Being a public school teacher awarded me the day off to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Somehow, although Lucas's "struggles" are not race related, today was a very fitting day for two amazing hearing journey firsts.
Inspired by the success that Mari has had in music therapy, I decided to sign Lucas up for a music class. I found the class through a local rec center. With 4 other 2-year olds, Lucas danced, "sang" and dabbled with 15 or so odd toddler-friendly musical instruments this morning. I find a certain amount of irony in a deaf kid taking a music class, but it was one of those proud CI momma moments.
We were the first to arrive (kind of purposefully), so I was able to explain everything to his instructor. It's kind of hard to explain that he's totally deaf, but he can hear at the same time. She asked me if he could hear and understand us talk, so I decided to show her. I said "Lucas, say hi to Miss ____". He turned, waved and said hi. Point made. I think she needed to see it to really believe it. I can't blame her, because it still amazes me every day too. She was really sweet and told the class up front that "Lucas might not hear everything like everyone else." It was perfect, and really accurate too. I can't wait for the next 11 weeks of class. Although Oma will get to mostly participate in this one too, I have 3 more Mondays off before the class is over. I'm looking forward to it.
There are mixed reviews on music appreciation with the cochlear implant. Technology is improving that link all the time, but I'm under the impression that "busy" music is what's difficult - music with lots of different instruments, singing, etc. So, I believe that isolated music - just singing, just drums, just bells, etc. should be just fine for him. In fact, I think it will be GREAT for him, especially for improving his sound discrimination. His hearing loss will not hold him back from participating in a music class.
I also got to accompany him to aquatic therapy today. Boy was he in for a surprise! He had SOUND in the POOL! Since we've been contemplating private swimming lessons in this kid-friendly pool, I've concluded that his sessions will be more valuable to him if he can hear instructions. So, for his hearing birthday, I ordered a 5"x4" Aloksak bag and a lycra swimming cap from Amazon, and I took an expensive chance. It worked like a charm. It was so funny though, because when I was getting him changed, I kept trying to re-attach his ear, and he kept pulling it off, because he knows he can't have it in the pool, and he was so intent on going swimming. I had to have a heart-to-heart with him, and ask him if he wanted to hear while he swam. Once he understood, he was thrilled. He was able to follow simple instructions in the pool today, like "kick", "push", "blow bubbles", "get the ring" and best of all, "don't splash!". It makes me cry just thinking about it. His hearing loss will not hold him back from hearing while he swims.
hearing in the pool!
Lastly, while at aquatic therapy today, I picked up some free magazines from our area that advertise kid-related events. The one is specifically geared toward special needs kids. When I got home, I found a short article on a deaf teenager. Although I found her story inspiring, I read that she attends a residential deaf school, and when she graduates she may attend a vocational school that specializes in training adults who are deaf and hard of hearing. I'm sure she is happy and thriving, and she will lead a fulfilling life. There's absolutely nothing wrong with attending a vocational school either. But, I can't help but think about how Lucas will not need specialized training like that. And we will never have to send him away to a residential school, unless he asks to go. His hearing loss will not hold him back educationally.
All of these little miracles would not be possible without Lucas's cochlear implant. It's plain and simple. We would love him just the same. We would still see to it that he met his full potential. We would work hard to provide him with enriching experiences. But he would never hear music, he would never have the opportunity to hear in the pool, and he would not have an array of educational options to choose from. No one can deny that. I am a very happy momma today.
Enjoy Lucas in the pool!!!!!!!!!