Thursday, February 28, 2013

CJ's Blessing Day-Deafness is Their Gift

Every now and then, someone will see CJ and Liam with their hearing devices and make a sad face or say something well intended like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. It must be so hard." Well, sometimes it is hard. It's challenging to say the least, but it's not something to be sorry about. It's the cards we were dealt as a family, and we're handling them just fine.

That said, I wanted to share a story that I've shared before with others, though never really in writing.  It sort of explains why their hearing loss is so "okay" for me, why I don't find it to be some crushing death sentence.

CJ's hearing loss was confirmed when he was seven weeks old.  I'm pretty sure the audiologist hadn't ever told another set of parents that their perfect baby was Deaf because she told us to come back and retest in a few weeks because maybe his brain wasn't fully developed. If I'd known then what I know now, I'd have been worried about far more than just hearing loss upon being told that.  Still, we were clinging to that possibility and opted not to tell a lot of people what was happening with CJ's hearing. I told some of the girls I worked with and a couple of close friends, but that was really it.

CJ's blessing day was just two weeks after the day we'd heard about his hearing loss confirmation. It was a sort of somber morning getting him ready for church that day and I remember that both Byron and I were at a bit of a loss as to what to say.  In our hearts, I know we were both praying for all we were worth that he'd be given his hearing. 

We sat in the back row near some friends whom we hadn't yet told about his hearing loss.  I remember looking at them as they sat staring at my sweet baby telling me how beautiful he was. Just the week prior, my friend, Janna, had held him all during church and just adored him as this perfect little baby. I hadn't told her about his hearing, either.

It felt like an eternity before Byron was asked to bring CJ forward for his blessing.  My heart was pounding and I couldn't hold the tears back as I sat there pleading with God in my heart to please, please, please give this boy his hearing. How could he ever live a "normal" life without one of his major senses?? How on earth could a young mom like me be a good mother to a child with hearing loss?  What could I have done that would ever be so bad that the Lord would take my son's hearing??? 

As the blessing began, I remember finding a way to feel calm and just listen to the words.  First, he was given his name on the records of the church and then it came, "Carter, I bless you that you may never truly hear the words of your fellow beings."  It was like a knife to my heart.  WHAT?!!?  How could he be BLESSED with hearing loss?!?!  I looked up and saw the stunned faces of those in the congregation as they started to quickly realize what had just happened and what was really being said. This baby is Deaf. He doesn't hear. His ears don't function. I felt like all eyes were on me, feeling sorry for me, pitying me. It felt like time had stopped and I was here in this twilight zone space lost and unsure of what to do or where to go. After that eons-long split second, the next sentence came. "Instead, Carter, I bless you with ears tuned in to the Spirit of your Heavenly Father. I bless you with an ability to know and understand the needs of those around you."  I didn't understand at the time what it meant, but I knew I was heartbroken. I was still stuck on the first part, the part that said he wouldn't really ever hear me. 

After his blessing, Janna came up to me and hugged me and said, "I held him all last week and never knew.  He is still so beautiful and so perfect."  She didn't know it then and may not even know it to this day, but I clung to those words.  I needed someone other than myself to see my precious baby as perfect because, to me, he was perfect.  He still is. 

It took me a long time to come around and really understand and embrace what CJ's blessing really meant. It wasn't until he was about three years old and we started to see something in CJ that we've never seen in any other person.  He seemed to have this innate sense about other people. He'd walk up to people at church and randomly hug them, or sit on their laps, or give them the most sincere smile anyone could ever dream of.  That's how he came to know and love his Jim.  He just walked up to Jim one day and plunked himself on his lap and asked to play with his palm pilot and a bond was instantly formed.  The thing is that the people he'd choose to love on were the people who were silently struggling with something of their own. Sometimes he was the only person who could melt the heart of that one person who was just generally "grumpy".  It got to where some people would actually be a little disappointed if CJ didn't stop by and sit with them for a few minutes during church services.  They craved whatever "it" is that CJ possesses.

Even with his cochlear implant, CJ doesn't really hear like you and me.  It's a different kind of sound that we won't ever really comprehend, but he does feel and love and empathize deeper and more honestly than anyone I know. He has a direct line and true bond with his Heavenly Father and has a faith to move mountains.  His prayers are so pure and genuine like something I can only dream of ever having.  Indeed he does have ears tuned in to the Spirit of his Heavenly Father and that is a gift beyond compare.

So, this is why I see hearing loss as something other than a curse. Is it challenging? Oh yes.  And difficult sometimes.  And painful to watch my sons struggle to keep up with their "typical" peers.  Even with all that, I wouldn't trade what they have for anything else.  Deafness is their gift. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Stuff My Deaf Kid Can Do

I've been thinking about this a lot over the past several months. Quite often, someone will see CJ or Liam do something and say, "Wow! I didn't know a Deaf kid could do that".  I love being able to demonstrate that my boys are just like everyone else, but I thought I'd go ahead and put together a couple of lists so people would know for sure what my kids can and can't do. The first list will be the CAN list and the second will be the CAN'T list.  The first list will probably be incomplete.  I'm pretty confident I've got the second list down.

Stuff My Deaf Kid CAN Do
Go to school with his peers
Tell a joke
Toilet Train
Play sports
Ride a bike
Feel emotions
Fall in Love
Reciprocate emotions and feelings of love
Be artistic
Enter the school science fair
Understand religion
Go to college
Go to Grad School
Hold a job
Become famous
Be a doctor
Be a garbage man
Be anything he wants
Get married
Have children
Tell stories
Have a favorite flavor ice cream
Have a favorite book
Have a favorite everything
Understand consequences
Talk back
Order food at a restaurant
Dream big
Make big dreams come to life
Get straight A's
Drive their teachers bonkers
Hold the hand of someone who is hurting
Watch movies
Dream of being in movies
Choose his own clothes
Be completely oblivious that his clothes are completely mismatched
Use the computer
Reprogram the computer
Download fart jokes from the computer
Have a best friend
Be a best friend
Read books about every fact under the sun and then feel the need to share those facts with everyone
Study insects in depth
Go to P.E. in cowboy boots
Make Valentine's for someone special
 Become and Eagle scout
Find a talent
Share a talent
Set a good example for others
Set a not so good example for others
Write a book
Have pets
Become President of the United States
Lobby against the President of the United States
Go to clown school
Join the local fife and drum corp. (CJ just joined and LOVES it)
Become a DJ
Have chores
Invent a rocket ship to take them to the moon
Build a tree house
Make a mud pie
Go hunting
Pretty much everything you and I can do
Stuff My Deaf Kid CAN'T Do

Friday, February 1, 2013

I Tried Something New...And it Worked.

Last week, I posted the following on my other blog:

A little over a week ago, a good friend called and asked if she could send me some essential oils to try. She swears they're changing her life and that of her son, who has special needs. I was admittedly skeptical, but this is a VERY good friend and I trust her completely.  Plus, it was a gift, so I had nothing to lose.  I agreed and she placed the order.  She sent me quite a variety of stuff from doTERRA

She sent me the physician's kit, the onguard toothpaste, some Frankincense, orange, lemon, slim and sassy, and in focus for CJ and Liam.  Today was day three of trying the oils.  I've been keeping a pretty consistent log of what I've seen and giving my friend all the feedback as I've tried it.  I have to be honest: I'm completely shocked.

Day one: I put some orange in the diffuser and the kids couldn't get enough of it when they came home. They just had to all be around it.  I also put some lavender on their feet at bedtime. Liam was out cold in no time and slept through the night. In fact, he's slept through the night both nights he's had it so far. That's kind of a big deal for him. 

Day Two: I put some peppermint in the diffuser in the morning along with some OnGuard.  I keep the diffuser in the kitchen where all the family comes together.  This way, everyone gets it.  Both yesterday and this morning were amazing mornings!  The kids all got right up, dressed, fed themselves, brushed teeth, packed their bags, and made it to the bus with no crying or fighting. This. Was. HUGE!! Huge I tell you!!!  I also put some of the in focus  and onguard on CJ and Liam's neck and feet. 

When they came home from school, I again had the orange going.  The house was just kind of like usual, but not quite so wild. I'll take that.  I gave them the lavender at bedtime, and haven't seen a huge difference in getting them to go to sleep (except Liam. He is out like a light the past two nights.), but I have noticed that all the kids are sleeping through the night nicely. Plus, like I mentioned, they're getting up on time and moving out the door in a much better way.

Byron and I also starting some drops of slim and sassy in our water. It says to put 4 drops in 8 oz. of water. Not enough water!! We have to do about 1 drop to 20 oz or so of water to choke it down. Awful stuff. I won't lie. I can't say right away if it's working, but I do feel full after it. Plus, I have the energy to actually exercise like I should be. 
Day Three: I maintained the same morning routine as yesterday. CJ asked that I not put the oils on his neck because he doesn't like how it feels, so I just did his feet. I did do Liam's neck, but won't do that again because I noticed that it made his skin a little bit red. I asked his teacher, and she said there was no redness an hour later when he arrived at school. Still, I think I may stick with the feet. 

CJ stayed after school for scrapbooking club, which is run by his SLP. I came to pick up, and she pointed out that he managed to stay on task and accomplish a full page today. That's no small task for my sweet CJ.  His ADHD usually gets the best of him by the end of the day, but he managed to stick to his task. Good job, CJ!!  I'm not sure if the in focus is what did it, but I'll keep testing that one.

After school, I did the orange again and noticed something I didn't pick up on yesterday even though it was the same yesterday. Our daily "witching hour" didn't happen. Usually 4:30-6:30pm is utter chaos around here. Kids are whining and arguing over who gets to choose a show on tv, they're bugging me for snacks, fussing over not wanting to do homework, etc.  That didn't happen today or yesterday. In fact, after a long day at school and then scrapbook club, CJ managed to put a good hour and a half into math (his hardest subject) homework without whining one time.  Rachel also got her homework done, and the kids just all played nicely. No fighting or arguing or whining or anything. It was a lovely day. I intend to have that orange stuff going every day as they get off the bus and through our usual witching hour. 

At bedtime, I noticed that the tooth I need work on was hurting again. I went to the
website my friend gave me where you find your symptom and it tells you what to do for it and it suggested using the onguard toothpaste. She had given that to me, but I was afraid it would taste like the slim and sassy, so I'd avoided it. I was pleasantly surprised. It just tasted like cinnamon gum. Yummy! I did take two ibuprofen, but after brushing with the toothpaste, the pain is completely gone. 

I found another use for the oils I think, but I found it totally by accident and I want to test my theory first. Plus, it's pretty TMI. 

Anyway, this is a fun experiment and I'm enjoying learning about essential oils and how they work. It's completely new and way outside my comfort zone, so I like that aspect of it.  For more information, you can go to
my friend's website where she has lots of essential oils information and take a look around.

I'll keep posting about what I like, don't like, and everything in between.  If nothing else, my house smells lovely.

Tonight, I posted the following. I'm sharing this all because it is slowly (or actually really kind of quickly) changing the way things are around here. My kids are happier and healthier. 

I mention a couple of posts ago about the essential oils my friend, Mindy, sent to me. I'm an open-minded person, but I was feeling pretty skeptical that these oils could do what she thought they could do. Since she'd sent them to me, though, and I had done some researched that showed it was perfectly safe, I figured I had nothing to lose.  I can't lie. I'm completely shocked.

I've maintained a pretty consistent regimen with the oils, and can add a few new finds to the list.  The first is Byron's sleeping. It's MUCH improved. It usually takes him hours to fall asleep, but now it's just minutes and he is staying asleep.  I've noticed that things that usually cause him to have anxiety aren't having as much of an effect on him anymore. He's just calmer.

I was using the InTune just for CJ and Liam with their ADHD, but Aiden asked me if he could try it.  He noticed enough of a difference that he now wants to use it every day.  I certainly don't argue.  He puts it on his wrists and the bottoms of his feet. Since it's a roll-on, he wants me to get him his own bottle to take to school to roll on when he feels himself getting silly or starting to zone out a bit.  I'll work on that.

In the evening, all the kids right down to Liam present their feet and request some lavender to be placed on them. They sleep so well through the night when I comply.  The really big kicker?  Liam hasn't had a single poocasso moment since I started the oils. Coincidence?  I guess it's possible, but I kind of think it's something else.

Mindy developed a really bad diaper rash. I tried everything for days, ruled out a yeast infection, and still couldn't get it to improve. I was super nervous to try the oils on her because she's so little and her skin is just so sensitive.  After two straight nights of her not being able to sleep because of the pain, I looked up on the doTERRA site what I should do. They suggested melaluca and lavender with a carrier oil, so I opted to mix those two with aquaphor since that would also protect her skin from added moisture. The stuff was on her skin less than three hours before there was a HUGE difference. She has been completely comfortable ever since. 

I can't say enough about the overall mood in the house. As long as I keep those oils diffusing in the kitchen at the key times of day, everyone is able to stay calm and under control.  There really is no more witching hour here...unless I forget to turn on the diffuser. Yikes!

Today Rachel had a fever and a sore throat.  The fever got up to 102.1 so I gave her some peppermint on her feet, and added melaluca, and onguard on her feet and neck.  That didn't do much to bring the fever down, so I gave her one dose of ibuprofen.  Forty minutes later, the fever was a hint lower, but still up at 101.7. I texted Mindy who suggested letting Rachel suck on the onGuard toothpaste.  I gave her a tiny bit to suck on and ran to the gas station for a cherry slushie. I came back less than twenty minutes later to find her happily playing and singing. SINGING!! She had a sore throat twenty minutes prior.  I decided to check her temp. one more time. 97.4!!!  In twenty minutes, it came down to normal and has stayed that way. She's happy as a clam...and cool as a cucumber.

In the chaos of trying to help Rachel, I'd forgotten to turn on the evening oils in the diffuser. Byron had to work late, dinner wasn't ready, and CJ started to have a meltdown over wanting to use the computer. I grabbed the bottle of lavender and just put it under his nose for a little while. Within 30 seconds of just breathing deeply and calmly, the meltdown was done. Over. I'm so impressed!!

Mindy had enrolled me as a doTERRA consultant, but I had no intention of doing it.  With all these great things happening to us, I can only imagine what they're doing for others.  So, I'm in. I'm going to do it. I'm no pro, but I'm working on it.  I'm enjoying what I'm learning, and I'm excited to share what I know about it.  If you have any questions about this stuff, or are wondering if it might be good for you, please feel free to message me at or leave a question in the comments. I imagine there will be lots of questions I don't have answers for, but I'll do what I can to look them up. 

This has been such a fun adventure for me. I love it when there is an opportunity to try something new. This time, I think it might be something that will bless our family all the way around.