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!