Monday, March 28, 2011

Somebody is ONE!!!

Wow, what a weekend we have had! Sophie turned the big ONE on Saturday and we celebrated all weekend long. It was quite an extravaganza, complete with two parties, two cakes, never-ending presents, and tons of family and friends. I'd like to thank all of our friends and family that helped Sophie celebrate this weekend! She is a very special girl and lucky to have such great people in her life. Here are some pictures of the birthday madness:

I have been so busy planning the aforementioned parties, I have not had much time to blog lately. There is not too much to update, besides the fact that I now have a toddler on my hands! This last week has brought many emotions, most of them bittersweet because my baby is growing so fast and time is a blur. So much has happened in a year and it's hard to fathom everything we have gone through. At this time last year, I was a brand new mom - exhausted, nervous, yet full of bliss. I was on cloud nine with my tiny angel, but also worried about every little detail at the same time. Is she eating enough? Sleeping enough? Peeing enough? Oh god - does she look yellow?! ;) Also, I had another worry, a big one that I tried to keep locked away inside a little box in the back of my mind. Why did she fail her hearing screening? Why doesn't she startle? I spent what few spare minutes I had in those early days researching about the newborn hearing screening and hearing loss.

And here we are today. Sophie is deaf, but she can hear. She can understand speech and language and she is on her way to talking. How lucky are we??? :)

So, let's see... What is new with Sophie? She knows about 40-50 words now and is learning more everyday. She is my little sponge. Sometimes I can label an item only a handful of times to her and then she has it down. I know I've said it before, but it is really amazing to witness. She is also understanding and following simple directions such as, "Turn off the light," "Take off your shoe," and "Give Mommy your diaper." Sophie is continuing to babble and shriek A LOT and adding in more consonant sounds.  She has not started saying actual words yet and although I'm anxious, I understand that it isn't expected. As far as a language delay, there really isn't one. I think she may have a slight delay in expressive language, because an average 12 month old says a couple of words, but her therapist has been very reassuring. Sophie is actually advanced in receptive language (pretty cool considering she has only been hearing for 2.5 months) and we have been told that this is very important. It shows that she is understanding speech. Here are a couple videos I shot today of Sophie playing with her new toys. They also give you an idea of how she demonstrates that she understands directions and concepts.

Oh - and Sophie also took her first steps a few weeks ago! She is not full-on walking yet, though. I think she prefers to crawl because it is easier and she doesn't have to concentrate as hard. She is quite the speed crawler and will take a few steps here and there, whenever she is in the mood! ;)

Happy Birthday to my sweet Angel!!! I love you so much! XOXO

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My amazement has yet to cease!

Sophie has been hearing for 8 weeks now and her "vocabulary" is increasing almost daily. I videotaped her tonight while we were working on her words. My favorite shot is the very last one - she is trying to decide between the frog or duck and I can just see her wheels turning.  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Mom, what is on her head?"

“Don’t stare, honey.” “Sssshh!” “Let’s not be rude.” These are all comments that I can expect to overhear on an average day when we are out with Sophie. Take today for example – we were out grocery shopping and Sophie was sitting in the front of the cart eating Cheerios, smiling, and blowing raspberries. A little girl across the aisle noticed her and said what a cute baby she is. Sophie started waving as the little girl got closer and passed by, but then the girl noticed her CIs. “Mom, what is on her head?” “I don’t know, sweetie. Please don’t stare, though.”
How am I supposed to handle situations like this? It doesn’t necessarily bother me, but I am just uncertain about how to go about it. The truth is, I have to set a good example for Sophie. I have to teach her how to deal with these situations. Although she is still very young, it won’t be long until she will start to notice the stares and whispers. Lowering my head and pretending not to notice will not teach her to have dignity and grace. I have to show her that she has nothing to be ashamed of and that she needs to be proud of who she is. How do I do that? It’s hard enough sometimes to be a good parent and always do what is best for her. I worry about doing everything right to begin with and now I have this extra worry, an additional parental duty. Honestly, I understand that most people do not even know what a CI is and have never been exposed to this technology. I would love to enlighten them and explain what is on Sophie’s head and how everything works. But am I supposed to run them down and say, “I’m sorry, but I saw you staring at my daughter and whispering about what is on her head…”? Very awkward, right? I guess it may not be ideal, but it is definitely necessary.
I also have another idea of how to handle these situations, thanks to Lucas' Mommy! She created a card to hand out to people when they notice hers son's CIs. I've comtemplated creating some for Sophie, kind-of like this. I think handing out these cards when I notice people staring and whispering will be less awkward than me confronting them. ;) We'll see, I guess.
The thing is, even if I am successful and able to teach Sophie to have pride in her CIs, the thought of her being out in the world without my protection makes me cringe. Can I always be there, right at her side? Ready to fight away the rude comments, stares, and whispers? No, I can’t. And I know by the time Sophie reaches that age, she probably won’t want me to be there anyway. I will just have to do the best I can to make sure she is equipped with the tools needed to handle the ups and downs of life. Like any other mom has to do, just with an extra responsibility.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"More, please!"

That is what I got during dinner tonight. Okay, maybe there was no "please." And really only part of the "more." But I got a very consistent "mmmm" and I will take it. You see, one of the things we are working on with Sophie is getting her to verbally express herself at mealtime (instead of just pointing or leaning in for more food). It is sometimes hard to wait for her to "ask" for more (especially at the end of the day when she is tired and crabby), but she has been doing pretty well. Take a look:

I'm also excited to hear her make more consonant sounds on a consistent basis. She is definitely a lot more verbal lately, but mostly makes vowel sounds. And shrieks! Have I mentioned I have quite the yeller on my hands? No complaints, though. I love hearing any and all sounds that come out of that cute little mouth - it just means we are that much closer to actual words. Know what the best part about "mmmm" is? Mmmmommy! That's right - I can't wait to hear Sophie say that! ;)

In other news, Sophie is turning one in less than a month!!! I cannot believe this year has gone by so fast! Sometimes I look at her and can't believe she is already so big. It's hard to fathom that she will be a toddler soon - very bittersweet. And her personality! She is definitely her own little person. Sweet, smart, generous, and quite the daredevil! Sophie loves to be thrown high up in the air, swung upside down, and tickled all over - she just laughs and laughs. I also know she is going to be walking on her own any day now. She loves to walk using our hands and is a very fast cruiser. I'm just waiting for it - very patiently, though. I'm not quite ready for her to be walking yet! ;)