May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Parade

Hadley and her fabulous Girl Scout troop marched in our town's Memorial Day parade this morning. This is the third year that Hadley has participated, so she knows the drill. Today was complicated by the fact that she has an infection in one ear, preventing her from wearing that hearing aid. She assured me, however, that it just made things easier when the honor guard did the gun salute, as she'd only have to turn off one hearing aid instead of two. I had to laugh at myself when I alerted her to turn her aid back on so she could hear Taps being played. It's not a new experience for her, it's something that she's bound to repeat several more times in her future, her hearing was already further compromised today...but alerting her to special and important sounds is so automatic for us, I did it without thinking. Those principles of auditory-verbal therapy are firmly ingrained in all we do!

One aid or two, Hadley still had a great time marching with her friends. It's great to see her speak up when she needs something repeated and use her coping skills to figure out what has been said. However, it's a tough reminder to see how much harder she has to work with just one hearing aid and how much she does miss. As Hadley's friends get older and know her better, they are more capable of providing the extra support that she needs in these situations, something she relied on quite a bit today.

We don't have many pictures of Hadley where you can see her entire ear; it's very strange to see her without her colorful molds (currently green and white swirled) and purple hearing aids. Hopefully, she'll be sporting two aids in the next day or two!

May 29, 2010

Reading "Never Ask a Bear"

Hadley is hoping to create a video series of reading aloud some books. Here is her first entry, recorded this weekend. She is reading "Never Ask a Bear" by Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud.

I should point out that this is not a well-known book in our house; Hadley picked it out for her brothers a few months ago, but had not read it again since that time. She pretty much plucked the book off the shelf and asked me to start recording. Kids living with a hearing loss (particularly those who have learned to listen and speak through auditory-verbal therapy) can be fluid readers, can add appropriate inflections to the text, can pick up the cadence and rhythm in poetry...and eventually can do it all seamlessly. Perhaps, with enough practice, my camera skills will someday be worthy of her reading!

May 24, 2010

Sticks and Stones

It was bound to happen at some point, but this has been the year of the put down.  Welcome to second grade!  Hadley is a frequent reporter of other people's behavior, so I've heard who-has-said-what-to-whom throughout the year (interestingly enough, I have not been kept current on what-Hadley-says-to-whom, so I can either live in blissful ignorance or let my imagination soar).  Hadley experienced her first put down of her hearing aids when one kid called her "Alien Head" (yes, to you ultra rad readers out there: I know the other meaning, and I can only hope that the 8 year old who said it does not.  And, no, I'm not going to define it, but the helpful people at Urban Dictionary can do that for you). 

After talking about the who-what-where-and-why's of the situation (classmate, while working on a team project, because they were arguing about which idea to use), we moved on to how this made her feel.  Hadley sighed, rolled her eyes, and patiently explained to me that kids will tease other kids about anything and that if she didn't have hearing aids, she'd be teased about something else.  (Hmm, looks like someone paid attention in those anti-bullying programs they ran at school this year.  Or they covered this in an episode of Phineas and Ferb).  And besides, the kid didn't know what he was talking about, since she needs hearing aids to hear.  There was really no need for me to add my $.02 so, other than silently noting that something I had once worried about was a complete non-issue, we moved on from it. 

With all of the spring sports going on, we've had loads of opportunities in the last month to see Hadley out and about with her peers.  One of us made some comment to Hadley about how she knows a lot of the girls and that so many of them came over to say hello to her.  She didn't roll her eyes this time but with a I-can't-believe-I-have-to-spell-this-out-out-for-you sigh said, "Everyone knows me.  I'm the only girl with hearing aids in school.  Of course they remember my name!" 

"Confidence in self", checked off the list.  Now just back to regular parenting, like making sure she's not the one doing the name calling.

May 21, 2010

Am I Hearing Now?

Hadley has fallen into a new routine these last few months where she brings her hearing aids downstairs in the morning to put them in.  She has her own system of checking them every day, a process that usually takes a minute or two.  Lately, she's been the first of the kids to wake up and she's used this time to chat with me.  Hadley is a great lip reader (self-taught; we never focused on developing this as a specific skill), and we can have a conversation surprisingly easily while her hearing aids are still out...if she is looking at me.  The problem is that she'll look down to focus on her hearing aid while I'm answering her question.  Then she'll become annoyed, thinking I ignored her.  It goes something like this:

Hadley: (all sunshine) Good morning, Mom!
Kerry: (equally sunny) Hi, Hadley!
H: So, what's the weather going to be like? (drops head to open kitchen drawer with hearing aid supplies)
K: Warm, you can wear shorts today.
H: (looks up) Mom, I said, "So what's the weather going to be like today?"
K: Warm, you can wear shorts today.
H: (sunny again) Yay!  Should I wear my pink shorts, purple shorts, or a skort? (looks back down)
K: You have gym today, wear shorts.
H: (looks up with great aggravation) Mom, aren't you going to tell me if I should wear shorts or a skort?
K: Shorts, you have gym today.
H: (with great hope) Is it warm enough to wear a tank top? (looks to side while she inserts first aid)
K: As long as you wear a sweatshirt to school.
H: (mild angst, still fiddling with aid) Mom, what do you think?  Tank top? I asked you a question!
K: (breathes deeply, counts to 10) Sure, as long as you wear a sweatshirt.
H: (one aid now on, inserting second aid)  Oh. Were you talking to me the whole time?
K: Yes.
H: Am I hearing now? (realization dawns)  Oh, yes, I am!

Of all the questions we initially had about Hadley's future, I never quite imagined a scenario where she'd be so involved in communicating orally that she'd forget whether or not she was hearing...or that I'd someday hold her accountable for her tone of voice when she couldn't even hear it herself!

May 20, 2010

...and we're back!

A little thing called life got in the way of updating this blog for several months, but a steady stream of you keep asking me when I'm going to start it up again, so here we are.  You can all stop badgering me now!

It's spring (finally) in New England, and the cool mornings and warmer afternoons mean...(insert drum roll)...condensation!  The small plastic tubing that connects the earmold to the hearing aid can collect moisture in these conditions, causing all sorts of annoying problems: sound distortion, general funkiness and (the worst, for many reasons) itchiness.  At night, while she is sound asleep, Hadley jams her finger in there and goes to town.  Ahhh...relief.  Now that she's 8 1/2, it's not cool for me to clip her fingernails to the quick every week, as I do to her brothers.  The problem is that she can nick the inside of her ears, which then turn into uncomfortable cuts that hurt when she wears her hearing aids.  Not cool at all.  The only way for her ear to heal is to leave the hearing aid out...not exactly the ideal solution, especially on a school day.  She usually can tolerate wearing the hearing aid at school for at least half of the day, then removes it and puts it away safely in her backpack.  Not a great solution, but it's a compromise we can live with.

Yesterday morning she woke up complaining of ear pain and, sure enough, I could see the unmistakable signs of a little scratch in her left ear.  I dosed her up on untainted Motrin, gave her the standard instruction to keep the aid in for as long as possible, reminded her where to put it if she took it off, and sent her on her way. 

You're wondering where the story is here, right?

Late in the afternoon, after she returned from school and while I was prepping dinner, I suddenly heard one of my lights buzz.  All of our light bulbs are now the CF kind and, sometimes, they make that irritating buzzing sound.  I went room by room, turning lights off, listening for the sound, turning lights back on, but couldn't figure which one was the problem.  It's an annoying sound, and I was already annoyed enough as it was (by the calls of "Mom, Mama, Mommy...he did/she said/he said/she did").  I took a break (to transfer laundry into the dryer; fun break), and heard it again....from Hadley's schoolbag.  Sure enough, there was her hearing aid, partly on and whistling away merrily...nestled gently inside a case of Japanese erasers.  I wish I could tell you that I was so relieved to solve the case of the mysterious buzzing that I moved along with my day...but instead I reminded/reprimanded Hadley to store her aid in the specially-designed-just-for-hearing-aids container and put in her specially-designed-just-for-hearing-aids dryer when she returns home.  30 minutes of listening to intermittent hearing aid feedback would make even June Cleaver lose her cool.

(and today...she's wearing just one hearing aid.  At some point, you just have to admit defeat!).