Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The First 16 Months with a Deaf Baby...Christina


Today is Christian's CI Activation Day
(From Christina's Blog four days ago...)
I've been reflecting a lot on these past 16 months with Christian. It's amazing to think that these 16 months with him have gone by so incredibly fast. We have had SO much to deal with, just as new parents. The first couple of months were the hardest. I remember feeling angry at other parents who would complain about their children having food allergies, or nap problems, or their baby wouldn't want to be put down. I remember thinking to myself "God, if that is ALL I had to deal with, I would be forever grateful". I remember wondering how it would be to be a Mommy to a "typically hearing" baby.

I remember being jealous of other friends who didn't spend their weeks traveling from specialist to specialist for their kid. I would think to myself "Why can't life be like that for me?". I would detest hearing about which music class this family goes to, and how many words this little child speaks. I would hear other Moms fret about their child waking up to the sound of the mail being dropped in their mail slot thinking "AT LEAST HE CAN HEAR!". I remember countless nights of falling asleep crying, praying, and asking God "Why Us God, WHY?". I lived under a cloud of doubt and self-pity. I have no doubt in my mind that I definitely was depressed. Above all, I was angry.

And then, I woke-up one day, and literally, I felt brighter.

I realized that Christian would be fine. We would be fine. His laugh became my medicine, and I learned to take each day as a new adventure. And I know that I've said this time and time again, but once I learned to not let his hearing loss define who he is, I also learned to not let it define who I am either. I let go of the anger. And I embraced our life.

Christian has blossomed into such a beautiful and intelligent child. His language skills amaze everyone. He babbles, and has words, and he WANTS TO TALK. He is silly, and sweet, and is all boy. He is smart, he is loving, and he is curious. He is everything that I dreamt of, and prayed for. I wouldn't change a single thing about him, or our life.

So, here we are. Activation Day. I'm happy. I'm content. And I'm eagerly awaiting to see what else is on tap for our family.

Good Luck Tina and Co...This is ONLY the Beginning!

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your daughter is a robot now. What kind of parent are you?

Lazy? Confounded? Denial?

How would you feel if I as a deaf parent had my hearing kid's cochleas removed, and she became deaf like me? You'd feel haunted and angered as we deaf people feel the same way over your daughter's abuse from you.

Your story is full of crap, and I feel sorry for your innocent daughter. Refusing to learn sign language and getting her plugged are considered to be unjustifiably inhumane.

I'm praying that she will later realize what kind of parent you are -- totally inhumane. Shame on you!

Valerie said...

Anonymous,
You have no right to pass judgement on anyone. I suggest you take your negative attitude and comments somewhere else. This blog is blog is postive experiences.

And for your comment in the last paragraph - F**k off!!!! I am sick of people passing judgement on cochlear implants. I'm not a robot, Christian is not a robot, Jordan is not a robot, none of us are.....get facts and educate yourself.
Valerie

Val said...

First of all anonymous wants to get a rise out of people, won't happen here with me. We would never take something from our children...we are giving. We are giving them sound, we are giving them language, we are giving them music, we are giving them their little great grandmother's frail voice. We are only giving, never taking. They weren't born knowing sign, some choose to give that as well...shame on you for being so rude to a mother who is trying to GIVE.

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Dear Anonymous,
First of all, the person in question is an adorable little boy who has been learning ASL with his VERY dedicated and wonderful mother. Save your prayers and use them where they will truly be necessary.
My son does not sign, if you have a gripe, please address it to me, and not the mother who has been doing her best to give her beautiful son the absolute best of all worlds.
Misplaced anger is a complete waste of energy.
Jodi

Abbie said...

I'm so excited for Christian!! This is going to be a entirely new period of motherhood now :)

Anonymous,

Do you really think insulting hearing parents that chose to get a cochlear implant for their deaf child is going to attract them to the deaf culture?

Do you reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally really think that?

Since you are deaf, you would never understand how much you are missing in life but hearing parents do know how much their child will be missing. There is more to life then just sign language, so much more. And for you to sit there and think that every parent that makes the extremely had decision to have their child is a bad parents, you need to do your research.

I'm not a parent but if I was and anyone even suggested that I was a bad parent, I would tell them to phuck themselves and I know the signs for that.

Val said...

haha, Abbie you are hilarious

Karen said...

Wishing you a happy activation day! :)

Anne Marie said...

Anonymous, think of holiday, family reunion, friends gathering times. Have you been there? From all Deaf family background to being with three hearing families (my son's two Deaf friends) and my husband's family in Israel. I cried many times.

One of three families got a grant to pay me to teach them, their extended family members and close friends signing for about two months on once weekly basis. Many tried to come only when they can make it. Most of them showed up less than an half of time. That is all it can be done, it is very very difficult. Thank goodness their Deaf son can hear some enough to develop good speech skills. At the same time he is also developing ASL skills through interaction with us during play dates plus at his school with other signers.

They got smarter, they requested for ASL assessment for their son through IEP to see where he needs to hound ASL skills. I first asked if their son can fit in hearing world well enough, their reply, yes but with limits..for sure. They can see their son figured that being bilingual is the way to go, it makes sense for this child to have the best of both world.

Then that family continue working on ASL skills doing really their best with low ASL input except ASL classes and Deaf social events Not easy. The mother decided to go in an interpreting training program to keep on developing ASL skills as she is seeing if she may be able to take the advantage of interesting career opportunity or it would be all for her son and their family plus ASL friends.

I love the mother, we became very good friends. Instead of becoming dependent on us, she figured out to go out into Deaf community and made few selected Deaf friends with Deaf children. Thinking about this mom, she is socially gregarious and outgoing person, this really helps. For 8 years we watched how their backyard grew into a small Martha Vineyard. Very cool but again, not easy. It is a journey. It can be made a positive experience if parents can see rewards and appreciate them.

I only wish that Christina's mother did mention using ASL with their child, that is the point. Keep balance and let Deaf - Hoh kids somehow figure out what works best for them, at most of the time, best with all opportunities, not options.

I am pointing mostly at Deaf - Hoh ed programs, they should offer everything in mainstreaming setting with a large number of Deaf and Hoh students and good Deaf - Hoh role models. I can imagine Abbie, Valerie, plus fluent ASL signing Deaf teachers co working with hearing teachers, all of them being bilingual - bicultural models will definitely show how Deaf, Hoh - CI kids can make best of their own potentials with positive outcomes.

This is what many home school districts try to prevent this from happening because they do not want to tuition out Deaf - Hoh children to a center program. Many many parents are not well informed and continue making do. It is time for parents to become more aware and insist for a mainstreaming program with critical mass and bilingual-bicultural staff workers. This will not happen without enough parents being aware and fight for it.

Ok done enough of me blabbing, I had a sleepless night because of all this. I have a second son now 16 mos old and he is Deaf too. : )

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Hi Anne Marie,
Thank you so much for your comment...Jodi

And to all the other ladies...What's with the language??? Valerie - I am Scandalized! I'm such a bad influence *smile*

Valerie said...

Sorry Jodi, I lost it. I broke my own rule, never let them bring you down. Bully, oh I mean anonymous will not get a rise from me again. Val, you always have good advice!

My punishment is a few ice teas with nachos and a couple of extra hours listening to the ipod!
Valerie

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Val,
Don't...Tease...Me!:(((( Jodi

Abbie said...

*snicker*

Val's Jersey roots are showing :)

Mary said...

Val,

I agree with Anonymous. Your positive experiences with plugged kids disgust all of us.

Yes, you are definitely a robot, Christian is definitely a robot, Jordan is definitely a robot, all of you being plugged are definitely the robots!

Mary said...

Val,

You stated, "They weren't born knowing sign, some choose to give that as well...shame on you for being so rude to a mother who is trying to GIVE."

Well, they weren't also born knowing speak. Pluggin' your kid over your typical excuses after a few years of attempts of signing is really a dumb move.

Anonymous said...

To those who seem anti-CIS, I am curious about your opinion regarding hearing aids. If a deaf child hears quite well with hearing aids, listens to the world around him or her, picks up oral language through these hearing aids--do you have a problem with that? What if that child was taught some signs, used some when young, then dropped them when they began speaking--much like many hearing babies who use baby sign and then stop when they learn to speak--surely you don't have a problem with that. The issue seems to be with the CI--I can't speak about those because my child hears wonderfully with hearing aids. But for some kids, it gives them access to the sounds of the world--it is a beautiful thing! Are you also anti-hearing aids? Just wondering--because some kids wear hearing aids and learn to listen and speak just as hearing kids do once they have access to speech sounds through amplification. Is it the surgery that bothers you so much? If CIs were just placed on ears like hearing aids instead of implanted with surgery, would you feel the same way? Please tell me you aren't against deaf children using hearing aids--there is SUCH a wide range of hearing loss--a child with moderate to severe loss can often hear VERY well with hearing aids--well enough to ENJOY listening--not FORCED to listen--something they LOVE to do and hate to miss out on. And lots of kids with hearing aids learn to speak very well simply by listening to speech and learning as hearing kids do. I know MANY kids who wear hearing aids who speak beautifully, and they LOVE to talk, and they would greatly miss doing so. So is the issue just CIs?

Abbie said...

Anne Marie,

That is exactly what I am hoping to do because I see no reason not to learn both, English and ASL if the child can do both. They are equally beautifully!

Mary,

Allow me to be the first one to point out that the human body is designed to hear and speak.

If the human body was not meant to hear, we wouldn't have ears.

If we weren't meant to speak, we wouldn't have a voice box.

:)

Abbie said...

Anne Marie,

I can't type tonight! I meant to say they are equally beautiful!

Time to get my nails trimmed.

Valerie said...

mary,

I'm sorry you see me as robot.

My daughter sees me as mom, who can dance to her music, listen as she tells about her day, hear her cry since I missed that when she was born and cuddle and talk.

My students see me as a teacher who cares and love them. My parents as information as they struggle to help their children.

My parents as a child who they love regardless of anything.

My sisters as a sister who does their laudry.

My friends as a friend.

To me, I am me.

So robot no, oh I mean hell no. You must be not understand CIs or my deafness. Before you call others names, look in the mirror. YOu can't damage my self-esteem, but to deaf children, you might. Thank goodness for these wonderful parents who are developing the future leaders of society. They will show the world that we are human beings. They will make changes to society.

Valerie

Donny said...

Valerie,

Were you born deaf or hearing?

Donny

Valerie said...

Donny,
My parents thought that I lost my hearing due to rheumetic fever, but we are now learning that I most likely was born hard of hearing. This is due family history. My doctor and I are talking about gene testing.

Mary said...

Abbie,

Hope you are scheduled to get your fingers declawed.

Mary

Val said...

The only other thing I'll comment on is is this...after attempting sign and being unsuccessful, getting little to no results...I had to move forward w/language. I didn't care if he wanted use the Morris code, we had to communicate. A desperate child to get any type of auditory feedback when there was just nothing left, would stick his hearing aid mic directly up to the tv speaker just to hear something...he didn't care what it was, he just wanted sound. Everything happens for a reason and I think the Lord knew what he was doing when he gave my children sound. He knew they would really appreciate it. You'll waste time responding to me as I must move on and have no interest in reading any more dialogue on ci bashing.

Divided said...

To the first anonymous, Mary and others who are anti-CI....go where the sun don't shine!!!

Sorry Jodi + all, I just had to say this.

Anonymous said...

If your little robots become dumber and dumber from your excuses and denials, please don't dump them at the schools for the deaf. Get it?

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

*yawn* Morning! Have a good one...Jodi

Christian's Mommy said...

Hey Gang,
Yeah... the Anonymous poster commented on my blog too...and I read it on activation day. I didn't even feel like "going there", and kept my response to a minimum. Thank you EVERYONE who went up to bat for us....we love you.