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.

 

 

 

 

Sonya’s Third Year Evaluation

In a month, we will celebrate Sonya’s third birthday! While I can’t believe three years have passed already, I also can’t believe we have only had Sonya for three years in our lives. She has had such a profound impact on who I am.

As Sonya approaches her big day, we are also working on transferring our speech therapy services from Early Intervention (which is state-sponsored) to our local school district. To do so involves a somewhat lengthy process, including:

  1. A referral from Sonya’s EI service coordinator, informing the school district that Sonya was born deaf, has been receiving speech therapy through EI and that she should be considered by the school district for special education services (i.e. speech therapy and in-classroom support);
  2. A psych/ed evaluation, which assesses the child’s physical, mental, behavioral and emotional factors;
  3. A speech and comprehension evaluation, which assesses the child’s current abilities; and
  4. Letters from Sonya’s audiologist and surgeon detailing her hearing loss and the tools she will need to succeed in school (i.e. FM system and receivers).

In the below clip, you can watch excerpts from Sonya’s speech and comprehension evaluation. The entire evaluation was nearly two hours, but this gives you an idea. Also, I was observing behind a one sided mirror – so the quality is a bit grainy.

Once the evaluation is complete, we met with a school administrator who discussed Sonya’s progress and whether she would be granting us the accommodations we requested. Since Sonya will be in preschool five mornings a week this year, we requested a hearing education specialist to be in the classroom with her three times a week; for the school to order an FM system (and receivers that fit on Sonya’s processors) that we can use; reading help once a week; group therapy and individual therapy.

The school board meeting was one I dreaded for a long time. I had heard horror stories from other parents, who said they would resort to tears and refuse to leave the room until the administrator granted an accommodation. I heard of another parent who brings a big black binder with her child’s adorable photo on the cover. Looking extremely organized, she runs the meeting! (It’s actually a phenomenal idea). Thankfully our meeting went very smoothly. That said, we will continue to have them annually until Sonya is out of high school. Chances are, we will face such challenges in our future.

In other news, Sonya has grown so much this summer. I have noticed that when Sonya has a developmental leap, she tends to remove her CIs more frequently. Yesterday, she refused to wear them at speech therapy. It took 30 minutes of prodding before she finally agreed to wear them (the game of hot potato finally coaxed her); and this morning, she threw them off just as we entered NYU’s Cochlear Implant Center for her three month mapping. It’s frustrating to say the least. Sonya speaks loudly without her CIs and tends to hurt herself too. Yesterday she was being crazy and hit her head on the corner of a bench and now sports a small red dot right below her hairline ūüė¶

Something tells me that we are only starting to appreciate the true challenges that await us as parents of a ‘threenager’ ūüôā

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Yep. She’s a threenager.

 

Sonya Gets Stitches

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Sonya recently discovered a new game. It’s one she¬†tends to play¬†when¬†frustrated or tired. She will look at me mischievously, then will pull off her CIs and (while smiling) drop or throw them on the floor. As soon as she sees me get up to put them back on her head, that’s her cue to take off running and laughing hysterically.

Unfortunately, on Tuesday, Sonya¬†ran full speed into our radiator, face first. I don’t think I will ever be able to erase the sound of her little head hitting the wooden radiator cover from my memory, nor the guilt I feel that I could have prevented it.

I wasn’t sure how severe the wound was. She was crying like crazy, but calmed after a few minutes. I didn’t see much blood either. Just a cut that ran an inch length-wise above her eye, crossing her eyebrow diagonally.

I immediately FaceTimed my dad, a physician, who told me to call our pediatrician’s office. They told me to come by right away so that Sonya’s doctor could take a look, and we were there 10 minutes later.

By the time we got there, the bleeding had picked up speed. It was now running down her little cheek. Gotta love our pediatrician who, when entering the examination room to see me in shock¬†and Sonya bleeding, asked calmly, “So, how has your day been?”

“Horrible!” I cried.

After cleaning and examining the wound, he referred us to a plastic surgeon on the Upper East Side – who he said would be able to stitch the wound without impacting the shape of her eyebrow.

I had no idea what was in store. Watching Sonya get stitches was one of the top three (if not the) worst moment of my life so far. Since she is so little, they decided not to sedate her, rather give her local anesthetic – which needed to be injected by needle to the affected site. Sonya screamed in pain. Once the pain relievers went into effect, Sonya still felt the tension of the surgery, so she continued to scream and cry “Mama!” and “Dada!” I meanwhile, tried to hold her down with the help of another nurse to make sure the doctor was able to do his job. Several internal stitches and seven external stitches later, we were done. Sonya got her Thomas the Tank Engine stickers and we went home.

Sonya fell asleep in the Uber back to our apartment, and stayed asleep for a couple hours that afternoon. It wasn’t until she was in her crib asleep that the events of the day hit me, and I am still recovering. Sonya meanwhile, seems to be doing okay with her wound. She points at it from time to time, and says something that sounds like “bobo.” Today, I¬†put a band-aid on her baby doll’s head, and told her that in one week, it would be all better – which is when we will go back to the surgeon to remove the stitches.

So it seems, that Sonya¬†will need to go back to wearing headbands. Hopefully, they prevent her from removing her CIs and taking off like a mad person. I am also further baby-proofing our apartment…Would love to hear any other ideas on how parents kept baby’s CIs on during this toddler phase.