This past weekend, Q and I went to Lantman's Grocery.
He picked out the small cart to push, and we were on our way. He stopped, closely inspecting several green apples. He chose a beautiful one with the utmost care, and placed it carefully in his little basket. We proceeded throughout the store to obtain our remaining needed items.
As I handed him the items (yogurt, creamer, cheese...it was a dairy day!), he took the time and care to place things carefully so they didn't touch or squash anything.
It was incredible to watch him.
It was incredible to watch him LISTEN to directions being given. It was incredible noticing that he understood and comprehended some words, while others he needed a bit of ASL instruction.
We HAVE those tools now.
We HAVE some language in place.
It's still hard, but it's a slow and steady pace everyday.
Bath-time is one of our strongest accomplishments.
For this, Q is Deaf. His implants are off, and we give him a bit of calm so he can relax and play. We exclusively sign his bedtime routine.
Part of me mourns a normal bedtime. Reading books, singing, and overall the peace of quiet and tired communications that so many take for granted.
Soothing a Deaf child has it's challenges.
It's one of the things I noticed early on with Q. I've been fortunate to have a huge family and to have babysat since I was pretty young, so I've had a very healthy exposure to little's. Q was always very clingy, but more so when he needed to rest.
The kid never slept unless he was attached to someone.
Our routine now consists of bath play, and then we use a 'countdown' with the lights to indicate after the tub is emptied that it's time to work our way to the bedroom - if he is overstimulated or tired this is helpful if he is ignoring our signing...which he does! It cracks me up, he will refuse eye contact and not look at us.
After this, he mostly dresses himself. He will turn off his own light, and climb into bed and cover himself up.
There is no way I can ever articulately relay how this has impacted our family. I can't explain the sleepless nights, the time we tried a new nightlight and Q wouldn't sleep in his crib for a week (until we figured out it was the damn nightlight...his vision was his lifeline), and the nights of family disruption as Jim and I were beyond sleep deprived, overworked, and over worried. There are new parents, there are sleep habits that change, but until you have a Deaf or Hard of Hearing child, you have no realization how this impacts sleep. Sounds: fans, shhh noises, singing, and so many other things are soothing to children. Q's hearing was questionable from early on, due to his EVA and mondini. Some things got through, but nothing within the soothing sound-ranges. He had a "Sleep Sheep" that was a little cushioned seat that vibrated, and it was the ONLY thing he would sleep in!!!
At night, due to some recent great advice, I hum while he presses his hand to my jaw. It's soothing for both of us, and I know that he can feel my love even if he can't hear me.
Over the last two weeks we have been working on an almost independent bedtime for Q. Pretty spectacular, and I'm very proud of us!
In addition to the feats during our public outings, Q has been exploring the world with his newfound jumping skills. He has always been a very fast little runner, and always a rough and tumble toddler.
Frequently, he comes home with scrapes, scratches, bruises, and more. He also frequently encounters this during his time with us at home, probably more so as we learn to give him his space and independence (such a hard line to toe for us!!!).
With his bionic ears, and our frequent flier mileage at the hospital, we've been used to the routine of being in the company of the hospital and doctors. Q hasn't generally been a fan of being poked and prodded.
We had a bit of a surprise on Wednesday, when Q had a whoopsie at school. He introduced his forehead to the sharper edge of a rock, at quite a clip.
It was a deep wound, but thankfully very clean.
Through all the hectic moments, Q was a rock-star for Jim and I. We had to wait in the Emergency Department (in the waiting area...there isn't anything for children to do and the chairs are uncomfortable!!!) for two and half hours to even get a bed to be seen.
6 months ago, this would have been an epic disaster for Jim and I, and a meltdown of unknown proportions JUST for the wait. Not to mention the head bleeding major gash we had going on!
With the progress we've made, Q was brilliant. He was hangry, he was hurt, he was sleepy, he was picking up on our stressed parent vibes, and yet...he made us laugh. He walked around and entertained everyone. He sat for SO long and let us take away food from him even though he was starving. He did better than even Jim or I!
He charmed the staff, and though we had to hold him for his nifty zip-tie-dermabond thingy in place of stitches, with the depth and severity of the wound this would have happened with any toddler. He stood on his own for his weight, and helped them put on the sensor to check his levels.
At the conclusion of our stay, our woozy boy wanted to put his backpack on and walk out, and basically clapped and skipped that we were all done.
My heart, weary and stressed, basically exploded.
Changing bandages hasn't been fun, but when the first one was attached to his hair and his eyebrow, I can't blame him for cringing.
My husband wanted Q to go to school the next day, and I wanted Q to stay home. I was also torn, because I knew how worried his friends, mentors, and teachers were. Q also adores school, and he sings, claps, and is the happiest little fella in the mornings on the way in.
6 months ago, I would have kept Q home.
Q went to school, and had a SPECTACULAR day.
We are in the process of healing hearts along with his newly scratched head.
It's a slow and steady pace everyday, but once deep wounds are cleaned well, bandaged, and cared for...they can heal without scars.