Since my last update, Sonya has made a tremendous leap. Now 21 months, her speech is becoming clearer. She is saying more complex sentences. She is starting to use pronouns. There is still much work to do, but the difference in the past couple of weeks is remarkable.
One of my favorite developments is that Sonya loves to sing! She invents her own “songs,” and loves to sing them:
In addition to singing, Sonya is putting endings on words. For example, “duh” has become “duck,” “hah” is now “hat” and “fee” is “feet.”
Her favorite words are “outside” (which sounds more like “owfide”) and “yuck.” She combines words now and has started to incorporate pronouns into her sentences. While her speech has improved tremendously, her eating habits remain very limited. Any new food I offer usually is looked at with a scowl followed by a very stubborn “yuck!”
Sonya now describes big things as “big” and small things as “baby.” “Big pooper!” she says when she wants to be changed. She refers to herself as “baby” and points to her chest, which I have learned means she wants to do something by herself. When I try to get her shoes on, she resists, points to her chest and shouts “baby!” She hasn’t mastered getting shoes on yet, but her growing independence is both fun and frustrating to watch.
While speech has progressed, Sonya has struggled lately in terms of her sleep and clinginess. Naps are dwindling. I am lucky if she goes down at all these days. She wants me to “si dow!” (sit down) next to her while she falls asleep, and it is very difficult to leave the room (although I do force myself to). I recently noticed that when she wears her CIs outside, she will jump at the sight of strangers (perhaps anticipating a sound she isn’t sure about?) and sounds in the distance including sirens or helicopters. Upon hearing such sounds, she will cling to my legs, look up at me, raise her arms and say, “up mama!”
I have noticed when she does refuse the CIs, her independent nature returns. Rather than cling, Sonya will run ahead of me testing her limits by putting distance between us. I informed our speech therapists and audiologists of this development and we have Sonya scheduled for a mapping adjustment next week. In the following video, Sonya’s new pink sunglasses were a hit, but she wouldn’t wear the CIs. As you can hear, we are dealing with quite a bit of background noise in New York City, which I imagine is a factor.
Last week, while preparing Sonya’s breakfast, she came up to me, hugged my leg and looked up at me sweetly. “I wuv you mama!” she said, unsolicited. At that moment, I thought about all of the people who have helped her say that simple beautiful sentence. From the audiologist who diagnosed her as deaf and encouraged us to get CIs, to her passionate speech therapists at the Center for Hearing and Communication, her incredible surgeon Dr. Tom Roland, and our families who have supported all of us. I am so thankful to all of these people. She couldn’t have said it without them.