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.
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.
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.
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: (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!
Lucas was born with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss to two hearing parents. He wore hearing aids starting at 3 months, but he got no benefit from them, as we soon found out. He received a cochlear implant in his right ear 3 days after his first birthday. His second ear was implanted 1 month before his third birthday. Cochlear implants have changed Lucas's life immensely. This site was developed to chronicle his life and progress learning to listen and speak!