Monday, January 01, 2007
The Belated Christmas Gift
Since the last post, things have been a tad bit busy around here getting ready for Christmas with 4 kids. We had Darby's birthday, a visit from Grandma and a Christmas Pageant. It was Jaden’s first year to begin to understand the whole Santa thing and also to understand that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday – a wonderful time.
Jack’s first Christmas - he did not seem to understand at all what we were doing that morning nor what all the fuss was about. He got a bike helmet and associated gear and was not really impressed – he does like the horn, though.
Jaden tore into her gifts right along with Darby and Carter. It was fun to watch.
We did try something new this year. Darby, Carter and I sat with a pile of blank thank you notes and wrote thank-you’s as we opened gifts. It slowed us down a bit and enabled us to focus a little more on being thankful. We had a hard time keeping up with Jaden, but Chris filled in the gaps there afterward. I think this will be standard procedure around here from now on!
There was also a bit of excitement around our birthday cake for Jesus.
I know many people are waiting to hear about Jack’s hearing. Jack’s appointment with the audiologist was on the 29th at the California Ear Institute in Palo Alto. We took the whole family for this important event. We went to San Francisco on Thursday night and stayed at the Embassy Suites. The kids swam in the completely frigid pool and enjoyed the snacks and the “fanciness” of the hotel. This trip was our first with 4 kids and our travel woes are now a reality. We don’t fit in a regular hotel room anymore and we don’t fit in a regular car anymore. I think there will be more stories about us in the Embassy Suites in the future…
So, in the morning we drove the rest of the way down to Palo Alto. The audiologist was really great. First, we tested Jack’s hearing with headphones on. Unaided, he is hearing 55-60db across frequencies. This is consistent with him being able to hear us – especially if we speak loudly and close to him. She explained the BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid) to us and then put it on Jack. He was very quiet when it was first on his head. He seemed to be concentrating very hard and a bit confused by all the new noise. He did not try to take it off at all. She then tested his hearing with the BAHA on. He tested hearing within the conversational range – about 20 db across frequencies – awesome! We then left with this simple little device that will change Jack’s life.
In the afternoon, we went to the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Darby, Carter and Jaden all found this place to be fascinating. We left with a membership! While we were there, Jack was tapping his head. I kept trying to figure out what was wrong. He wasn’t crying, but he seemed to not be happy. Finally, I looked at his BAHA and the volume had been turned down to zero. I turned it back up and he was happy again! Pretty cool. When we went back to the car, Carter leaned over Jack and said, “Hi.” Jack looked right back at him and said, “Hi,” clear as day. The “H” sound is very soft and we have NEVER heard Jack make this sound! Carter was thrilled.
Since that day, we have learned that the BAHA is a little finicky and will squeal with feedback whenever it is touched. Jack does not find this amusing and his head touches a lot of stuff unintentionally – he is, afterall a two year old. Things like the car seat, the back of the high chair, a loving 3 year old sister – all can be problematic. We are adjusting and Jack’s reaction to the feedback is milder now. We know better how to get it on and off without making Jack cry.
We have noticed that Jack already looks forward to having it on and will tap his head for you to put it on in the morning and after his nap – he likes to hear! His tantrums are definitely down in frequency and he understands us better. He has said a few phrases and the words he tries to say are clearer by the day. He wants to sit in our laps and have a book read to him more often and loves to listen to the noisy toys. He used to smash them up against his head to hear them. He tried that the first few times out of habit and hit the BAHA – SQUEAL! Ouch! He doesn’t do that anymore… This morning he pointed to a toy and said, “Gimme.” He says “Uh, oh” when something drops instead of “uh, uh.” It is just a million little things that add up to AMAZING. We are enjoying our belated Christmas gift beyond belief.
For some reason, my photos will not load - so you will still have to wait for photos!