m has been talking a lot about being deaf lately,
and her comments range all over the place:
"mom, i don't like having implants because it's just hard sometimes and no one else has them."
"this girl at dance asked me five times what my implants were and i said, 'i'm deaf so that's how i hear.' but she kept asking and then finally she just said she'd have to ask her mom about that."
on valentine's day we each shared someone we loved and one reason why: "i love mommy and daddy because you got me implant surgery."
"mom, i love my implants. did you know that i like when i take them off i can just be calm and hear nothing?"
"are any of the other babies deaf like me?
did they have to take a hearing test too like when i was born?"
(she just had two new cousins born in the last month)
"i'm doing cochlear implant surgery on my baby doll because she's deaf just like me. these are her hospital tags (and she wrapped washi tape around her wrist and ankle)"
"can i go to PS (her deaf school) for kindergarten? there's lots of kids with implants there."
i think she's growing into recognizing who she is as a person (including having hearing loss.) part of that is realizing when her friends or new kids notice her implants
or when she has to stop playing to get her wig tape fixed
or to get her fm system during school storytime
or when it's a raining and other kids can go play but she has to make sure she's covered up.
this is the model of implant that m wears.
and they are not waterproof or water resistant,
so bathtime and swimtime are either silent for m, or we do a time-consuming waterproofing method that involves a swim cap and lots of patience (and the risk of damaging her implants).
suffice it to say, water activities are not my favorite.
enter, the opportunity for m to try out a new waterproofing method that would mean less drama and so much less stress!
and for m, less feeling like she is different from all the other kids (which was reason enough for me)
her audiologist lent us a newer implant, which is water resistant
to be part of a study to see how effective these little plastic sleeves are in getting implants dry.
we had a great afternoon, meeting other families with deaf kids
and m got to swim in the pool without all the drama of what we usually do.
it was so much fun for her...
and here it is, a picture of the little sleeve that goes over the implant
(i called it a implant condom since i'm so high class)
it worked amazingly well, and my girl had so, so much fun
splashing around so happily with all the other kids.
i got kind of teary watching her soak up being around a bunch of kids like her (especially the big kids!) and getting to swim like any typical kid without a huge routine. she was slightly obsessed with this "big" girl with implants and it reminded me that although my daughter is thriving in the regular, hearing world, that it is important for her to spend time with other people with hearing loss. i guess for now i'm erring on the side of talking about identity stuff when and if i can, and we'll see what she wants as she gets older.
i'm so proud of my girl, for so many reasons,
and watching her mature and more aware of who she is evolving into is such an honor.