I'll write a complete Thanksgiving recap, including some details on Christian's language explosion that has occurred over the past week, a bit later. For now, I wanted to share my thoughts on family support, and how essential I believe it is to the success of not just the child with a Cochlear Implant, but also his parents.
I've always loved how my parents have completely jumped in the role of "Super Grandparents". Both my Mom and Dad absolutely adore him. They spoil him rotten with love (and lots of toys), and make every effort to make sure he is comfy in their house, and is always happy. I love watching how my Dad will roll around on the floor with my little guy. He likes to take him to breakfast, and they have their own little games. Christian absolutely adores his Papa too...I think he thinks that my Dad is a toy! And when it comes to Nana, he knows that she's the one who will kiss him all over and make sure he has more than enough treats. She always makes sure that he is warm and cozy, makes his favorite foods, and literally would walk on water for my little man. It is so very hard living so far away from them.
What I think is so amazing is how supportive both my Mom and Dad have been from day one with everything that we have had to deal with. They have let Chuck and I lead the way as far as what we want for our son, praising us, and cheering us along as we do whatever we have to do. They've supported our therapy decisions. Not once have they ever questioned our methods or techniques. They just always ask "How can we help?". They ask us questions, but somehow, always let us be the experts, trusting our judgement. When Chuck and I were at our low points, they would just let us know that they would do whatever we needed them to do, and they have. They've become very interested in deaf culture, researching and trying to understand how our family fits in, and have even taken ASL classes.
When I'm having a hard day breaking through to Christian, my Dad always is able to remind me just how great of a kid Christian is (and a Mom I am). And when I call my Mom and just sigh, she somehow knows exactly what I am trying to say and just says "I know...". They have found a really interesting balance between treating my child just like a regular kid, while also paying attention to the little things that are particular to his situation. It's these little things (like remembering to turn down the music/tv, or signing to him while he takes a bath) that make our lives as his parents easier.
I know many parents of children with hearing loss read our blog, and I know that some grandparents and other family members of children with hearing loss sometimes log-on. Whatever your roll in your family, I urge you to support the choices, methods, and therapy decisions that the parents make. Remember to cheer along not just the child with the hearing loss, but also his parents.