It’s hard hearing

A lot has changed since I have written last. I didn’t read my last entry, but suffices to say, a lot has happened.

We now have three sons. And our youngest is hard of hearing. So much time and effort and understanding has gone into this diagnosis. And many more questions, and options, and choices await us with this diagnosis. Our youngest, turned 2 in August, and received hearing aids in September. And now it is October. That is how new this all is. We knew something was up with his hearing in April. Well, we were tipped off thanks to Early Intervention and a hearing test. But it took months of testing, ear tubes being placed, a sedated hearing test, to finally get a his hearing test settled so we could get hearing aids.

And now he is 2. And I am thinking of preschool programs, while trying to coordinate playgroups at the deaf school, Early Intervention services, and our other son’s needs. There are unknowns everywhere. To hearing world I have to explain he is hard of hearing, to the deaf world I feel I have to say he does have some hearing. Which I guess I should explain. He has sensorineural hearing loss. He starts out at midly deaf, but as the sounds go higher he has a less chance of hearing it, so that the very highest sounds, like /s/, /f/, he is severely deaf in. (Mild, moderate, severe and profound are the catagories of classifying hearing loss).

Not an easy diagnosis.

I don’t mind questions about it. I like to talk about it. But there aren’t easy questions, like what % of hearing loss does he have? That isn’t easy to answer. Because he has such a range. And because what the audiogram (the graph the audiologists use to show plot hearing) says he hears may not be indicative of what he can understand or perceive as sound, if that makes sense. He is talking. Something that in our first appointment with an audiologist said may not be possible for him.

We are a hearing family. My husband and I hear, our older children hear, it is just Maciej. Just Maciej experiencing this. I feel so helpless as a mother. He is experiencing the world in a way I never have. In a way I can’t experience. I always thought of being a parent as an ambassador of the world for my children. And here I am, able to experience the world in a way my child can’t. I know I have to be his advocate. I know I have to be his voice and fight for him. And I will, gladly! But can someone tell me the right way? The right choice? The best fit for him? Mainstream. Deaf school. Interpreter. ASL. Speech Therapy. I DON’T KNOW! This is new to me. And new to him. How does he know, or I know, if he will prefer sign to speech since we only have sign class for so many hours a week? How do I know if he really does want to sign instead of speak, because we all just speak to him and speaks back. We are hearing and even though we try to sign, it is our native language to speak to him. To treat him like one of us. He is a part of us. And yet, I need to help him. I need to help him learn a language, ANY LANGUAGE, to feel in, to express himself in, and you know what, that may not be my language. How do I do this? Simultaneously teach him, and learn a language?

Did I mention we are a bilingual household? My husband speaks Polish. My older two speak Polish to him and English to me. They watch shows in Polish. Are read to books in Polish. Go to Poland and speak to everyone there in Polish. And what about Maciej??? How will he do all these things? Will he be able to? Feeling Polish, feeling a part of the culture is wrapped up in language…how does he feel?

I don’t know if I can fully explain how this changed us. From asking Maciej where his nose is and having him point at his nose, to asking him where the ball is, where the the dog is, where the giraffe is and having him always point at his nose. “Where is” became just point to your nose, and the look of confusion on both our faces as he got it wrong. The ball is not on your nose. Neither is the giraffe. Or imagine the despair I felt when I called to Maciej and I was just standing behind. And he stood up and ran to the kitchen to look for me. I always in the kitchen. He heard his name. I must be there. Imagine his confusion as he turned from the empty kitchen to realize I magically ended up in the same room he just left. My son couldn’t find me. And I was right there.

So this hard of hearing. This is what hard of hearing looks like. It is better with hearing aids. Hearing aids are amazing. They have turned everything around. These little blue ear pieces of magic have transformed our lives. He is talking. He is learning both English and Polish and is also Signing. But what of our future? Where is he going? Where will he be most comfortable? In a Signing world? In a hearing world?

I go back and forth. Maybe he needs a foundation in ASL and it is more important for him to Sign than speak. But, am I selfish if I want him to talk? To want him to feel most comfortable in the hearing world with me, his brothers, his family? And just because he is hearing as well as he is now, does not mean it will stay. What if his hearing deteriorates? What if he loses it all in a few years? ASL will be his language. We are learning. We are doing all we can…but gosh, it is so easy to just talk to him.

There is a culture around being deaf. Which is amazing, and beautiful, and I am so so so happy to be learning about, and have my son welcomed into! It truly is a beautiful culture, and if you have the time learn about it. Their history is so interesting! So many heroes that paved the way so my son can have an easier time. But am I wrong to want him to be part of my culture, the hearing world? Am I forcing a round peg in a square hole? Do I just need to let it go…

Let go. Maybe. Maybe that is what I need to do. But I can’t. I still have my dreams. I still have hopes for my son. And I know, he will surpass them, and do amazing things. And I will support him and be blown away by him. But while he is young, and under my watch, before he has those big dreams that I can support, for right now, I have to make decisions for him. I have to dream his dreams. And I have to look at him without places limits on him. And so do I give him preschool/early education at the Deaf school? Something different than the rest of my boys? Something so outside my comfort zone? Something, I am still not convinced is the right place for him. Or do I go with mainstream? Something that I know and understand. Something that easy. Something that I am still not convinced is the right place for him. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.

Maciej likes music. At the center for deaf they have chanting, rhythm, but not music like songs. At clean up they flash the lights on off and make the sign to signal it is time to put toys away. But I can tell Maciej, in two different languages no less, that it is time to clean up and he understands.  At the preschool here in town they would play the song “Happy” while they cleaned up. Maciej could do all that. He walks around singing the tune of Wheels on the Bus and Jingle Bells. But the words are so very garbled. Only by the tune do you know the song. The words are very very hard to understand.

We are the grey. The middle ground. How do I advocate for my child when I don’t know. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know the right way. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t want to limit him. I don’t want to keep him from something because it is outside my comfort zone or because it is easy. I wish he could tell me. I wish I could peep into the future and see what is best. I wish I could make this better. I wish…I wish… I wish to make him happy. I want nothing but the best for him. And I am trying. I want him to know that. To know that whatever decision I will make, I did out of love for him.

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Parenting snippets

I am by no means a helicopter mom. I love my children, but there is such a thing as letting them play, fall, get hurt, and move on. I don’t climb on climbing structures. I don’t have gates at the bottom of stairs. I don’t have a railing on the twin bed my son sleeps in. We don’t have oven locks, or drawer locks, or door locks. The kids have free reign over the house. Yes, toys are every where. And yes, there have been a few bumps and bruises. But kids are tougher than we think, and honestly, not as dumb. And lets be clear, my sons are almost 4, 2.5 and 8 months.

I am a stay at home mom. It is an honor, a privilege, and I am so happy to do it. Yes it is hard, but I don’t think it is harder than working. I don’t think I stand on my soapbox and justify how awesome it is stay home, or scream my own accolades for doing it. If you can, and want to, great. If you love your career, or need to work than go, and don’t feel bad. For us, me staying at home was the right thing. Game over.

Here is what staying at home did help with. I know my children. I know their good days, bad days, worse moments, awesome moments, poopy moments, sad moments. I know their behavior issues. I know their strengths and weaknesses. I don’t just spend time with them. I don’t just take them to activities. I really know them. We run errands together, go to playdates, library, museums, the gym. I know how they act in social situations. I know when they need a hug, or just to go home. For me at least, me staying at home with them allowed me to know them in a deeper way I think I would have if I had been working.

I also think that staying at home allowed them to know each other. We had our children one after another. The oldest two are 17.5 months apart, and the middle and youngest, 21 months apart. My husband and I thought that having kids was like a bad band aid, rip it off and get it over with. No, that isn’t true…well mostly. My sister and I are 6 years apart. My husband and his brother are 18 months. I wanted for my children the relationship like my husband and his brother have. They are different as night and day, but they are close. They understand each other and forgive and love each other. Outside of me, his brother is the closest family he has. I would want that kind of love and understanding for my sons. And so, we had them close. At times, I thought maybe it was too close…but now, I am so happy we did.

Anyway, staying at home has allowed them time to play and be together. They share so many experiences the three of them. My oldest two have learned to play together. Sure they fight. MAN, do they fight! But they also play. They tackle and wrestle, attack dragons, and are pirates together. And now that the baby is more sturdy they are “including” him. I love watching them play. I love that me staying home is providing them an opportunity to play together.

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Am I ready….

Am I ready? People keep asking me. I keep asking me. Am I ready? Am I ready for this major change that is about to happen. A baby. A life. Another soul needing me. My heart is ready. My heart is open to the waterfall of love which has already become a trickle. Since seeing the pink plus the dam has been broken. And everyday, every ultrasound, every kick, every breath it has become a stronger flow of love filling me.

So, am I ready?
There are moments when I am oh so ready. To hold this baby. Smell this baby. I walk into my two other son’s rooms and I could be blindfolded and still know what room I am in based on the smell. What will this son smell like? What will be his sweet scent that I will hold in my heart forever? I want to know him, to feel him, to love him.
But ready?
There are the feedings, the exhaustion, the crying, the ever present baby who I will need to hold and carry, in addition to the toddler, the preschooler who will need me too. PIeces of my time, of my body, of me will be given away to them. Wake ups, aches and pains, stress, all pulling at me. Pulling me to care for them, to place their needs above mine in the most demanding of ways.
Am I ready for all this…again?
Every mother doubts herself. Every mother worries she will not be enough, will disappointment herself, her family, her baby. Every mother questions herself. Motherhood makes you question yourself, makes you evaluate who you are, how you were raised, how you want to be remembered, everything. You are responsible for another livingsoul. You are someone’s alpha and omega. You are their cornerstone of life. You gave them life. You breath life into them through 9 months of giving them your body. You are one, and two at the same time. Motherhood is an awesome, powerful journey.
Am I ready for it again?
Three times I have embarked on this journey. I have gone down this rabbit hole, and each time it is different. Each road has their own dangers and worries. Each one is different because I have others in tow. The mysteries of one revealed road will not necessarily prepare me for the one I am journeying down now. There is so much weight on my shoulders. There is so much worry, and love I am carrying. How can love be a burden? It is a burden, but It is a burden I want to carry. It is a burden I willingly, knowingly shoulder, and I feel its weight.
Am I ready?
Can anyone be ready for another life in this world? No matter how much you plan, or organize, are you ever ready for the change which overcomes your life when a new life comes into your world? You know there will be sacrifice, there will be pain, there will be times when there is nothing but your own will pulling you forward, and you can’t stop. You can’t take a break. You can’t walk away from the life in front of you, calling you, needing you. You have to reach into your reserves, reserves you didn’t even know you had, and keep going. Can you be prepared for that? Is there a way to say “yes, I am ready“? Ready to shoulder all that love, all that joy, all that pressure, responsibility. We all have this idea of what “being ready” means….but who is ready? Who is ready to question the very essence of themselves, of humanity, of life?
I am trying to be ready. I am trying to be open to all that there is. To be the blank wall that this life is to write upon. To be open to all possibilities. I am trying to be ready in my heart, in my soul and in my mind. To knowingly jump in and face the burden of this life, the demands of this mother’s journey.
Yes, I am ready to love.
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Christ is My Problem with Christianity…

I have found out my real problem with Christianity. I think I could believe in God. I think I could worship in a church. I think I might enjoy the odd sermon here and there. No, my real problem with Christianity is Christ. If Christianity could just have left it with the God, and not make a big production about Jesus, and the holy ghost- like where did that part of the trinidad come in? I think could say I am a Christian…well, that I believe in God. A Protestant God. With no Saints, and apparently, no Jesus. 

I don’t have any problems with Jesus. I can respect that he is the Son of God, but he just isn’t God for me. Whenever I hear people saying Jesus’s name when I feel like they should say God I feel like it gets into the cheesy realm. Jesus is awesome. Jesus taught me so many things, and I can understand the power of God’s love that he gave his only son- especially after being a mother myself. But I am not sure I want to praise Jesus. I want to praise God. 

My husband said that maybe I should be Jewish…but the problem with that is that I was born Christian. You have to be chosen to be Jewish and I never was picked to play for them. My choses as a Christian when it comes to God is to either believe in Christ or be an Atheist, or say I believe in Mother Nature. I am lost when it comes to my Christian faith. How can I believe and worship a my “Christian” God, without the whole Christ part??? 

Anyone else ever feel this way??

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Typical morning

Lots of things have happened….

I went to the mall. I bought a Winnie the pooh costume that is too big for Sebastian because the only one they  had online is probably too small, but if I don’t buy this and the other one doesn’t fit then I got no plan B…and with this family, we need a plan B. C. D. and F. 
Mateusz was a maniac in the mall. He alternated, running, sitting in the stroller and pissing me off. But we are in Public, so I keep it together. 
We went to JCP and I tried on a few dresses, since the one I bought  from the Gap is going back and I want something nice for Church and for the Holidays. While trying it on the kids started freaking out…big surprise there. I had to try stuff on with the dressing room door open so Sebastian could see me, since the handicap room that is bigger was taken. I know that because I opened the door and saw a little old lady changing–embarrassing. Please lock doors to dressing rooms in future. 
By the way, this whole time I needed to pee. BUt I didn’t know where the bathroom was and it seemed like too big a hassle with both of them.
Found size of dress I wanted but couldn’t make up my mind on color- red or green? Called mom. She told me this long story about how dad is mad at her because she blew the tire. An epic saga about how it happened, how she feels about what happened, how dad took the news, and what she plans to do about it ….. Green? Or red? 
She told me to get the green dress and I agreed. 
I still had to pee. 
I bought dress. Went to the car and got screaming Sebastian into the car. The bags, everything loaded. I put Mateusz in the car had him buckled and suddenly asked “where are your shoes???” He had them on in the mall because he was up and down…Shit. Shit. Shit. He just looks at me blankly. Sebastian is still screaming….
$50 Dollar shoes. I yell at Mateusz. He is crying. They both are crying. 
Get Mateusz back in the double stroller. Get Sebastian into the Ergo and run back to the store. Mateusz keeps saying “sorry mummy. Sorry mummy” I am trying to comfort him, teach him a valuble lesson I have still not mastered about keeping track of your things, and remember where I had been…This section, and this section. Finally it clicks! THe dressing room!! I run over there. And boom! There are the shoes!!! Disaster skirted! Damn Stride Rite shoes, you are so over priced, but I love my kid, and his cute big feet, so we need to spend tons of money on the shoes he wears for three months if we are lucky and he, or his mama don’t lose them first. $50 fucking dollar shoes are placed back in the stroller. Sebastian is calming down with all the jostling, and looks sleepy. I have a feeling we won’t make it home before nap time. That means we will miss lunch, and the gold fish the kids were snacking on while I was in the dressing room will be the only meal they have before. Why can’t I be one of those moms that are prepared….
Run back into the car. I still have to Pee. 
Get in car. Talk to my mama and firm up plans for the weekend. Both boys fall asleep the last five minutes of car ride home.  
Once home Mateusz and Sebastian wake up at the same time. I have to hurry to get Mateusz to sleep before he wakes wakes up and then won’t nap. BUt sebastian is so sad. And even if Mateusz does get to sleep, I have to carry screaming Sebastian upstairs to nurse…which one to choose? Mateusz. I grab his bear and carry both. I lay him down and he says Giraffe…crap, he is still in the car. Do I just put him to sleep and forget Giraffee…but what if he won’t sleep without him? What if he falls asleep while I am getting him and I wake him up giving it to him?? Shit. 
Sebastian is still screaming. I get him and giraffe. I throw giraffe in at Mateusz, who is sleeping…but sits up just as I am closing his bedroom door. 
I sit down to nurse Sebastian. 
I still have to pee. 
Nursing Sebastian I try to take a moment to appreciate how beautiful he is, but I also need to call a few places for an event this weekend, and Mateusz has a diaper rash that still is causing him pain, and man, I am hungry. And I still need to pee. 
Sebastian asleep. Lay him down. I hear Mateusz stir. 
I run to the bathroom. 
Go down stairs make my phone calls. And start thinking about lunch.
Start netflix. Get bread out for a pb and J sandwich.
Mateusz wakes up and is calling for me. Fuck. It has only been 15 minutes since he went down. Bad afternoon is coming. 
I go to him. I ask him if he has pooped. He says yes.  I put him on the changing table knowing full well this will wake him up, and there is only a small chance that he actually pooped, but if I don’t change him and he has pooped or is close to peeing through I will be even more upset with myself. There is no poop. I attempt to explain to him about lying and telling the truth. He rubs his eyes and yawns….
I tuck him back into bed. And go downstairs. I play netflix. 5 seconds in…
“mommy…hurry. Stuck. Help. In house, stuck. Help mommy. Twinkle Twinkle Twinkle star. Help mommy.” All in this really cute voice right at his bedroom door behind his gate. He is awake. I am hungry and would love to chill for a moment, but I don’t see that happening. 
Just another day in paradise  :-))))
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There are times when I am lost. When I don’t know what I am doing. Where I am not appreciating the time I have with the kids. And, sadly, it is more often than I care to admit. But there are moments, when the stars align and I feel the true beauty and glory of having children. Their little laughter, and running feet. Joy. Pure joy. Their kisses, and hugs…such warmth has never filled my heart before. Today. Was a good day. Some rough moments to be sure, but nothing I can’t look at and laugh at. I love our boys. They are magical. And I am so lucky to be their mother.

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An afternoon

Laying on a blanket in the sunshine. I hear, feel the wind, watch the leaves shiver and shake. Mateusz is stretched out on the blanket. A coat hanger and a stick in his hand. He is fishing, At least in his mind he is. Sebastian is sitting upright, or crawling or trying to take a bite out of an apple. And I am watching with great delight the interplay between them. The boys, Oh these boys fill my life. 

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