water table without any water in it!
He really has become such a little boy! He can even go down the slide himself now!
He just needs to learn what to do with his second leg... Hope you're enjoying your fall too!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

then and now

10 months

22 months
Happy Halloween! Although we didn't take him trick-or-treating, our little monkey certainly enjoyed handing out candy last night! That is, until he figured out what he was giving out. Then he wanted to keep it for himself. HAHAHA!
We had fun decorating pumpkins with this really cool pumpkin decorating set. The little kids who came to the house were really enthralled by them. The cat is my favorite, of course.

Yesterday we had him dressed in his pumpkin sweatsuit too, complete with stem and everything. So cute!

Hope you had a spooky Halloween too!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

the great imitator

So, it's been a while. And it's certainly not because I don't have things to post about. I also don't like the "I don't have any time" excuse, because I believe you make time for what you want to make time for. Nonetheless, work has been really stressful for me the past couple of weeks, and by the time I put Lucas to bed, tidy up a bit, check my email and do some grading or planning, I'm exhausted. I fell asleep on the couch Thursday night with my computer on my lap at 9:00. I'm also about 2 weeks behind on my blog reading, in case you're wondering where my comments are. I feel totally disconnected.

Lucas continues to increase his spoken vocabulary daily. I've pretty much stopped keeping track, because it's gotten to be too hard to do! I think he's at about 80 words. His speech therapist says she'd expect sentences pretty soon, because he has all the necessary parts down: nouns, verbs, polite words, greetings, pronouns, and directional words. I still marvel every day at his progress.

Last Wednesday, he had his 9-month post-activation mapping appointment and speech evaluation. His map was tweaked a little bit, and speech was not surprisingly really pleased with his progress! Nate and I left CHOP commenting about what a good day it was for a change. We don't go back until the beginning of January for his ANNUAL evaluation. Wow. It's almost been a year.

So, I decided that a funny Lucas video would do for today. Master Lucas has become the great imitator, especially of his daddy. It is now time for us to start to censor what we do and say around him. Enjoy the following video of Lucas imitating his daddy blowing his nose. I promise you, that's not exactly what it sounds like. Lucas thinks so though.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

riding in the car

Riding in the car has always been a challenging environment for Lucas to keep his processor on (and for all young CI kids). And, although he has his moments, he generally has been leaving it alone, yay! Even on the way to and from toddler group (20 minutes each way), he doesn't touch it. I hope it's a new trend.

I noticed today in the car that he was falling asleep, and I really wanted him to wait until we got home. So I decided to try and verbally engage him, which usually isn't possible, and I didn't think would work anyway, because of the noise of the car, etc. Surprise, surprise.

I sang "if you're happy and you know it," and he perked up to clap his hands, stomp his feet, and shout hurray. Then I sang "the wheels on the bus" and he did some of the motions too. For the last part of the trip, until we got home, I asked him to do different things, like "say hi to mommy," and "point to the trees."

Needless to say, we made it home without him falling asleep, and I just realized that my baby can understand me in the car. Talk about exciting! It's no longer wasted time. That is, if he continues to leave his ear on. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

sharing his story

My school district runs an extensive United Way campaign each year. I always sit and admire the strength of the presenter to share how this organization has impacted their life.

This year, I got to be that presenter.

Lucas has received services from 2 local agencies that are funded by the United Way. I've traveled to each of our district's building's faculty meetings to share Lucas's story and talk about how the early intervention services he has received have impacted his outcome immensely.

At the first meeting I attended, I couldn't hold it together. I cried almost the whole time. I don't know if that will ever change, although I've held it together much better at the other meetings so far. Lucas came along, and everyone got to see him in person. He was so great, and really helped my little presentation. Yesterday was my own building's faculty meeting, but Lucas was sleeping, so he couldn't come. Instead, I made the following video to share. I think it made just as much of an impact, if not more. It's a slightly different version from the one that I showed, for privacy sake. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

exciting news

I'm so excited to announce that we will be spending July 2010 in Los Angeles at the John Tracy Clinic!

Here's a little bit of background about the clinic from their website: "After Spencer and Louise Tracy's infant son was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in 1925, Louise Treadwell Tracy devoted her time and energy to studying how deaf children could be taught to communicate with the hearing and speaking world. She patiently guided her son, John, into an understanding of language and lip-reading. With her encouragement, he learned to speak. In 1942, Mrs. Tracy responded to a desperate call for help from twelve other mothers of young deaf children by founding John Tracy Clinic."

Every summer they offer 3, free 3-week international summer sessions. We are attending summer session 3, July 11-30. Lucas will attend a spoken language preschool designed to identify his strengths and needs. Nate & I will participate in an education program to learn about hearing loss, auditory-verbal techniques, emotional support for families and educational services for Lucas. Specialists will provide audiology, counseling and consultation services. Amazing, huh?

This program is seriously a dream come true. I have heard nothing but awesome stories. Over the summer, I intently read about experiences from Miss Kat, Mari, Tayten and Logan.

We will get to meet Nolan and his family there this summer too! Yay!

If you can't tell yet, I'm excited. Really excited.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

night and day

Wednesday at toddler group, it was like I had an entirely different child with me. He played with toys for more than 30 seconds each, he sat for circle time, and he even participated in the craft pretty well. Some of the mommies talked to me, and i even ran into a classmate from high school, who was there with her daughter. It was really fun, and I'm glad we went. We will definitely continue to go.

I think there were a couple of factors that affected his behavior. First, he took a much longer nap this week, so he wasn't running on empty. I also think the room wasn't quite as brand new and exciting, so he just played with what he wanted to, as opposed to every.single.toy.

Next week's task: teaching him not to let the older girls push him around and take toys out of his hands. If he keeps that up, he's in a lot of trouble. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

yes and no

Lucas has officially learned to say the word no. There's no going back with this one! I love that he always nods too. Enjoy the video!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Little Inquisitors

Lucas loves to play with the kitchen!

I found Lucas a young toddler group "preschool" program! It's called Little Inquisitors, and is held Wednesday EVENINGS from 6:30-7:30. That's right, that means that I can take Lucas! It's so perfect. The kids get 1/2 an hour of free play time followed by a circle time and a craft. There's a certified teacher, and best of all, it's free. I'm so excited. I've been looking for some kind of a program to help prepare Lucas for preschool and maybe the toddler group at Clarke this winter. It's always a plus to have hearing peers around too.

This week was the second time Lucas attended. Last week was really great. This week was just okay. That won't discourage us from going back next week though. Last week, one of the mothers asked about Lucas's CI, so I talked about it and everyone listened for a few minutes. It was great to have the opportunity to educate. This week though, there were some different mothers there, who just smiled and looked away. I could have spoken up, but I wasn't in the mood. I don't want his CI to be the center of attention or to detract from other conversations (that I wasn't in on anyway). Maybe next week I'll speak up.

Lucas is definitely the youngest and smallest in the group, so his delays are more apparent. He is approaching 2 and many of these kids are approaching 3. That's doesn't help any. Even with his recent language gains, he still kind of babbles like a baby, which invites a lot of interesting looks. He wouldn't sit for circle time tonight either, so we went and played with the younger kids in another room, which was just fine. I just kind of left feeling a little down.

I'm really not trying to complain. I'm so proud of how far he has come, and I'm so very pleased with all of his recent gains. But I'm also very aware of how far he has to go to catch up with his hearing peers. I know he is on his own path, and that he will do just fine. But I think it's good to keep perspective too. I am generally very positive about everything going on with Lucas, but I do have my moments. Don't we all? Tonight just kind of reminded me of landing in Holland, and wishing I could go to Italy for the day. Tomorrow's another day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

then and now

Airplane then:

Airplane now:

I am just so in love with this kid!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

How does a bunny go?

Don't blink or you might miss this little video.
Hope it makes you smile!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

wait time extended

In the academic world, we hear about a strategy called "wait time" quite often. The idea is to ask a question and wait a few seconds for all students to process before calling on someone to give an answer. In the same sense, we are taught to use "wait time" with our deaf children who are learning to listen, to give them input and wait for a response, instead of modeling the response right away. Some like to call it the "power of pause." An example is to ask Lucas, "how big is Lucas?" and wait for him to raise his arms and vocalize before imitating it and answering "so big!"

I like to think of the last 8 1/2 months as "wait time extended." We have given constant spoken language input and just waited. And waited. And waited. And given more input and waited some more for a response. And right now, 8+ months post activation, he's really starting to give it back. Sometimes I thought these days would never come.

Before Lucas was implanted, I always secretly hoped that he might have really quick success. That hasn't exactly been the case, although he's certainly making progress within normal limits. It's sometimes hard to remember that his hearing age is only 8 1/2 months.

I feel like we finally have a toddler on our hands. We have a little boy that can walk and talk. We have a little boy who can intelligibly hear me whisper from 5 feet away. We have a little boy who can overhear the word "hoarse" out of context in a conversation and sign "horse." We have a little boy in front of whom we must spell some words. We have a little boy who can follow one step instructions, like "walk to..." "get the..." and "sit." We have a little boy who finally likes to imitate us both physically and verbally. Today his daddy got him to attempt an /l/ for Lucas!

It's been worth the wait. We couldn't be more thrilled.

Friday, September 11, 2009

interesting happenings

the neighborhood watchdog

Lucas is having a bit of a language explosion. His speech therapist pointed out that if I'm having trouble keeping up with the running lists on this blog, he's probably having a bit of a surge. Just in the past week, he has added dat - that, uh hu - uh oh, no, mah - mine, eye, hel - help, and rou rou - round & round. He's also changed the way he says banana to a very clear "nana."

Lucas also now says "uh" for both up and down. Hmmmm... we need to work on that one. I have no idea why he started that. We just keep reinforcing the correct words.

Okay... if you look at his signs list on the sidebar, it continues to expand, although he has not seen signs from us in maybe 2 months? Last week he added bear, truck and water. This week he added baby, help, silly and banana. And... I got some of these signs by just prompting, "Lucas, how do you sign ____." That's how I found out he can sign silly and help. He never did those until I basically asked him if he could. Strange.

Lucas has been doing well with identifying body parts, mostly on faces. He will point to his own, and to those in a book or on me. Last night before bed, he found one of his books on body parts, and basically read it to himself. He'd open a page with a belly button on it and pull up his shirt to point to his belly button, etc. So, I then decided to further test his knowledge. I asked him where his hand, leg, toes, feet, and tongue were, and he correctly identified all parts, with this little smirk on his face like "hahaha, you didn't think I knew these, did you?" All of this constant repetition is really paying off.

Another really cute thing he is doing is a bunny "sound." Whenever we do animal sounds, I always ask him, "How does a bunny go?" (knowing that I have no good answer). I then scrunch up my nose repeatedly like a bunny nose. He's now imitating it by opening and closing his mouth. I need to get it on video. It's so cute!

Lastly... for your viewing pleasure, here's a video of our baby who is finally not only walking, but walking in circles. If you listen closely, you might be able to hear him say "rou rou" for round and round and round. Repeating words in threes seems to really be working. Sorry the video is so dark - I take these video clips on my still camera and there wasn't a lot of light at the time. Also, I think his "ear" had just fallen off in all of his silliness... the wig tape had lost its stickiness for the day. The video is not captioned, because it's just baby jargon, and I don't know how to caption that anyway.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

bedtime book routine

Do you remember this post? It's the one about Lucas pushing away all the books he doesn't want to read at bedtime until I pick the right one. Well, things have changed a little.

I talked about how I was looking forward to when Lucas could walk to the bookshelf, and pick out the books he wants to read himself. Lucas is quite mobile on his feet now, so our bedtime book routine has changed to look something like this...

Mommy: Let's read a book!

Lucas: hmmm (points to book)

Mommy: (picks up book after book until she gets the right one)

Lucas: (gets excited and giggles)

Mommy: In the great green room, there was a telephone and a red balloon, and a picture of...

Lucas: (wiggles down from Mommy's lap and toddles over to a toy to play, giggling)

Mommy: Lucas, walk back to Mommy. Let's read a book.

Lucas: (walks back to Mommy, picks a new book himself. Repeats several times, getting off of Mommy's lap and picking a new book.)

Mommy: Five shiny stars were twinkling at the cat.... looking very pretty in the sky like that...

Lucas: (turns to the last page, where Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star plays... bobs his back and forth to the music)

Mommy: All done? Okay. Night, night. Time for bed. (turns out the light, begins to sing Lucas a lullaby)

Lucas: (rips his ear off before Mommy finishes singing...)

Hmmmmm... do you think he's trying to tell me something? Maybe I shouldn't quit my day job and become a singer, but am I really that bad? Well, it's at least become evident that Lucas wants his sound off as soon as the lights go out, a little to my dismay. I put it back on to say "I love you," and then it comes back off.

Bedtimes are my favorite time of day with Lucas. I love the extra special Mommy/Lucas time that it provides. I love the language opportunities. And I love to watch him toddle around his room, especially with the extra big nighttime diaper that makes him look so cute in his pajamas.

Here are a couple of things Lucas is doing now with books. In addition to walking to get the book he wants and bring it back to me, and rocking his head back and forth to the music he hears in certain books, he will also point to objects when prompted. His favorite thing to do is look for the mouse in Goodnight Moon. He thinks it's hysterical when he finds it. So cute! He will point to objects and say and/or sign them too.

He doesn't like to cuddle quite as much as he used to before bed (as is evident with him pulling his ear off and wiggling around), but he still lets me get in my 500-a-day kiss quota, so I'll take it for now.

Yep. My baby is growing up. But I love this new stage!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

ideas borrowed, ideas new

My baby boy has turned into this beautiful toddler, and along with that comes the need for some more sophisticated language activities. I've been a busy, crafty mommy lately! I've been partly motivated by lots of great ideas from my blogging mommy friends, and partly motivated by my need to be extra organized and on-top-of-things with my new work schedule. Here's a list of new activities in our home, hopefully giving credit where credit's due!!!

I cleaned off the top half of our refrigerator and created our "family work board". Right now, it just has the list of strategies that we're supposed to be working on for the week with each of his therapists, and also the summary sheets for the week and/or the handouts we get from them. I picked up the white board and the cork board at the Dollar Tree. I got this idea from Briggs' mom originally, and here's another great example from Aiden's mom. I really like Tammy's idea about the ling sounds, and moving them as you get a response to each one throughout the day. I hope to expand this area with other ideas. But for now, it helps us focus on our strategies for the week.

I also decided, that with a change in Lucas's schedule, I should start a calendar with him, to help him prepare for what tomorrow will bring. He is still a bit young for this, but I know that he will quickly grow into it, and that his language will catch up with it, just like it has with everything else. I originally got the calendar idea from Ben's mom, but then I got the exact calendar idea from Tayten's mom. Here's another variation on the calendar idea from Nolan's mom. You can find that calendar here from the Listening Room, which has a host of other GREAT activities.

Also from the Listening Room, I found these two great posters. This one is for focusing on nursery rhymes and songs, and this one is a game for practicing the learn to listen sounds. We've really been enjoying these. Just today, when I started to sing "Twinkle, twinkle, little star," Lucas touched the star right away. I was so excited! Here are pictures of these two posters, that I've hung in our dining room and playroom, respectively.

Reciting nursery rhymes with Lucas twice a day is one of our strategies for this week. So, I took a clear plastic box (that I found at the Dollar Tree), put in all of the books that we have with nursery rhymes and added the handout on nursery rhymes, so that everything is in reach. Here's what the handout looks like, if you're interested:

We're also working really hard to condition Lucas to the Ling sounds. I feel we're past just waiting for a behavioral response (like Lucas looking up or pausing) and we should be able to get a conditioned response from him, like pointing to his ear or the sound association. I know it's possible, and Aiden has given me some extra motivation! So, I'm using 2 different activities to work on that. One activity is a meal mat from the Listening Room (there are 3 others, if you're interested). I learned about these from Alexander's mom, who apparently got it from Marielle's mom! I say the ling sound, put a piece of food on the appropriate picture, and say it again.. Sometimes I have Lucas try to put it on the right picture. He's been pretty accurate so far. Here's what it looks like:
I soon hope to graduate to this great resource. I used speaker cover material, that I got at the local fabric store, glued it between the two pieces of paper, and voila! Those are the same pictures as the meal mat, and I'm hoping he will start pointing to them soon. Here's what that looks like:

Lastly, I've created quite a few experience books. Lucas's teacher of the deaf has talked about them, I saw some examples at Great Start, and also got ideas from Drew's mom and Peas' mom. I made two of them on Snapfish. They're the flipbooks - you can write one short sentence on each picture, and they're pretty cheap. The other ones I made with photo albums from the Dollar Tree and flashcards with great pictures on them. The two flipbooks are called "Let's go to the petting zoo" and "Let's go to the pool."

The other photo books are "Lucas & family," "my favorite things," "food and animals," "my body parts," and "Lucas' ABC book" (I ran out of pages, so I had to make 2 books). Here's what the books look like (inside too).

While I was looking for links to all of these resources, I found this new activity that I'm going to go print now. How fun! Another source that I'd like to check out is Tune Ups (again from the Listening Room). I called to order it when Drew's mom first posted about it, but it hasn't come yet, so I think my order got lost somewhere. I will have to try again.

Thanks to all of my blog friends for all of the wonderful ideas! Sorry for the super long post. I hope I was able to share some new ideas too! And, I think we're set for a while. Do you have any other ideas you'd like to share?