Triplet Princes and a Princess

Triplet Princes and a Princess

Our journey to hearing with Cormac while living our life with triplet boys and a baby girl.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Here We Go Steelers!!!

Frank is a huge Steeler fan. Of course, the boys will follow suit after being told they are Steeler fans since birth. It's big year for our house since they made it to the Super Bowl. Last time they went to the Super Bowl I was pregnant with the triplets. This year I am pregnant again. You see where I am going with this??? Apparently, if I take one for the team (as a friend said) the Steelers will make it to the Super Bowl!

When the Steelers were in the Super Bowl that last time I was in the hospital during a bout with Pre Term Labor. I wound up being in there 14 days. Poor Frank watched most of the Super Bowl on a tiny hospital television. I told him not to but he insisted. I finally got him to leave at half time and go watch the game at a friend's house. This year will be different. We are all going to a party together. The boys have their Steelers sweatshirts ready to go. I am hoping he gets to enjoy the game.

Here they are cheering on their favorite team!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How many things can you do in a morning??

Play Doh
Letter of the Week
Practicing Cutting Lines
Candy Land
Hi HI Cherrio
Listening Game (we all play but it's for Cormac)
The Shapes Game and Song

Can you guess what this list is???????

It's what we did this mornnig It's what we did this mornnig before 11:30am! Trying to amuse the boys for hours when we can't go out is becoming more challenging. The always say "what's next?" If it wasn't an ice storm I would have let them out to play in the snow but the weather was so crappy we couldn't leave the house.

Normally, we go out every day. We haven't been out of the house since Saturday due to different circumstances. Can you say stir crazy??? Oh and when all else fails. See the video below for our latest entertainment.

I, however, have left the house. I had an OB appointment on Monday. All looks well with the newest addition. The nicest part of the appt? The doctor keeps telling me I am skinny. Her words NOT mine. Makes an almost 5 month pregnant woman feel pretty darn good! That said, I don't feel skinny and my belly is really starting to show. SHe just can't believe after carrying triplets my belly didnt start showing sooner. I think I am only up 5 pounds at almost 5 months so it sounds good to me! The big news??? We find out Monday if it's a boy or a girl.

Colin thinks we should name the baby Target. Hmmmm.... Do you think we go there too often? Frank was off for Tuesday and Wednesday. Slight mishap in the almost finished basement. Yep, I said ALMOST finished. All the sheet rock is up. We are ready for spackle and then it floor and we can start using the room! I will be so happy when this happens. The upstairs play room will become the new babies room. The existing family room will remain a little family room/office. We will have such a huge space for the boys. I know the more space you have the more crap you aquire but I'm OK with that situation.

We spent two whole days home with the boys as a family with no interruptions. It was such nice family time. Frank and I did nothing but play with the boys the entire time they were awake. Lots of hide and seek. Lots of rough housing. Lots of fun. Today Frank went back to work and it was sad when the boys woke up. They dais "what happened to Daddy?" I told them he went to work and they said they wanted him to come home.

Colin has a new toy. He found a tiny garbage can that was in their room when they were babies. We never used it but it matched their room. It has a little bucket inside as the line and the foot pedal. He has been carrying it around for 2 days filled with his favorite toys. Very strange! Who know a mini trash can could entertain a child for so long. Cormac seems to be making more big leaps in his speech. I noticed yesterday he is talking in some 6 or 7 word sentences and we are not losing any of the filler words. All the "a's", "The", "ands" are included. He said "I want to eat strawberries and bananas". That's quite a sentence.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Politically Incorrect????

I grew up in a town that was at least 90% Italian. I am not Italian. The surrounding towns were similar and were commonly referred to as the "Pasta Triangle" by everyone in these towns. The term "guido" was a commonly used term growing up. Think of the Sopranos. That's what my hometown was like to a large degree. Most of the landmarks you saw on the show were close to my house. One of the characters even LIVED in my town on the show. I don't think unless you grow up around it you truly understand the culture. Anyway, you will see how this all ties in together in a second.

I bought the boys new undershirts today. I realized when I got them home I had not picked up T-shirts but the tank top style undershirts. I referred to them as "guinny tees" but realized quickly I should probably not teach the boys to call them by that name. It was such a funny moment because I have always called them "ginny tees". Anyone I know growing up called them the same. Whether they were Italian or not. It was just what they were called. I haven't really thought about it for a long time. Sometimes they were referred to as "wife beaters". Back in the day, I never even thought about it. But man, how horrible is that?

All this to say, I never realized how politically incorrect the term "ginny tee" was until I accidently brought them home for the boys. For some reason I can't even look at the boys in them without chuckling. Brings back lots of memories of boys from my home town. Lots of summers at the Jersey Shore. Lots of gold chains around the necks. Lots of "how you doin'?" and "Fuggedaboutits" be young again.

Not sure if you will find the pictures as amusing as me but if you are from North Jersey..... I am sure you will appreciate it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Disney on Ice

We went to see Disney on Ice on Saturday thanks to my sister, Robin. SHe gave us tickets for Christmas. I wasn't sure how they would react to the show. It was bad timing because it meant a nap was going to be skipped.

I started showing them clips of the show online about a week before the show. I figured if they saw it online they would be more familiar. Frank and I talked it up a lot during the week. By the time Saturday rolled around they were totally PSYCHED and screaming "We want to see Mickey Mouse!"

We left early and had spoken to the arena about getting an FM system for Cormac just in case he couldn't hear the show. They were awesome about arranging it for us. They left it for us at the will call window. Turns out it wouldn't work anyway. Luckily, he said he could hear everything. Actually, while the show was going on my Mom was sitting in the row behind us and asked Cormac if he wanted to sit on her lap. He heard her while the show was playing loudly over the speakers. I took this as a sign he was doing just fine.

Ciaran sat mesmerized on Frank's lap and never moved an inch. Cormac stood most of the time just dancing. Colin was a little squirmy for the first part but was enjoying the show. He sat on my lap for the second half.

The look of pure delight on their faces was priceless. I am so excited to take them to another show. Look out, Diego!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Give me strength.

Today is one of those days. If I wasn't pregnant I might be having cocktails for lunch. Seriously. We didn't have a sitter this morning so I couldn't take Cormac to school. I got literally like 3 hours sleep last night. One would think with three kids it would be the children keeping me up. Not in this house. Duke had the runs all night and kept going in and out of the house. I mean he went outside every ten minutes.

Needless to say I finally fell asleep around 6am and the boys were up by 7am. Working on about an hours sleep is not so good.

The boys gave me a run for my money today. Most days are really a breeze. Where do I start? We headed out in the morning and had a great trip to Walmart. Not problems a few Tootsie Pops couldn't handle.

We get home and all I have to do is go to the bathroom. This sometimes turns into a luxury in my house. Well I get in the bathroom and I realize how QUIET the house is at the moment. QUIET = TROUBLE. Normally, it means they got into a cabinet and are secretyly shoving candy or cookies into their mouths. Annoying but not too bad. Well today was a little different. Apparently, Ciaran and COlin now know how to open the sliders to the back yard. Can you imagine? They were outside running in the yard. I know, horrible. But the yard is enclosed and they can't get out. BUT it was freezing and their is snow everywhere. THANK GOD they still had their boots on from just coming in the door. They didn't have coats. Let's just say they got in a little bit of trouble for that one.

I say go upstairs and watch TV. I figure this will give me a second to get my bags unpacked. Next I hear uncontrollable laughter. Cute and all but sounded a little suspicious to me. Next thing I know poor Duke comes running down the stair looking a little shiney and smiling like oranges. Apparently, I left the Orange Glow Wood cleaner on my dresser and Cormac and Colin decided the dog needed a cleaning. I rescue Duke, clean him off and send him downstair. He happily complies.

Next thing I hear is a loud CRASH. Followed by "mommy help me" from Cormac. They somehow managed to knock to the TV down. It didn't hurt anyone and I know it could have killed one of them easily. It is now rigged so they can't get to it.

DId i mention this all happened within about a 1/2 hour window? Don't call child services on me yet. THis is not a typical day. I have now child proofed the sliders, rigged the TV and will try to remember to put away the Orange Glow. But trust me, with these three minds working collectivly they are bound to find some other mischief to amuse themselves.

Where is the Spring??? I NEED TO GET THEM OUT IN THE YARD OR TO THE PARK! We still go out every morning but it's not the same. They don't get to exert enough energy. Soccer is awesome on Fridays for this purpose. I think they need to be enrolled in another activity for my sanity! But it's hard because Cormac has his therapy three days a week.

I try and occupy their time but the number of hours in the day outweigh the activites. Let's see in one day we usually do Play Doh, Aquadoodles, painting, reading, building with legos, coloring. We play hide and seek. We are now playing some games on the computer. Anyone have any amazing things to occupy their time? Free time equals mischief in this house.

I am tired from writing this post and reliving the day. I need a nap!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today we headed into NYC to bring Cormac to a genetic specialist to see if we can determine the cause of his hearing loss. There a few genetic links that cause hearing loss most notably connexin 26 and connexin 30. In the big picture it really doesn't matter why he is deaf. I think it is important for him to know when he is older so he is aware. If it does come back as genetic hearing loss we will know any child we have has a 25% chance of being born with hearing loss or deaf. So, I guess since we are having anothe baby it will be good to know so we know exactly what to do when the baby is born. We won't have the results for 4-6 weeks.

As for Cormac he was is cute little self today. The genetic doctor asked if it was OK if some of his students stayed in the room while they talked to us. We agreed. They were so taken aback by Cormac. They couldn't believe how he was talking. The one Dr said "I want to stay in here all day with this guy". I can't tell you how many times they commented on how clearly he spoke. I refrained myself from repeating everything he said to see who understood him. And ya know what? They all did! He did have to have blood work and it broke my heart because he actually shed real tears while they did it. The Dr. was awesome and it only took one try so that was a relief. He clearly and loudly said "I don't want you to do that" I thought the band aid at the end would be like a present but he again said "I don't want a band aid. Pull down my sleeve". He was fine in a matter of seconds. But for a Mommy to have to hold her baby while he cries from a needle. Well, it just sucks.

Frank and I dropped Ciaran and Colin off at my mom's house on our way into the city. They love it there and were glad to stay. Only problem: Cormac wanted to stay also and cried because he had to leave. That's hard to handle. We resolved that with pancakes and hash browns. He was smiling away.

My Mom met us back at our house to drop off the boys for lunch and nap. They were so excited to tell me the has a "prise" for me. Which translates to a surprise. My Mom took the both of them for hair cuts. They needed them desperately but I just haven't had the time to do it. And I hate when Colin and Ciaran's hair gets long. Drives me nuts. They look so handsome with the little hair cuts AND it's one less thing I need to do this week. Apparently, they behaved very well at the barber. I might have to start taking them to this new barber. They liked him and he only charged $5 a kids. I pay $14 a kid where I take them. Or better yet maybe my mom can continue to take them and it's one less thing for me to do :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

"You're my Best Friend"

What else do could you possibly want to hear from your child??? Ciaran has decided in the last few days to tell me I am his best friend. It's the first thing he says to me in the morning when he wakes up and the last thing at night. Along with telling me it 100 times during the day. I was starting to feel really special. Come on now, who wouldn't want to hear it, right? After the first day of him telling me this Frank comes to me and says "Jenn, Ciaran said the nicest thing to me". I say "what?" He proceeds to tell me Ciaran told him he was his "best friend". HMMMM. I think Ciaran already knows how to work the system. Little traitor (LOL) telling BOTH his parents they are his best friends and melting their hearts!! He is still telling me I am his best friend and it's still adorable.

As for an update on the IEP process with Cormac. I have called in the backups. THe education specialist from NYU will be attending the next meeting along with the head of the Teachers of the Deaf from Summit Speech School. I am hoping by bringing people experienced with Cochlear Implants they can help the school distric to understand Cormac's needs. He doesn't need much help in the actual classroom. Just some support pull out services. Good Lord, it's not rocket science. The meeting isn't until March so it's a while off but I plan to have all my ducks in a row and make sure we are all on the same page of what is best for Cormac. I will be in full Mama Bear mode protecting her cub. So, they better not mess with me.

We had company over the weekend. Two of which (kelly and Patrick) we only get to see a few times a year. It was great to see them. Their daughter, Caitlyn is just as cute as pie. The boys had a blast playing with her, especially Ciaran. My lil' ladies man!

Here's a new favorite of mine of Cormac

Patrick was upstairs in the playroom with Cormac and Caitlyn. He comes downstairs and says" Cormac says he wants to color and the crayons are in the closet". I say "did he say all that to you and you understood it?" He says "of course" I think I am always so worried that others will not understand him and tend to repeat what he says. But I think a true test is for someone who hasn't seen Cormac since JUNE to come over and understand EVERY WORD he says. In my heart I know Cormac is doing well but I always worry. This made me feel so good. So proud. My little man has accomplished so much. Today he asked me where is moose antlers were. I didn't think he knew the word antlers. But once again, I was wrong.

Colin continues to be just a funny kid. He has such a sense of humor. He really gets jokes and likes to play them on others. We are back on the red hat kick. It's surgically attached to the boys head again. But he needs a haircut so bad I am glad he wants to wear a hat. His hair tends to grow out instead of down.

As for me, I am now approaching 17 weeks pregnant. My belly is starting to show. I took a picture because I want to compare how big I am with a singleton to the triplets. I cannot imagine when I was pregnant with the triplets I went on complete bed rest in another 3 weeks. Seems so crazy to me now.

We had a little scare with my bloodwork and I had to go back for a test called a Quad Screen. Luckily, it all looks good now. I was secretly very worried for the past 10 days. But I tried to stay positive. I go for another growth scan on 2/2/09. THey should be able to confirm the sex by then as long as the baby is cooperating. I cannot believe how different it is to be pregnant with one versus three. It's a whole new world.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Not such a "Splashing" Success

Swimming lessons were not so great! They love the water (pool or ocean) but they were not into swimming lessons. Cormac was beyond excited when we arrived. He pulled his clothes off and ripped his implants off because he knows they can't go in the water. He went right with the teacher and she took him around the pool. She brought him back and he sat on the step and decided he wanted to get out. He proceeds to get out of the pool, pull his bathing suit off and tossed in on the ground and tell me "I don't want to be wet. Where's my hat and coat? I want to go home". At which point the teacher says "well, he really does have beautiful language, you would never know he's deaf!" A minute later he asked for him implants but not before putting on his green shamrock hat. So there he was standing there in a swimmy diaper with his green shamrock hat on all teary eyed.

I was wondering if Cormac not being able to hear was upsetting to him. He rarely goes without his implants. I mean, the kids sleeps in them. The only time he is without them is in the bath. Last summer he didnt seem to mind when he couldn't hear but I am wondering if things are different now. He's a different kid. He relies on his hearing and LOVES to hear. I guess we will have to see. Or I will have to somehow rig up something so he can wear his implant in the water. I know, not a smart idea but I would like to make him as comfortable as possible. I don't want him to dislike the water because of his implants.

Colin was next and at first refused to go near the water. I dipped his feet and he went in with the teacher. Did a lap just like Cormac. I heard him say on the other side of the pool. "Ok, I want to go by Mommy now." She brought him back he got out and he was done.

Ciaran took the most coaxing to get in the water but he seemed to enjoy it the most once he was in the pool. He did one lap, came back and he was done.

None of them cried. They just didn't want to do it. The instructor said she didn't think they were old enough for lessons. NOw, I know many kids who go much younger but I guess she is all business. No playing. They are there to learn to swim and not play around. My guys would have been more than happy to just play in the water. Oh well, I will try again in a few months. She was kind enough to not charge us anything for our trial and said bring them back when they are older.

Now I have to find another activity for us to attend this winter. I can' stand being in the house all the time. Maybe gymnastics???

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Snow, Sledding, Soccer and Swimming!

It seems to be a week of "s's". We started soccer class on Friday morning. I found a program that accepts kids before three. It was a blast. The boys loved it. Colin was a little shy at first and sat by himself but he didnt complain, just sat there. Cormac and Ciaran literally were sqealing with delight yelling "I'm playing soccer ball". (I keep telling them it's just soccer but I guess they are used to saying baseball, football, basketball. So, to them, it will be soccer ball!) There are five kids in the class of which we are three but that's usually the case when we go to a class. As for it actually being soccer??? I mean no one is even three years old yet so it's basically working on some skills. No games or anything. The soccer classes were a gift from my Dad for Christmas. AWESOME!!

Snow and sledding. We got some snow over the weekend. It was supposed to be more of a storm but wound up being only about 3 1/2 inches followed by some ice. It might has well been 3 feet for my little monkeys. They didn't care either way. We bundled them up this morning and out we went. Armed with shovels, dump trucks and our new sleds courtesy of Aunt Mary Norton. We all had so much fun as you will see in the pictures and videos. We live on a pretty decent sized hill so to get to the neighbors there is a slope. It is the smallest little hill you have ever seen. But at 2 years old it must be just perfect. They were going down in their sleds. I think the ice on top was giving them some extra push. At one point Ciaran and Cormac were going so fast they went under the giant pine tree on the lawn. I had to catch them before the bolted into the street. This was all done with huge smiles and giggles. Frank was even going down the hill with them. I sat out on the sledding. Wasn't too sure if I should be sledding while I am 4 months pregnant! We came inside and had some Hot Chocolate with marshmallows. What a wonderful way to spend the morning. Nothing better than a fun filled family morning.

We start swimming on Tuesday thanks to Meema. That was her Christmas gift to the boys. I had a difficult time finding someplace to take them for lessons. I didn't want to have to join the Y or something just for lessons. Everything was so expensive. By some luck, I found a woman who teaches at a pool in a hotel. She wil take all three of them and the parents do not have to go in the pool. This was the other issue I was having. Most places require a parent per child for swimming until they are older. Luckily, this is not the case with our new instructor. They will be the only students. I wanted to make sure she understood Coramc would be deaf in the water and he will need to read her lips. Not sure how she would react. SHE COULD NOT BE HAPPIER! She actually lost her hearing in one of ears and recently and wears a BAJA hearing aid. She said they will understand each other like no others! She had her surgery at NYU just like us! We couldn't be happier to find someone who understands us.

With all these activities it sure presented lots of language opportunities especially using the letter "s". We talked alot about all our activities and Cormac remembered at soccer to "listen to the coach" as he told me when we got there.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The IEP Process begins

For those that are not aware and IEP is an individual education program. Cormac will need an IEP to attend school. Up until his third birthday he receives services through early intervention. I love early intervention. He has been receiving services since we found out he was deaf. For longer than I can remember he has received two hours a week at home with a Teacher of the Deaf, Joan. I also bring him one day a week to Summit Speech School for a group class. Why this all has to change at the young age of three is beyond me but I don't get to make those decisions.

At three years old the child is now handled by your local school district. Our local school district set up our identification meeting. This meeting is to determine if Cormac is eligible for services. He qualifies because he is deaf so that was not an issue. Next we have to discuss his education needs. This is where it gets tricky. Our district has never had a deaf child let alone a child with bilateral cochlear implants. They have no one in district has EVER worked with a child with cochlear implants. The speech therapist is a nice lady but has no direct experience with deaf children. Working with children with speech delay and a deaf child are two different things. Most people do not understand.

The only program in town is preschool disabled. This class contains all children of all disabilities. This is so not where Cormac belongs. He is not academically delayed or cognitively delayed. His fine and gross motor skills are perfect. I don't know many other two year olds that can write their letters. His only delay is in his expressive language and he is not really far behind. But his delay comes from not hearing for the first 13 months of life NOT from any other issue.

Cormac should be in a mainstream preschool along with his brothers and get support services. I am not sure how we are going to accomplish this task. But we will. I have been dreading this process for a long time. With a district with no experience at all I am hoping it can be a learning process for both sides. We can help them to learn what a deaf child with implants needs. Every child is different but at least int he future they would have some experience.

I have spent hours researching and seeking information to show the district what is in Cormac's best interest. There are lots of laws that protect him and I am familiar with them all. I will make sure to have copies of them with me when they make a recommendation of preschool disabled and prove to them this is not the least restrictive environment. Luckily, NYU has an education specialist and she is willing to come and talk with the district. I am hoping her expertise will be enough to make our case. All I want for Cormac is mainstream preschool with support services. Since they don't have qualified professionals for support services they need to contract with people who are qualified.

I knew it was not going to be a simple process. I was prepared for it but I did not think they would have no clue what so ever. Oh well, just another bridge to cross in our journey.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Simple things

This morning the boys were running around playing in the living room with their new kitchen. I was sitting on the couch just watching and participating in all the meals they were cooking up. Cormac walks over to me and says "mommy, i made you some tea" and hands me a plastic tea cup. I answer him and say "thank you", pretend to take a sip and say "can I have some sugar?" He says "sure" pretends to give me some sugar gets me a spoon and says "stir, stir, stir". Not sure why exactly at that moment I was just taken aback but I said to Frank. "I cannot imagine our life if we didn't get Cormac implants". Would we never had heard his sweet little voice? We would never had known he could talk and have a conversation. With all the chatter going on around him he would never had been able to sign to me while pretending to cook and also taking part in the conversation with his brothers. ALL AT THE SAME TIME! Frank said moments like this one would have made him sad if Cormac couldn't participate and Ciaran and Colin were not able to talk with him. Yes, we would have all learned sign language but he still would have missed out on so much in our everyday lives.

So this morning I am so greatful for all we have in our lives. But most importantly for three healthy, happy children who NEVER STOP TALKING! Music to my ears.