Here's the plot summary (from Wikipedia):
Matlin plays Sarah Norman, a deaf and troubled young woman working at a school for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in New England. An energetic new teacher, James Leeds played by William Hurt, arrives at the school and encourages her to set aside her isolated life of frustration by learning how to talk. As she already uses sign language, Sarah resists James's attempts to get her to talk. Romantic interest develops between James and Sarah and they are soon living together, though their differences and mutual stubbornness eventually strains their relationship to a breaking point, as he continues to want her to talk, and she feels somewhat stifled in his presence. Sarah leaves and goes back to her mother's house, in the process reconciling with her once estranged mother. However, she later returns to James, as both realize they need each other.
I thought it was pretty good... Lucas's daddy was bored about half-way through and went to bed. Maybe I was mostly interested in the signing - I wanted to see how much I could understand! I understood some, but not nearly enough. Matlin is a beautiful signer - very energetic and expressive, but VERY FAST! It kind of reminds me of when I'm teaching the alphabet to my German and Spanish students, and I spell words to them to see if they can write them down. They always complain that I go too fast, and then I ask them how they would spell their own names, for instance, and they go "oh..., I guess you're right". The film had an interesting way of interpreting the sign language - James Leed would just say aloud what Matlin and he were signing.
The other interesting part was the portrayal of the deaf school, and the speech class that James Leeds teaches. He reaches out to them in a way that hadn't been done before, and he teaches them to appreciate music by feeling the beat.
Matlin won the 1986 Academy Award for Best Actress. She is the youngest actress to have received the nod.
1. bathing/swimming - water + CI = disaster
2. sleeping - not necessary, will fall right off and be uncomfortable
There are times when Lucas often DOESN'T wear his processor:
1. car - if I'm driving alone, he often pulls off his hat and the processor and uses it as a chew toy (no good)
2. highchair - as soon as he turns his head, it's off... I've been opting for the booster seat on a normal chair lately, because his head is above the back and the processor won't fall off
3. blanket time - you might be asking, what is blanket time? Well watch and see for yourself (there's no talking, just baby "grunting effort" noises):
Lucas loves blankets. If he sees one on the ground, he goes into a sprawl (a sprint crawl), and dives and rolls and rolls and rolls. If he eyes a blanket in his crib, he sprawls over to it and pulls it out from between the bars so he can play with it. During this activity, the processor falls off and I worry about the static that's being created anyway, so I often just remove it until he's done. We should just get rid of all his toys, and put blankets on the ground. They provide lots of entertainment for him. What will he do when it's summer and there are no more blankets everywhere? I'm sure he'll find something else... :)
Last week, I read the book deaf child crossing, by Marlee Matlin. The book is intended for children ages 8-12, so it's a quick, easy read. The book, although fictional, draws from the childhood experiences of Marlee Matlin - her dog Apples, her neighborhood friends, and her love of Billy Joel music, to which she would sign the words while listening to the beat.
Here's a description from the inside of the book jacket:
Cindy looked straight at Megan. Now she looked a little frustrated. "What's the matter? Are you deaf or something?" she yelled back. Megan screamed out, and then fell to the ground, laughing hysterically. "How did you know that?" she asked as she laughed. Megan is excited when Cindy moves into her neighborhood -- maybe she'll finally have a best friend. Sure enough, the two girls quickly become inseparable. Cindy even starts to learn sign language so they can communicate more easily. But when they go away to summer camp together, problems arise. Cindy feels left out because Megan is spending all of her time with Lizzie, another deaf girl; Megan resents that Cindy is always trying to help her, even when she doesn't need help. Before they can mend their differences, both girls have to learn what it means to be a friend. Deaf Child Crossing will strike a chord with anyone who has ever had, or wanted, a best friend.
Definitely worth the quick read, if you like that kind of thing. I think it would be really great for a child with a Deaf friend. Of course, deaf education has changed since Matlin was a child, especially with the invention of the cochlear implant. The book is not quite as relevant for deaf children who don't sign and have good hearing and speech with their CIs. But, I would say that maybe it would be good for them too, to see what it could/would be like without the access to sound that the CI affords them. I will definitely encourage Lucas to read the book (in 10 years, HAHA!).
i realize i'm not the first woman in the history of mankind to do this. to add another baby to the mix. and some women even decide to do this again. and again. and again. so far it feels like it's been one big long day of twenty eight days jumbled together. and somewhere in the big long day this brand new baby boy is growing and growing fast. and somewhere in that day i've showered a few times. cooked dinner a few times. slept for a few minutes...
let's talk about that.
let's talk about how i'm so tired that tears could squeeze right out of my eyes. and they do and they have. over silly things. and who's body is this anyway?!! i realize that it's been only twenty eight (one jumbo) day since that new bundle was scrunched up inside this belly, but come on! really?! and what was i wearing before him? cause i sure don't have any clothes to wear now. wanna know about how i'm impatient and grouchy, too?
let's talk about how i've decided that i'm not very good at being organized and having a schedule. how i'm not really sure that i ever wanted to be either of those things before baby number two's arrival. that before i welcomed the madness but i've since realized that being organized and following a schedule is going to be a mere means of survival.
let's talk about lucas. how he's all of a sudden gigantic. how he turned from baby to big boy overnight. how changing that big boy's diapers has got to end! soon! how i have to remind myself to be patient with him and remember that only twenty eight days ago i still carried him on my hip and how now he has to run. and run fast and how maybe he just. doesn't. want. to. let's talk about how i miss him. how i miss being his best friend. a secret club. a secret club with time for big huge snuggles. and puzzles. and storytelling.
wanna talk about my husband? oh yeah. him. how he's exhausted, too. how he's got a new list of chores and how i'm not the easiest person to live with at the moment. and how i've come to realize (since baby number two) that i probably never really was. how he hasn't noticed that i'm not getting up with him in the morning lately because i never really have. and does he even have time to sit on the couch and soak in this new bundle of boy we've got? uh. i don't think so! (refer to the chore list i mentioned above)
let's talk about this guy. this gavin west who is only twenty eight days old. how he's turned our world upside down and inside out. yet all he does is sleep and eat and let you cuddle and kiss his cheeks. how i love him so and could go on and on and on and probably will about how sweet he is. how he maybe smiled and how lucas is sure that he spoke to him today. how i could sit on my couch all day, boppy + baby and watch him sleep snuggled up in my arm. my new little nursling.
and then i can see why. why some women do this again and again and again...
lucas calls them "smooshies" and they were the best two bucks i've spent in a long time. they kept these two wiley cousins occupied for a nearly the whole weekend. there's still an ice cube tray full of mini-smooshies cooling off in the fridge that i think presley forgot about. "it's hot soup!" she'd say and they'd giggle and giggle and pretend slurp up their homemade delish-dishes.
My climbing career began at Vermont Academy. After a fall of riding the bench on the football team, and a winter slogging through the snow on a pair of cross-country skis, I joined the students and partipated in the climbing club.
The club spent half of our time behind the gym in a small room filled with mattreses, dust, and a ceiling of climbing holds. We fought to swing around on the holds in the room, excitedly taking turns. A third of the time, we climbed the wall of plastic holds in the gym. Occasionally, on our best days, we got to take trips to the Keene Bridge, Rumney, and the other local crags to climb outside.
The twelve passenger van filled with an assortment of helmets, ropes, harnesses, and students. We bounced over the hills east to New Hampshire. The bluffs of granite seemed unnaturally large when I climbed them. I was terrified whenever I set foot on the rock during these trips. While I shook like an autumn leaf on the grey stone, the other students sat below eating their sandwhiches and talking casually about their classes. When I finished and began eating my lunch, they smoothly ascended the rock.
The naturally talented Grayson Holden showed the rest of us how to climb. He flowed up the rock, confident, and relaxed. He exmplified the ideal student of Vermont Academy-intelligent, modest, and an outstanding athlete in snowboarding, and rock climbing.
While the academic aspect of high school came easily to me, the social aspect did not. I held students like Grayson in high regard for their ability to mold both. They held their ideals close to them, and then made smart and cool descision when under pressure. I graduated from Vermont Academy and made a half-hearted attempt to attend the University of Vermont. I felt lost in college, out of place, and not ready despite my high school preparation. I left Vermont and headed to Yosemite California, hoping to find the same confidence that Grayson and the other Vermont Academy students had.
In Yosemite, I worked a menial job making beds at a tourist lodge. I climbed the granite walls, learning to be comfortable with who I was. I climbed before work. I climbed after work. I climbed on my days off. Soon, the nervous shaking I had experienced while a student disappeared. The small crags turned into larger cliffs and then into entire walls. While the physical challenges of rock climbing were hard, I approached the climbing with the academic rigor I had been taught at Vermont Academy. I tackled the smallest and easiest subjects first and progressively learned how to deal with the harder bits until a fall day in the late afternoon, I found myself at the base of the Zodiac, an 1800 hundred foot route up the side of El Capitan.
I led the first section, hanging the rope for the initial eight hundred feet. I yarded my way up the rock, clipping pitons, and placing gear into the rock. Jamie followed behind me, climbing the rope. When the sun fell, when we were 800 feet off the ground, Jamie took over and began leading. I followed him through the dark. After midnight my head fell against the granite wall, bouncing against the rock as I fell asleep then woke from the thunk of my skull hitting the rock. With a late afternoon start the majority of our climbing was done in the night; we had little sense of exposure.
Then the sun rose and a sea of granite swept up below us. Jamie hung beneath a large roof, his feet kicked in space as he reached up and placed a camming device into the rock clipped into it and stepped a little higher. He placed another piece three feet higher and continued the crawl. This was we had moved all night, like caterpillars ascending a few feet at a time. When Jamie reached a ledge, he established an anchor and clipped in our climbing rope.
I fixed my jumars to the rope and ascended the line. I found Jamie laying on his back and muttering when I joined him at Peanut Ledge. I nodded to him. I understood. He could barely move from exhausation. We exchanged gear so that I could led us through the next hundred feet. I sat down for a moment of rest and Jamie opened our small daypack, handing me the sandwhich.
The Yosemite deli had coated the bread with a pink cranberry goo. Delirious, I fixated on the mayonnaise. Should I or shouldn't I? The question drove my mind from the cliff towards something more real and more important on a daily basis. It was an important moment. I hated mayonaisse and was on the verge of freaking out on the side of El Capitan. I recalled Grayson and the other students at Vermont Academy, how they remained poised and true to themselves. With my blackened hands, I grabbed a piton from our rack, and scrapped the sandwhich clean, leaving a trail of metal, but removing all the mayonaise. I decided to keep my ideals and stay away from mayo. I ate the sandwhich, iron and all. We headed to the summit and topped out the noramlly five day adventure in a 21 1/2 hour sprint.
Rob Miller and I stood on the top of Private Property, a crag outside of the Tioga Pass gate to Yosemite National Park. From nine that morning until five that evening, we climbed at the steep granite sport cliff. The routes featured some of the best rock in the Sierras. We stuffed ourselves first with the quality of the climbing and then we over loaded on quantity. At the parking lot, I sat with the sliding door open in Rob's mini-van, packing my face full of junk food, trying to satiate my appetite. I was tired, hungry, and I desperately needed to stuff myself.
Rob's calves are hearts, his biceps bulge through his shirt, and when he is not establishing new hard free routes in Yosemite, he works as a personal trainer at his own Crossfit gym in Santa Cruz. Rob is a dictionary; he has definition. He carefully cracked a 16 ounce can of imported Japanese beer, grabbed two pieces of low-fat string cheese, and tore open a bag of organic nuts.
Rob poured some macadamias into his hand. He counted them, plucked three from his palm, and returned them to the bag.
"How many macadamias do you eat Rob?" I jammed a fistful of cheese poofs into my mouth.
"Well James," his eyes scanned me. "I eat ten but you, since you are a little," he paused and his cheeks ballooned, "you would only want to eat seven."
I spit out my Cheetos.
A year later, Rob and I stopped at Inn & Out burger in Manteca. We regularly stopped on the drive back from Jailhouse, the steep Sonora crag we climbed at. This was our twentieth time getting dinner there. Occasionally, I would buy Rob's burger or he would buy mine.
We walked in and behind the counter was Stacy, the beautiful Inn & Out girl. Flush with the pride of having sent my climbing project, I sauntered up to the counter.
"I have the Inn & Out urge." I told her. She tilted her head.
"I would like a double-double," I said. "I really like the two meat patties on the sandwhich."
She punched the keyboard.
"And can I have it animal style?" I smiled. Stacy tilted her head again. I turned to Rob and nodded, indicating that I would buy his meal. Stacy stared at me then looked at Rob, who began his order.
"We are together," Rob said, looking at the menu.
Suddenly, I became aware of what had just happened. I had told her that I had the in and out urge, that I wanted something with extra meat between the buns, that I liked it animal style, and then Rob told her we were together, like we were not climbing partners but partner partners. My mind stutterred. She probably thought I was a complete freak. I had just blown it with the fast food woman of my dreams. I needed to recover and so I blurted out, "We are not really together. He just tells me I am fat sometimes."
Rob and then Stacy both stared at me. Rob shook his head and ordered the protein burger, the double-double without the bun. Stacy batted her eyes at Rob and stared at his muscular frame. I inspected the color of my shoe laces, and thought that perhaps I should have gotten a protein burger. Maybe if I cut out the exrta buns, I would not be so fat.
I also have a short video of Lucas turning to his name. He doesn't always turn, but at least vocalizes then when he hears his name.
I'd love it if he would start talking, but at least we're seeing some progress! Spoken communication has 3 big components - language, audition and speech. Lucas has been getting language input through sign since he was 3 months old, and auditory input for 6 weeks now. He's at least vocal and making "mmm" and "ahhh" in addition to lots of babbling. Words will come, I just have to keep reminding myself that "it's a marathon and not a sprint" (got that from another fabulous blog mom), and that his hearing age is only 6 weeks. We're seeing that Lucas's receptive language is really taking off (both through spoken language and sign), and he's learned a few more signs. Now I'm waiting for the all important first word...
I thought it was tough for me, as a German and Spanish teacher, to have a deaf son (remember though, that he will learn Spanish some day!!!!). Imagine having music be your life, and not being able to share that with your son. The movie is set in the 60s, when there wasn't the option or even thought of a cochlear implant. Wow, how the face of deaf education has changed so much since then, to include so many more options! How grateful I am to be raising a child in this day and age!
I think I'm really glad that we left the hospital knowing that Lucas wasn't hearing quite right (even if we didn't know the severity of his hearing loss). I really can't imagine finding out now, at a parade, figuring it out on my own, and then wondering why I didn't know sooner.
So, I decided after I posted those videos last night, that I should try Overstream to subtitle them. I was checking out Deaf Village, and I noticed that my post hadn't been picked up. And I thought maybe it was because I hadn't subtitled my videos to provide equal access to all readers, so I thought I would give it a try! My timing wasn't perfect, but not too bad for my first attempt! I will do that from now on...
I am really enjoying my time off with Lucas (I'm sure you're not surprised...). I feel very blessed to be able to take this time off during a time of so many Lucas language firsts. My stress level has decreased SIGNIFICANTLY, and I'm actually enjoying life. I really like to read, and during crazy 2008, I didn't read a single fictional book. I spent all of my time reading and learning about hearing loss, cochlear implants, communication methods, Deaf culture... and I never took the time out to read for pleasure. Well... since Christmas I've read 4 books! It's been liberating. I'm addicted to the Twilight series. I'm in the middle of Breaking Dawn, and I don't want to put it down! I've also had more time to blog.
There's been a lot of blog talk lately about deaf communication methods. It's been making my head spin, because I sooooo badly want to be making the right decision for Lucas. We want Lucas to be 100% oral and mainstreamed... that's our goal, period. But we want him to learn sign language too, to give him options. So, we're using auditory-verbal strategies and are continuing to use sign language for baby communication, and for times when he's not wearing his CI. AND, we're staying flexible. I think that's most important - we will continually assess and make sure that Lucas's needs are being met. I once received great advice from Christian's Mommy (thanks!!!) to keep an open mind about communication methods and just to follow Lucas's lead. That's exactly what we're doing: the Lucas method.
And, happy belated Valentine's Day. Here's a picture of Lucas last year on Valentine's Day (2 days after we found out he was deaf) and a picture from this year. Don't you just love this year's picture?
i've had two full weeks of:
meals+treats+flowers brought in
staying in my bed/pajamas
snuggling my fresh new babe
learning to nurse new babe
sleeping when babe sleeps
wondering what day of the week it is
taking loooong showers
watching new babe stretch and yawn
bathing new babe and lotioning him up
head-over-heels drunk on new-babe-love
my mom/baby catcher/breakfast maker/cupboard organizer/couch snuggler/lukey babysitter/grocery buyer/tea maker headed back home a few days ago. andrey heads back to real work in the morning. this leaves me. and my two kids. for reals. tomorrow. only a few hours away.
lucas jude, who left for a mere few hours a few weeks ago to catch a pine wood derby with his cousins and came home to a new brother is still in a bit of shock. this does not go well at bedtime. or nursing time. or any take care of said new brother time.
the new babe despite my best efforts to quarantine our little bundle has somehow caught a baby cold. this means i will be up tonight watching him breathe. not good for tomorrow morning when lucas wakes up ready to go.
i plan on staying in my pajamas. i plan on not making any plans. not tomorrow. or next week. or next year for that matter. my brains have turned into new-babe-mush. really.
i'll let you know tomorrow if we've survived.
It occurred to me the other day, that he's doing the same thing with his cochlear implant! When he wakes up in the morning, he's quiet until I "turn his ear" on. This time, it's "cochlear implant magic!" You might find the most amusing part of the video to be me chasing Lucas to attach the coil. It was hard to do with one hand while I was trying to see if I could catch it on video... this time I KNOW he's hearing! Enjoy!
When we finished, I soloed Tabby Litter, a 5.8 on the other side of the formation. Raleigh suggested it. It was a good route albeit short. Dave went back to camp and Raleigh and I bouldered a little. We climbed up and down on the Pyramid Boulder. I was getting worked and wanted to solo more. Raleigh asked me if I wanted to go climb Baby Apes with him on the Bachar Toprope wall. I shook my head and said I would rather go off on my own.
I went to Intersection Rock and fell a hundred feet soloing the North Overhang. I laid in a pool of blood at the base. I felt destroyed. My friends came and helped me. My family flew from across the continent to be by my side.
I came out of the hospital and recovered substantially, going on to becoming a more successful man and climber. My story became well known in the climbing community. I am sure Raleigh heard it.
In March of 2006, Raleigh Collins ran off the top of Sports Challenge Rock and dove into the boulders below. He died taking a smaller fall than I.
I did not know Raleigh well but I often wonder if I set a bad precedence. If he thought that he too could stand up from a disaster, and have his friends, his family, and strangers rush to his side. I set an example. Now I sometimes think to myself, "Did I kill Raleigh Collins?"
I do not know. I only wish we had climbed Baby Apes that day. Maybe we could have helped each other. At the least we could have laughed about something.
Lucas has 2 processors - one is a spare (although we switch them monthly to ensure equal use). The one you see on the left is the standard behind-the-ear (BTE) processor, and the one on the right is the babyworn BTE processor. One of the reasons we chose Cochlear was the babyworn option. The babyworn is an "accessory", and it can be made into the normal BTE by simply twisting the bottom half and re-attaching the battery pack. Eventually, when Lucas is older and his ears are bigger and stronger, he will simply wear the BTE. Right now, the babyworn option is less heavy on his ear, it keeps the processor attached to him somewhere if it falls off his ear, and it allows me to change the settings without having to work directly behind his ear (which would be challenging with a wiggly boy like Lucas!).
The processor is completely detachable. The round part at the top attached to the cord, the coil, attaches via a magnet that is implanted under the scalp. That's the most important part of the set-up. As long as the coil is attached, he can hear. Lucas does not wear the processor when he's sleeping, or when he's bathing or swimming. In fact, when he's not wearing the processor, you'd never know that he had a cochlear implant unless you looked closely for the scar behind his ear.
On another note, Lucas has been so chatty lately... it's great! At first, I thought he was being fussy, but he's making happy noises! I think he's having fun listening to himself. Enjoy the short video - I captured some of his noises while he was playing this morning. We went and had lunch with Lucas's daddy today, and he was talking all through lunch, just like in the video!
Normal breathing is at 10 dB. Leaves rustling in leaves is 20 dB. Whispering is at about 20 dB also. Spoken language occurs mostly between 40 and 60 dB. We haven't really gotten into what frequencies he hears more easily yet (although generally, it's the lower frequencies). But, in terms of loudness, Lucas can hear us speak!
He had a speech evaluation also, and she was pleased with his progress so far... he's interested in sound, responds to the ling sounds, and is producing "ahhh" and "mmmm." So, it's now up to Lucas! Everything is working in his favor, and his brain needs to continue to learn to make sense of the "sound" he is hearing. Lots and lots of auditory input is so essential right now, and Mommy is working very hard at that!
We just got his 1 year pics back... isn't he just the cutest thing? We just love him to pieces!
One of the learn to listen sounds we're working on right now is "mmmm" (also 1 of the ling sounds). I say "mmmmm, yummy!" every time I give Lucas a bite to eat. Well, today, I think he repeated it back to me!!! I got him to do it several times, and I even got it on video. You might be thinking... big deal... but it means that he's hearing it and that he's imitating it!!! Some days I question whether the implant is really working! And today I got some confirmation... Next step is "mommy"! (hahahahahaha)
you should see the moon tonight. the tiniest little sliver. it's your moon. it makes me think of you and how you will be here soon.
i can tell.
you're getting ready.
so am i.
it's a big journey you're about to make. you're about to leave your safe spirit place to come and meet me and i can't wait to see you. to look in your little baby eyes and wonder of where you've been. oh! the stories you'll have to tell. we'll remember each other quickly and we'll be old soul-friends in no time. i promise to love you so good - my sweet boy.
"he could've been here all along, he could've been anyone
but there is no one who
could wake my heart like this...
could break my world in two
i felt a suddenness
the day fell completely still
the dream was a lot like this
but i never knew until... he came to meet me"