This was one of my most recent updates about SJ’s progress in her cochlear implant journey, which was posted August 12, 2014.
“I feel like we have been at a stand still over the summer. I always keep a log of new words and phrases that I notice SJ saying and the last time I did an entry was the two months ago. Maybe some of it’s because I have been too busy to notice, or maybe it’s because she was on vacation and out of school so she is just plateauing. Or perhaps this would be a slower time anyway. These burst of vocabulary breakthroughs do tend to happen in waves.”
I tried to stay positive, but when I know SJ has so much catching up to do it is hard to see so little progress. Fortunately we did have another wave of new words come last month. She was suddenly communicating so much I could barely keep up.
One day in September I dropped Z off at Sunday School, but since there are no classes for my youngest children I just take them to have donuts with my mom (their Me’me’). I told my mom that was one time I was a little grateful that SJ couldn’t talk too much because if she told her brother he was missing donut time he’d be upset.
It wasn’t but a week later that we were going to do our donut tradition and SJ piped up “Donuts with Me’Me’?” I couldn’t believe my ears. She wasn’t copying something I said, she just had the language to say it herself and I was blown away. Although it was also a little comical since I had been trying to keep our donut outing a secret!
Another time shortly after that I was trying to convince her to wear a headband.
She used to wear headbands all the time to keep her Cochlear Implants on until one day she decided she didn’t like them anymore. So now we keep the CI’s on her ears with special tape. It’s technically used for wigs and toupees. Anyway, I prefer the headbands for various reasons so I thought I would see if she would switch back, but she clearly told me
“I don’t like headband. I like tape.”
This is a big breakthrough for her to be able to express her desires so clearly. It certainly alleviates a lot of frustration for both of us.
I have just a few more stories for you, and for me actually because I want to look back this time next year and remember what her sentences were like.
One night SJ brought me a package of Oreos and with a sheepish grin she lifts up a finger and says “One?” Then she says “Not two. Not five.” As she shakes her head. How can I resist? I tell her okay then she immediately asks “One for baby Ezie?” Again I was just amazed at how much she was able to communicate and it certainly is hard to turn down requests when she does!
These last two milestones were SO exciting for me and I will never forget them. You know how you can’t really see your children grow, but sometimes you see growth? Well, maybe that doesn’t make sense, but that is what these were like.
J is in school a lot so SJ always asks “where daddy?” and I tell her “Daddy is at school” One day she didn’t even ask where daddy was because she knew the routine by now, she simply said “Daddy with teacher?” I turned around wondering if I heard her right. Did you say “Daddy with teacher?” and she said yeah. Again I was stunned, because she had put the pieces together. I never said daddy was with a teacher, but she knew what school was and that there were teachers and that daddy was probably at school.
A similar breakthrough happened when J was calling my name from the other room and I heard SJ say “Mommy?” and he said “Yes, I need mommy. Can you get her for me?” She said “Okay”(which usually sounds like oh-hey) and I heard her little feet pitter patter down the hall. I was excited to see what she would do because this wasn’t the norm at all. I knew for sure she wasn’t going to say Mommy, daddy wants you. but as she approached the doorway she declared with confidence. “Mommy, daddy talking.” I said, Okay! Thank you! and squeezed her so tight she was probably wondering what in the world the big deal was.
There have been lots of little connections happening. Phrases like “I need help pajamas” and “That mommy’s coffee” and “I will hold it”. Her teachers and therapist are much better at explaining exactly what all of the milestones are and the new goals of syntax, phenomes and receptive learning. All I know is that things are clicking in a new and exciting way. She has gone from just learning vocabulary, labeling, and reciting to actually understanding and communicating her thoughts and needs. We still have a long way to go and there are many times we just flat out can’t understand her, but I am happy with the recent progress and it just makes me more excited to see what comes next!
I knew there was a word the director used to describe the type of language that SJ was starting to use in her deeper understanding, but for the life of me I could not remember! So I asked her today after school and it was PRAGMATIC! She is going from the flat basic vocab to actually interacting more through pragmatic language. YAY!
I don't even know this sweet girl and my heart soared. I can't imagine how high yours flew!
This brought tears to my eyes, Natalie! I am so excited to read of her progress!!