Two years ago, Danny’s cochlear implants were activated with many hopes and dreams of the journey that was ahead of us. A lot of the blogs I’ve seen out there hit the 2 year hearing birthday and the posts are beyond incredible. They’re the dreams I had on that day: talking in full sentences, at or above age level for speech and language, hit the ground running kids who are nothing but amazing.
We’ve known for quite some time that Danny isn’t that kid, and this isn’t that blog.
Last year, for the first anniversary of his activation, I struggled a lot with it because I knew how far Danny was from what so many people experienced. This year, I still know how far he is – but I’ve come to peace with it, and have found new hopes and dreams to replace the old “typical” ones. Maybe cochlear implants haven’t done for us what they have for many families, but you know what? I still wouldn’t change a thing, and I will never regret it.
Danny hears. Finally, after a pretty long phase of being so thoroughly TWO that we wondered if the things were even turned on sometimes, he listens. When Eric laughs, Danny laughs. When Eric screams, Danny screams. When we say his name sternly, he at least stops to look at us, even if he goes right back to what he was doing. I can lean down and whisper in his ear, “Time to go to the car,” and he will stop what he’s doing and trundle off to the car, ready to climb in.
I can ask him where the “Red Bird” and the “Green Frog” and the “Black Sheep” are in his Brown Bear, Brown Bear book and he will happily point to each of them.
He can hear a cat mewing and respond in turn, “ee-ow!” He can pick up a stuffed Mario doll (a la Super Mario Brothers) and give it a kiss with an emphatic “mmmmwah!” because he knows that’s what an exaggerated kiss sounds like. He can light up with glee whenever we sing “All the little fish are swimming in the water,” and he can sit in his room pushing buttons on his Baby Tad and do the motions to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when it begins to sing.
He loves to play “ball,” is best friends with his “Mickey,” enjoys helping “put in” laundry, and will always “sit down for your seatbelt, Danny, so you can have some fruit snacks!”
He knows what the beginning of some of his favorite videos on YouTube sound like, and beelines for whichever computer is playing them, because he can tell where the sound is coming from.
He stops when he hears a phone ring, looking to me expectantly, and he laughs when he hears leaves being blown across the pavement by the wind.
If we go to McDonalds to play in their playland, because heaven knows boys need to get the energy out somehow during the winter, he pauses when we take his CIs off and looks between them and the playground, utterly torn between the two. (The playland does, however, win out in the end – if only because Eric runs by and his big brother trumps all in his world.)
Maybe Danny isn’t talking or behaving at an age-appropriate level with his speech and language, but even if he’s not the best case scenario, his CIs have given him – and us as a family – so, so much. There are moments daily that never would have been possible without them. Sure, we could have made sign work, maybe. The effort we have put into that path hasn’t rewarded us a thing though… He’s never shown any interest. We can share laughter, comfort, and joy through sound, and I am so thankful.
I said 2 years ago that I had witnessed a miracle, and I have continued witnessing them ever since. They may not be big and flashy, and he may never be a poster child for cochlear implants, but they’re our miracles. To this day, it’s still not uncommon for John and I to share a glance like, “Seriously – he just heard that? Isn’t that amazing?”
And you know, it really is.
I haven’t been to your blog in awhile (just read in my google reader)… but I like the (new?) look, and the pic at the top!
Happy 2nd hearing birthday, Danny! Those are all wonderful stories, and I enjoyed reading about all of your miracle moments. I hope that this next year brings many, many more.
Happy 2nd Hearing Birthday Danny! every moment with CIs is a miracle moment and I think Danny’s doing AMAZING! Way to go bud!