We have now reached a special milestone- one year of hearing for Henry. Two years ago I was about to give birth to my second baby, and I had no idea of the journey I was about to embark on. Adapting to life with two children. Getting to know my little baby boy. And learning all about deafness and what that means. Today I have two gorgeous children, both with their unique strengths and weaknesses. We will continue to meet challenges as they arise, for both children as they grow older and more independent. We know we will have issues to deal with regarding Henry’s deafness, alongside many other issues we will face being parents - that’s life and that’s what makes it interesting. Will is way more concerned about Imogen becoming a teenager and wanting to go out with boys than he is about Henry growing up!
Henry is fast approaching 200 words. I am not so interested in his word count except that it is something quantifiable, something easy to measure. It is the more abstract things that I am most proud of. The sociable, little person that he has become (so different to the quiet, reserved, frustrated little baby we used to have). The way we have adjusted to Henry’s CI’s being part of our family life. Auditory-Verbal Therapy techniques have infiltrated our everyday interactions, and Imogen is as good as any of us. Henry has begun telling us when his coil comes off, and I look forward to him taking more responsibility for his CIs. I have developed some unusual quirks, like forgetting that babies wake up to loud noises, I am so used to Henry sleeping through anything. Most days pass and we barely think about Henry’s hearing loss. Putting his CIs on in the morning is as second nature as changing his nappy and getting him dressed. Our family and friends are great at replacing a coil if it comes off, but I think most of them don’t think about it either.
When Henry first got his CIs, they were new to all of us, so we were constantly talking about them, and answering questions from those around us. Now I hardly notice them, so it sometimes surprises me when I get questions out of the blue. I welcome questions from our friends and family, I feel touched that people are interested in Henry’s journey and love to talk about it with them. And of course many strangers too want to know, what is that on Henry’s head? My response varies depending on my mood, the tone of the questions and the situation. While I love to educate people about hearing loss- because I think the more people understand about it, the better world Henry, and other hearing-impaired children, will grow up in – the questions aren’t always asked in the most friendly way - Will he be like that forever? Is there anything else wrong with him? Was he born like that? But I must continue to answer with grace and poise, as my two little munchkins listen and model their understanding and behaviour from me
Last week when I was dropping Imogen off at school, one of the ‘tough’ boys from her class came up to Henry and said in a disparaging tone, what is that on his head? I let Imogen answer, since the question was directed at her. Trying to tie her hat on with one hand, while simultaneously jumping up and down (as only four year olds can!) and pointing to Henry’s CIs with the other hand, she said flippantly, they’re Henry’s CIs- see without these he can’t hear. Oh, cool, said the other boy, and they ran off to the playground together, with Henry chasing after them. Soon it will be Henry being asked these questions, and I look forward to a similar offhand reply.
A year ago we still weren’t sure if Henry had any other additional issues with development. We just kept trying to do our best for him and knew that whatever happened it would be okay. A year on, we think less about issues like that, and more about the general day-to-day toddler issues. Like not knowing whether to laugh or cry when you present him with a lovingly made dinner and he promptly declares “No... Bin!” But having been through this past year has certainly taught us to take nothing for granted. The fact that Henry can run and kick a ball, besides being extremely cute, is something that lifts my heart every time. It wasn’t a given that he would be able to do that. Every achievement, every skill he has developed, I feel thankful for. I know that many parents don’t have it as easy as us. I never forget this, and they have my admiration and appreciation every day. It is truly amazing the strength and courage that can be mustered for the love of a child.
This will be my last blog post. We have been through an amazing journey this past year, and it has been special to be able to share this journey with all of you through my blog. I will be forever grateful for the support that has been offered to our family from other parents, professionals who have become friends, and our family and friends. Thank you.
Sarah, William, Imogen and Henry.
Some final pictures...
And some videos:
Present Day -
Some final pictures...
|Imogen with the cake she decorated for "Happy Henry's CIs Birthday"|
|Henry and his Daddy|
|Henry with his friends Daisy and Atiya|
Henry after his surgery, January 2011
Henry hearing his first sounds, February 2011
Present Day -
Henry Reading, January 2012
Henry playing with his motobike, January 2012
Henry Drawing, February 2012
Henry and Imogen mucking about, Feburary 2012