A year ago today, Cormac heard my voice for the first time. A year ago today Cormac heard me say "I Love you" for the first time. A year ago today, Cormac heard Frank for the first time. A year ago today, Cormac heard his brothers giggle and laugh for the first time. A year ago today, Cormac heard his name for the first time. Basically, a year ago today our lives changed for the better... forever....
Cormac has heard and done so many things in this past year. I know they say the first year of life is where they have the most changes and the most "firsts". Babies roll over, the walk (well mine did), they eat food, they smile, the laugh. I could go on and on. But for Cormac, things were different in some ways. Well, he rolled over at 4 months (front to back and back to front!), he smiled from the day he was born. He has always been a great eater and continues to be. His laugh comes from so far in his belly. Just hearing it can make anyone smile.
He didn't, however, know how anything around him sounded. He never heard me whispering in his ear as I held him and told him everything would be alright. He never heard us say good night or I love you. He never heard a bird, a fire truck, an airplane. You get the idea. He heard nothing. He also didn't say anything. He could sign a ton by the time he was one but he didnt say any words.
In this past year we have spent countless hours practicing his listening skills. Twice a week for an hour Joan, his teacher of the deaf, comes to the house. Once a week I bring him to Summit Speech School for a group class for 2 hours. Every moment of every day is dedicated to enriching his life with listening opportunites. I mean, I talk and describe everything around me. I don't just make breakfast, I say "we are having eggs. Eggs are white. Mommy is going to crack the eggs. Crack Crack. Stir the eggs. Stir STir. Mommy will pour the eggs in to the pan. The eggs are cooking." I do this for EVERYTHING I do with the kids all day long. It never changes. When we are grocery shopping I hold up everything I put in the cart. "this is a red pepper" "peppers are smoooth" and then let them feel the peppers.
Yes, it can be exhausting and daunting at times. Yes, people probably think I am insane. Yes, there are times I just don't feel like doing it. But what is the payoff for all this? Cormac speaks. Cormac hears. Cormac listens (different from hearing!). On day to day basis I don't think there are many words I say he DOESN"T understand. If he doesn't understand you can tell in a heartbeat and I take that opportunity to explain it to him.
NOw of course, Ciaran and Colin get the same treatment so they all have wonderful vocabularies. Cormac talks all day long. I have lost track of the number of words he can say. It seems to me to be endless. He tells me "love you" before betime. He says "goodnight, mommy or daddy or Ciaran or Colin". He has the softest sweetest voice I have ever heard. He also has the ability to scream so loud it feels like your ears are bleeding. This is not when he is upset. It is funny to him. I have tried to make a deal that he only uses that scream when he is outside!
Cormac knows so much. His numbers, his letters and the sounds they make, his colors, animals and their noises. He signs the entire alphabet. He also knows many more signs but he is dropping them more and more because he doesn't need them. His speech is understood by others which is huge. Moms always understand their kids. The true test is if others understand them.
Fast forward one year from last year and things are so different. Just this morning it was thundering outside and he said " thunder angels bowling" and pointed out the window. Today he told me he wanted to watch "doggie DVD"(100 and 1 Dalmations).
I am so grateful for Advanced Bionics for the technology they developed. I can never thank them enough for allowing Cormac to be enrolled in their study. He was so fortunate to be able to have both ears done at the same time. Most children do not have this opportunity. I am so thankful to Dr. Anil Lalwani who performed his surgery. I can't say enough about NYU Cochlear Impalant Center and their staff especially Valerie and Rose.
Summit Speech School has been such a tremendous support to our family. Each week is priceless for both Cormac and myself. And Joan, Cormac's teacher of the deaf, well I can't say enough about her. Cormac loves her. I don't know what we are going to do when he turns three and we will no longer see her three days a week. She is a constant help and always full of wonderful ideas. She answers so many questions. She teaches Frank and I how we can best help Cormac. But most of all, she really cares about Cormac. She knows him so well and how to get the most from him.
We ended the day with a little celebration. We will do this each year to remember such an important day in our lives. And it's another excuse for cake! I made a cake. Not my best work but I was short on time. It's the thought that counts, right?
Here's a little slideshow. It is Frank and the boys eating cake. There are a few video clips also. You will hear Cormac talk. Of course, when in front of the camera he doesn't do his best work but I still think it's pretty darn impressive!
|Make a Smilebox slideshow|
I have tried to no avail to upload the video of the first time he was activated. I cannot get it to upload. The video is long and I don't know where I can upload a video over 10 minutes to post in the blog. It was taken on a camcorder and downloaded to the computer but from there I am stuck!
I do have a clip from my camera I took. It's not as good as the entire video but you will get the idea.
Cormac continues to be an inspiration to me. He is only two and has done so much already. I count my blessings every day. I can't believe how lucky I am. I get to be the parent to a child who inspires me.
Did I ever think I would have a child with a disability? Nope. Was I prepared for it? Nope. Would I change it? Nope. You take on each challenge as it comes along. You educate yourself and try your hardest to be the best you can be.
I also never thought I would have triplets and wasn't prepared for that either! But I know I was made for this job. I have lived every day always knowing I wanted to be a Mom and boy, did I hit the jackpot!