Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Brain Dump


I've been so consumed, this week, with Tate and his CI  - which is pure awesomeness, by the way - that you'd think nobody else lived in this house.  And from the noise level, I can assure you that is not the case.

1.  I mentioned our big Fathers Day / June birthday celebration.  My baby - baby, I tell you - turned eleven.  That should be against the law, but then again, consider the alternative...  His last present came in the mail today - another set of Geo-Mags.  Aunty Tami and I bought him the exact same set (great minds work alike) which is just fine.  Geo-Mags are like Lego - more is better.  Since we had all the family together for Fathers Day, his actual birthday - Wednesday - was kind of anti-climactic.  A trip to Coldstone (gourmet ice-cream) made it all good :D

2.  I always have great intentions of launching the boybarians onto a new chore schedule, but the reality is a bit more spontaneous.  I call them to report for duty, explain the task at hand, and they salute and execute.

3.  I've been lamenting the feeling that I'm not getting anything done, and set about to rectify that this morning.  Is it a bit pathetic that I'm excited that we cleaned out a closet and the game cupboard?  And that I'm actually telling you about it?  Jena, you'd be so proud :D  It wasn't exactly a blitz, since there was necessarily sitting involved (sorting out all the K'nex pieces), but we all worked together and got a lot done.

The older minions carried tubs of books down from the school room to the playroom/library.  I may be a bit paranoid, but this house is one hundred ten years old and I don't trust the old balloon framing with too much weight.  Any books we aren't using in a given school year need to move downstairs.

Of course, we had to make room for those books, and the closet... well... too bad I didn't get a before and after.  We cleaned out a TON of stuff.  Games and puzzles the boys have long grown past.  Books nobody reads.  And it's past time to face the reality that I am not the "let's do a fun craft!" type of mom, and move on.  Somebody else can go wild with several bags of colored foam shapes, craft boxes and frames to decorate, face paint, beads, googly-eyes, and colored glitter-glue.  I almost felt guilty, but the boys aren't exactly distraught.

4.  We loaded the back of the van with all the crafty stuff, games, puzzles, books, as well as out-grown clothes from the semi-annual try-everything-on fest, and we're ready for a trip to the consignment store and Goodwill.  Hallelujah and Amen.

5.  Our boys and the neighbors had a big air-soft battle.  In their yard, thankfully, since I'm not keen on having a bazillion plastic BB's decorating mine.  I should've gotten a photo.  We don't have official air-soft protective gear, so the boys have to improvise.  Gunnar wore his bike helmet and snow goggles, but we haven't figured out how to make Tate's bike helmet accommodate his CI, so he substituted his fur-lined hunting hat.  Plenty of padding, but it might get a bit warm!

6.  Public school finished today, and we gloated a little, having finished a week ago.  And it would've been sooner had we not taken three weeks off last fall.  I'd do it again, if we could :D  We watched the kids walking home, right about the time the rain started.  Irony, much?  Welcome to June-uary.

7.  Tate is challenging himself to spend lots of time using just his implant.  The therapist told him the more time he spends with the implant the quicker his brain will adapt, and Tate's the kind of kid who rises to a challenge. 

I pulled out the library books on CD after lunch today and sat with him while he gave that a whirl.  I had no idea what I was getting (as far as audio quality) so this was interesting.

Why, oh why, do they feel like they have to include music in the background???  Or sound effects?  All I wanted was a voice reading the story, not theater!  That just makes it harder work to listen, but we tried.

First, a children's book about Martin Luther King, Jr.  While the choral music was lovely, it was incessant and kind of loud, relative to the speaker.  And the reader himself had a very deep, dramatic voice (kind of like James Earl Jones).  Tate did okay, though.  The speaker read fairly slowly, with pauses between each sentence, which really helped.  And I could tell that Tate could distinguish the sound/cue to turn the page from the reader's voice.  Good!

Next we popped in a Jean Fritz book about John Hancock.  It was a chapter book with a lot more words per page, so Tate had to work harder to keep track of where the reader was in a sentence, or on the page.  But he did great!  This one also had incessant background noise (grrrr!) but it was quieter, relative to the voice.  I wanted Tate to track with his finger, so I could see if he was really able to stay with the reader, but he kept forgetting to do it and I didn't want to distract him, as he was enjoying the story.  He laughed at the funny bits, and immediately gave me a puzzled look when the CD malfunctioned, ("When John Hancock was 38 years old-old-old-old-old-old...") so he was actually doing great.  He told me he couldn't tell it was saying "old-old-old-old-old-old", but suddenly it sounded like a generator.  Yes!  Good listening!

That CD seems to be scratched, so we gave up on that and we'll try another one tomorrow.  I'm amazed, though, that he was able to follow along so well.  He told me he wouldn't have understood the words without seeing the text, but he was putting it together in his head.  It's only been three days!

I had him look away and try to repeat words I said to him and I was AMAZED.  Some he didn't get at all, and some he got some of the sounds, but guessed the wrong word.  But some he nailed.  Baseball, Wyatt, and I love you.  Though he told me that was too predictable ;D

And, he informed me, I have 'graduated' from a drunk, sleepy, slurred mouse to a sober, sleepy, slurred mouse.  But he may have been joking ;D


bioniclissa said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. After activation I went twice a week for about four weeks, then it was bimonthly, then it went to six monthly then yearly. And I havent been for close to four years because they haven't really made me a appointment to go etc. They practically leave you to your own devices which I understand now since I've had mine a long time and they only urge you to make a appointment only if its an emergency. How's Tate doing?

Felicity said...

Way to go, Tate!!

I get really excited about cupboard cleaning too... and nobody here seems to understand my feeling...! ;-)

BTW, what, exactly, is a consignment store?

Liz said...

There is something about Tate that I just love! He is so diligent and hardworking. He is going to do great in life. I am so happy to hear that his Cochlear Implant is doing so well. He is a smart kid!


The dB family said...

Incredible!! I've been completely fascinated by each step of Tate's journey! What a special boy you have! I hope someday we make it out west to meet IRL!


dlefler said...

Matt would LOVE those geo-magnetic things. That kid likes to build 24 hours per day (he's begging me for the Lego architecture kits, which are for older kids, but he's DYING to get one). Happy Birthday to Gunnar!

Tate is working so hard - it is really inspiring to see his work ethic.

The McGowans said...

Oh, I wasn't going to comment again today, but I kept reading and here I am. . .

Our speech therapist told me to get some simple books on tape for Maxim to listen to, only they all have music! Maybe one day he'll be able to distinguish music and words, but right now he needs WORDS.

So I've been reading books into my computer and he listens to them each day. Just my voice and him clapping, or ringing a bell, or playing a piano key, or blowing a whistle for the page turn.

Easier to do with ten minute books than 30 minute (or more) books. I'd love the technology of being able to opt out of the music.