Toys That Make Noise

It was late, almost 8:00PM, way past the babies’ usual bedtime. We had a few diaper situations tonight that took a while to deal with times two. In between the yucky stuff we’ve had a nice evening together, relaxing and watching a cartoon, Masha and the Bear that makes the babies crack up, their little laughs are so cute, the cartoons about a bear and a toddler. The toddler, Masha always does really bad stuff and messes everything up for the bear. But he cares for her. The babies laugh as the bear and Masha get into all kinds of troubling situations, they really understand the humor in it. It’s time to go to the nursery now,  I hold Fiona’s hand as we walk down the stairs. We turn the corner and the whale toy that I’ve been putting in Jacks crib at night is laying on the ground. I pick it up, wind up the little whale on top of the big whale so it turns and plays a song, then hand it to Fiona. She looks up at me as if she knows what I’m thinking, “I feel bad, I never give you the toys that make sound at night, never have, because I don’t think you can hear them without your hearing aids.” She’s wearing her hearing aids now and I’ve been putting them on during nursery time for the past month. For the first eighteen months of her life I didn’t put the hearing aids on after her bath. I figured she already had tons of exposure to language throughout the day, she was tired, what would another hour accomplish?  I would read books and sing, knowing Jack could hear perfectly and Fiona probably wasn’t getting much out of it. I wasn’t thinking about inclusion or her possible frustration in all of the sudden not hearing. Tonight as I read books and sing Fiona sits as close as she can to me in my lap. We read “That’s not my goat” and go through the alphabet toy, “A Apple, B Butterfly” Fiona points to the butterfly mobile every time I get to butterfly. I keep her hearing aids on right until the moment she’s laying down in her crib sucking her thumb. “I’m going to take off your hearing aids now Fiona” I say. She takes them out herself and hands them to me. Jacks a good boy, he’s been completely OK with the extra attention I’ve been giving Fiona lately. He’s so sweet.

Today is Early Start (Fiona’s school) Family Day. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year already. I was so incredibly drained after last year’s Family Day, Jack was going through separation anxiety, during the speaker’s speeches I would have to go out and comfort him, eventually needing to bring him in with me. The speeches are by both the parents and students who went through the program at Early Start. They talk about all the struggles and successes they’ve had. Last year was my first time exposed to so much information to do with hearing, vision, and mobility disabilities at one time. It’s intense. I’ve had a hard time the past couple of weeks getting used to going to Early Start three days a week. But this past Thursday during our parents support group I finally felt more connected to the other parents, teachers, and students than anytime the past year. I realized we are all going through struggles as parents and as parents of children with varying degrees of disabilities. For the first time I didn’t feel drained, I felt included, supported, and able to be of support to the other moms. I don’t have any questions for the veterans this year. I think I’ve asked Lindsay who wears one hearing aid and one cochlear implant nearly every possible question I could think of to do with being a person with hearing loss. We’re going to Family Day today to be there, hopefully I can be more present than last year.

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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist