Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hearing in the dark

Its difficult raising a child who's only deaf when he's sleeping. You might think that's an odd statement, but I'm sure I can explain.
We're used to Evan hearing, so we communicate with him as such. When he falls asleep the "ears" come off, and he's as deaf as a door knob. His CIs aren't just waiting beside his crib for him when he awakes. The batteries are removed, and put in the UV sterilization/drying box with the equipment. All the while his other set of batteries are on the charger for the following day. Its the same routine every night, we alternate batteries on the charger and everything is sterilized.
As any parent will tell you, children wake up in the middle of the night for a variety of reasons, Evan is no different. Its an art form trying to sooth a child who's not happy, sick, or just awake at the wrong time. Now imagine doing it deaf. We could go downstairs and put his CIs together with the batteries from the day that just passed, its takes a few minutes but can easily be done. But that's not the point. Generally, when the ears go on, its morning, or after his nap. They wake him up, stimulate him mind. Unless he specifically asks for them, which he does, then we leave them off in the middle of the night. He can talk without them, but he can't hear himself, or anything else, as the door knob comparison explains.
I've come up with my own little ways to communicate with a deaf child. He doesn't know sign, so it's not that. When he requests something, I put up 1 finger, which means wait. I guess I do this when his ears (I'm going to stop with the quotes now) are on because he understands that what he wants is on the way. There's also a lot of pointing, such as pointing to where his head should be, instead of where it is. For the most part it works. He'll say "daddy sit", which is self explanatory, I sit on his rocking chair and he lays back down.
The hard part happens when he's sick and wakes up. He has his normal every-other-week day-care-cold so he's been waking up. Its nice to sooth him, talk to him, rub his back. The back rubbing works, the talking happens, but the listening does not. I guess we just find a way, and work our own magic.
It must be weird to only hear part of the time, since he does know the difference. I think I would be anxious if I couldn't hear the noises around me, and on top of that its dark. I'm not sure how he deals with it, when he's old enough to explain I'll be asking him. I have so many question to ask him, so much I want to learn. I look forward to the day when he can teach me even more then he already teaches me every day.
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