Wednesday, March 24, 2010


It's "P" Week at our house! 

Well, it started with the kids on Sunday before I had even announced it was "P" Week.  
Taylor is really good at fighting while getting her diaper changed, and a poopy diaper fight resulted in my getting a poopy bottom flipping over in my face and getting poop smeared on my chin.  As I'm finishing the cleanup from that, Derek wants me to assist him in the bathroom because he has decided to start peeing standing up, rather than sitting, and has peed all over the seat and floor.  I had rushed away from Taylor before getting a fresh diaper on her, and when I came back to her, she had peed on my bed.  Later that day, Derek peed on the floor in the bathroom two more times while trying to figure out how to pee standing.  Why he decided to start it on that day when his dad was at work is beyond me.  And this was all in one afternoon.

The next day, we annouced it was "P" Week.  The Cochlear website has some really helpful educational materials, including Speech Sounds.  Please see the attached link:

It has a weekly/bi-weekly instruction guide for various consonants, complete with associated activities, words, books, songs, foods, etc.  It is great!  We are going to cover a consonant per week.  It is working double-duty for both Taylor and Derek (age 3). 

As I said, this is P week.  Our dog Maverick celebrated on Monday by eating a mouse/rat/baby rabbit and then PUKING in our house.  The P's continue...

On Tuesday, Derek started at Pre-school.  He was terrified when getting dropped off, but perfectly happy about preschool when I picked him up. 

So far this week, we have
 Popped bubbles
Ate pizza, pineapple, and peanut butter
Peeled carrots
Listened to a purple piccolo dinosaur on Little Einstein's
Hopped like a frog
Poured Sand
Ate Spaghetti
Wiped Up
Patted and clapped to music
Played with a Purse
and experienced Pee, Puke, and Poop.

We are loving P week and all of the language learning opportunities and ideas that it is giving us.  Check it out!  19 weeks to go!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bling It! and More Words

Taylor is a girly-girl! We like to decorate her headbands and CI covers to go with her outfits. We have quite a collection of headbands now, and have 4 sets of the CI covers so far. See the "Hoorah for Headbands" blog for more information on the headbands.
Taylor is talking more. She is saying a lot of words on her own without my prompting, and then her repeating.
Our neighbors got a new kitten, and she said "Baby Kitty."
Derek was going potty and she said "Pee pee."
Daddy got home and she said "ya-ya". Sometimes we have heard her say "Dada", but more often it still comes out "ya-ya".
She can point to her eye and say "eyes."
We have a mapping appointment this week. It has been about 3 months since the last mapping. We're hoping for even better results after this appointment.
This week, Grandma and Grandpa were here. Grandma asked Derek to do something, and he said "Noooo!" Then Taylor helped the cause by adding her "NNNNooooo!" My mom thought this was pretty funny. We have Skyped with them, but they hadn't seen Derek and Taylor since early January. They were impressed by her progress.
On the blog design, I had to take off the side posting about Words Taylor Knows; it got too long months ago so I gave up on tracking that one. I am still tracking Words Taylor Says. I know that she does say more words than this, but I try to remember as many as possible. She is starting to add more words daily.

Monday, March 8, 2010

From the Parent’s Perspective - Teaching Materials, etc.

Another month has gone by! How is that possible? Well, in the past month, I’ve been to Jacksonville, Florida; Birmingham, Alabama; Kansas City; and Oklahoma City (3 times.) I am feeling like a road warrior and the road is starting to win the battle. I travel for my job, usually once a month or so, but it has been more frequent in the past few months, averaging around twice a month. Those were the trips to Jacksonville and Birmingham. The Kansas City trip was for fun, to catch up with family and friends that we haven’t seen in a long while. And every Friday, we drive about 8 hours roundtrip to take Taylor to her weekly therapy appointment. I’m actually writing this from the airport in Memphis. Not much else to do in this airport – now at Atlanta’s airport, I could go to the Xpress Spa for a pedicure. Maybe another time…
Taylor is now 21 months old, and in a few more days, it will be six months since her activation. While so much progress has been made, the worry and analysis endures. Are we doing the right thing(s)? How much therapy is enough? Should Mom keep working? What’s the right place/type of therapy? Does Taylor need to go to an AV pre-school (necessitating a family relocation?)
Last weekend, when we spent the weekend with friends who have a daughter who is almost two and a half, I worried that Taylor’s Dad would be making constant comparisons of the girls and how Taylor was progressing. It’s kind of a double-edged sword because although we know how far Taylor has come in less than six months, we do want to compare her to other kids to see how she is doing – is she comprehending at an age-appropriate level? Is she speaking at an age-appropriate level? What would she be doing if she wasn’t deaf and could have heard from the time that she was born? We are always between the happiness that she is progressing well and the fear that our happiness with her progression could lead to complacency. How good is good enough? Is there a point of “good enough?” Enough work, enough reading, enough words. There are still the rare times that it flat out makes me mad that she has to go through all of this and couldn’t have just been born hearing like most kids. The 5 hour surgery when she was really still a baby. Learning to comprehend sound. All of the extra work to do something that doesn’t come naturally to her.
Our babysitter quit and last week was her final week. This week, we’ve had super-Grandma Cherie watching the kids and they have been having the best time. Next week, we have a new babysitter starting. This will be the third one since Taylor was born. I really hope she stays with us for a long time. It’s a tough transition for the kids and for the parents.
Derek is going to start pre-school now that he’s 3. It will be 3 days a week for about 2.5 hours, a great opportunity for him, and allows for some one-on-one time with Taylor. Working with her at home (i.e. books, language development games) has been a challenge. We really have to split up and each take a kid. The simple books that we try to read with Taylor are not enough to keep Derek’s interest. Due to my travel for work and Dad’s work schedule, a lot of times in the evening, only one of us is there, so one-on-one time can be a challenge. They’re only 17 months apart so these challenges are typical in some ways of any family with 2 toddlers close together.
There are a couple of learning tools that we have been using for both Derek and Taylor. The Your Baby Can Read set is great. There are videos, books, flashcards videos, sliding word/picture cards. They are nice for infants. We got the set when Taylor was 9 months old and she really enjoyed them at that time. At 20 months, they don’t hold Taylor’s interest. The books, flashcards, and sliding word/picture cards are all great. They allow for us to do “audition” first, saying the word as she sees it in written form, then sliding open to expose the picture. They are great! Our 3-year-old son also enjoys these cards and books. The pictures are very realistic, mostly photographs of actual objects/forms rather than cartoonish illustrations like some baby books. I can see them continuing to be useful until kindergarten or so because it will help them with sight words.
After we found out Taylor was deaf, but before we had the CI surgery, I bought the Signing Time set of videos and books. The videos are really cute with good music. They show the written word as they verbalize it, and then show children making the signs for it. They usually show very cartoonish illustrations of the subject at hand. Overall, the videos are really geared toward a hearing child who is learning to sign for fun and to encourage earlier communication. I personally found them frustrating because from my deaf child’s perspective, I couldn’t see how she could possibly learn to associate the sign with the subject because the pictures were cartoonish and shown minimally as compared to showing the children doing the sign while they said it. I would only encourage these if your child can hear normally or with hearing aids or CI’s. As for the books/supplemental materials, I wasn’t happy with these either because the illustrations are cartoonish and more focused on showing the signs rather than the subject.
We have loved the DVD collections of Baby Einsteins (for 18 months or younger) and the Little Einsteins (for about 15 months and up). They have been wonderful and really encourage active listening.