Soon after starting this journey, a couple moms emailed me advice and told me, "Don't let this define your son and don't let this define who you are either", and I agreed. No way was this going to define Aiden and the person he is .... no way will I let it define who I am. But it was ... and these are the two things that made me realize it.
Trip to the American Girl Store Kailyn isn't a big doll fan ... she's more of a stuffed animal, barbie fan, but she has been wanting an American Girl doll for awhile now (heck, I wanted one for her - I loved dolls as a kid). So I planned a trip with a friend and her daughter to spend the afternoon at the American Girl Store. For those of you who haven't been, it's a girl's paradise - just imagine, two whole stories of nothing but dolls and all their cool accessories - they even have a hair salon for the dolls and a restaurant to have lunch with them! I don't know who was more excited, Kailyn or me! After shopping around, we, I mean she : ), picked out Kit, from the new movie Kit Kittredge, An American Girl. She picked her because it really is like her twin!
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because it was this day, after having so much fun with Kailyn (and Aiden in tow), that I came home and realized that I have been doing nothing but reading and research (what I call my new R&R) on deafness. Yes, there is SO much to read and learn and know, and DO, but I realized I needed to take a step back. I realized I was letting Aiden's deafness define ME, everything I did had to do with his deafness, I thought about it 24/7! It felt great to just let it go that day ... to not think about it ... to have my mind back and have fun with my kids. Now if I can just get that big boy of mine to spend some time with his mom ... guess I need to start playing some Guitar Hero! ; )
Aiden's in his own crib! Yep ... at night too! First it was just for naps, but he has spent the last two nights there! No worries about hearing him! We wouldn't even need the monitor - he defninitely lets us know when he's hungry!
Moving Aiden up to his own room has really had an effect on me, in a happy feeling kind of way, like I have a whole new appreciation for my little darling, and myself. I really don't know how to explain it, but I realized I don't need to be so "protective" of him. I don't know if it's because he's my third (after 7 years of having a baby) or because he is deaf. He's no different than my other kids as a baby, besides the fact that he can't hear and I put hearing aids on him when he wakes up. My other two kids were in their cribs before they were even two months - Kailyn probably 2 weeks! Since he's been up there, something has clicked, in my nonstop mind, that made me realize everytime I looked at Aiden I thought about his deafness. I constantly thought about what had to be done to help him hear or what else I needed to research, or what I should be doing with him. Was it story time ... was it time to sing ... time to sit and make our animal sounds ... time for vocal play. I was letting his deafness define him. I remember saying in a previous post "he's more than his ears", and now I had to remind myself of that.
For the past few days I've just let it all go. I had to. What I discovered though is that I don't need to CONSTANTLY think about what else I can do to help Aiden, because by just being his mom, I am helping him. I've discovered that I'm making these animal sounds, doing vocal play, and talking to him all the time anyway, just like I did with my other kids ... and without the stress of constantly thinking "I HAVE TO do this or that". I already am doing it! He's getting the therapy needed by me just being mom - not a mom to a deaf baby - but a mom to Aiden, the same mom I was to Ryan & Kailyn. He is more than just his ears ... he's my precious little binky boy!
I feel sorta free again. Yes, I will continue with my R&R (reading and research) and of course I will continue with daily AV therapy with Aiden, but what I feel good about is that I have "fired" that "little nag" in my head constantly yelling at me "you have to do this ... or you gotta do that" because by just being mom, it will get done, and Aiden will be okay.
Now, I'm off to rediscover the true R&R ... rest & relaxation!
PS - For those of you who know me, know I may be a little O.C. (blows the whole theory above right out of the water huh?) But, I have been thinking of what I haven't really shared, and in future posts I'll explain more about the communication route we've chosen for Aiden (AVT - Auditory-Verbal Therapy), what I learned in therapy the past couple of weeks and what they believe Aiden can hear, things we're doing at home to help Aiden, and what cochlear implants are and how they work. There's so much I've learned that I want to share, plus it helps me better understand it all too ... okay, back to the real R&R ... I hear the pool calling our name!