Sonya Curses (But Clearly!)

After a long day of speech therapy, the playground, and an annual checkup at Sonya’s pediatrician, Sonya threw off her CIs. They landed in the middle of a very busy West End Avenue. “Dammit!” I shouted as I strapped Sonya into her stroller, locked the brakes and proceeded to run into the street before a car nearly ran over her thirty thousand dollar equipment.

As I returned to the sidewalk, a nanny watching nearby with her own stroller, shook her head at me. At first I thought it was a sympathetic shake as in, “I can’t believe that just happened to you! Toddlers!” shake. But when we crossed paths as we walked back uptown, she shook her head again at me. Yep. It was a judgment shake. I had “exposed” my daughter and her own to blasphemous language.

Little does she know…

At home, it is often the case that…well… my speech is not exactly angelic. I find myself on swearing rampages when Sonya takes her CIs off. The frustration of dealing with a toddler, coupled with the frustration of ensuring that she wear her cochlear implants at all waking hours gets to me. I used to feel relieved that she couldn’t hear when the headband was off. That was, until I took the below video. Sonya is in her bed. She doesn’t want to nap and is crying. And then 15 seconds in…she says….

Apparently, her lip reading skills are not terrible.

A part of me feels very ashamed by this. Obviously, I have failed Sonya for her to use that word. I am sure many people will agree.

And yet, a part of me feels incredibly proud. The “f” and “k” sounds are not easy to produce. She is obviously hearing them well with her cochlear implants, and is producing them, which is actually incredible given that she was born deaf. Her speech has come a long way.

I wonder how many other parents out there can relate to this? When the CIs come off, do you find yourself blowing off steam by way of swearing? Is this really truly horrible? Or, is it actually good for you? A recent study points out that swearing is a “creative, emotional release that can make you feel stronger.” As a mom to a toddler who also is deaf, we have a lot on our plate and i.m.h.o swearing isn’t the worse way to release it.

That said, I do hope that I can teach Sonya alternate ways of expressing herself…this is not that flattering, really.

 

 

 

 

Hearing Loss and Helmets

For young New Yorkers, a scooter is a rite of passage. Walk down West End Avenue, and you will inevitably see a two-year old child (or younger!) careen by in one. Their hands holding the handrails tightly. Their mouths frozen in a smile that borders hysteria; intense fear in their eyes.  Years ago, I swore to Yan that we would never get one for our future child.

Fast forward to this past Spring. Sonya (seated in her stroller) would point at children on scooters on our way to school. “I want that!” she told me. “I want a purple one!”

“Uh huh,” I said. Trying not to encourage it.

“Mom!” Sonya’s eyes lit up. “We can go buy one at the store!” It wasn’t a demand as much as a realization.

A week later, I gave in (yep…I know….judgers gonna judge). We went to West Side Kids toy store, and Sonya picked out the scooter of her dreams. She was so thrilled she rode it out of the store.

Here she is enjoying her first ride:

West Side Kids only had a limited selection of helmets. We went with a Nutcase helmet – mainly because they were cute (again…I know). Sonya picked one out with pink and orange flowers. The sales person removed some of the styrofoam protection on the inside, so that the coils of her CIs would not fall off as soon as we put it on.

Unfortunately, the helmet didn’t work. It either hung too loosely (and would knock of her CIs every time she turned her head) or would be too tight to put on with the CIs comfortably and without sliding her headband down her forehead in front of her eyes. It was also impossible to tell if the CIs were working or not. The helmet blocked me from seeing the front of her processors (which blink green if the CIs are working and yellow if not).

After a couple falls we put the scooter away. Sonya didn’t want to ride it anymore, and I didn’t want her to either – not until we had a solution that didn’t involve her riding without a helmet or without sound.

Per the advice of a friend (who’s son faced a similar dilemma), I took Sonya to Bicycle Renaissance to see if they could fix her helmet. After careful inspection, the salesman told me the Nutcase helmet was just not right for her. She needed something bigger with a flexible inside so that we could adjust it to fit her CIs. He suggested a Bern.

I bought Sonya a Bern Unlimited Jr. helmet from Amazon. I love it so far. The main positive is it has a velcro strap in the back that easily allows us to customize the fit to her head – with the CIs on. I can easily see the CIs blinking on her ears (as the helmet rests a bit further back on her head), and yet the coverage is still very good (with a sun visor no less). Sonya loves the bright pink color and wears it when we are home for fun. Win win!

 

Today, Sonya talks frequently about her scooter. She points to it proudly and declares “that’s mines!” each time we get out of the elevator to our floor as it sits in our hallway outside of our apartment. Unfortunately, she isn’t yet feeling up to riding it (and we aren’t pushing her to do so). She is a pretty cautious child after all, and a couple of those falls weren’t pretty. That said, I feel better knowing that at least we have a helmet that fits in the event she decides to give it another whirl (that is until she outgrows it…. I guess we have a couple months :).