Friday, February 13, 2015

February Update

(Editor's note: This blog post has intentionally been written in a question and answer format.)

Hey John! Sure is swell to hear from you again! What are you up to? 
I'm blogging.

That sure sounds neat! Whatcha gonna talk about?

Man, sounds awesome! Can't wait to hear more about it!

Well, for starters I'm working new hours now. Not to get into any details, but the industry I work in currently is experiencing some not so good times right now. But when one door closes, as the saying goes, another one opens. This particular door opened to a new opportunity in a different department doing some different stuff during what I guess you could classify as "off-shift" hours. Vague enough for you? Good.

It's been an adjustment, and leaving to go to work in the afternoon has become increasingly difficult for me knowing that after I leave I won't get to see Maddie again until the following morning (although we do FaceTime every night while I'm eating dinner at work). But I really love being home in the mornings and so does Mel. I've even gotten to take her to school this week, which freaked her teacher out a little bit ("is everything alright with Melissa???" Yes yes, she's fine.)

And I know what you're thinking: What about the Rangers? How will you watch the games? Well, the short answer is I probably won't. Unless it's Saturday, Sunday, or a west coast start time. But in case you had forgotten, things are very rapidly going to become quite busy around the old plantation soon. Hey, that sounds like a nice segue-way into my next subject. Next question, please.

That's our second daughter's face, partially blocked by her arm, by the way.

So I guess that little bundle of joy should be a-comin soon! Hope you guys are ready! 

That wasn't really a question.

Hard to believe that yes, in about one month's time we will become a family of four. It feels like things have flown by this time around. It went by fast with Maddie, but that didn't really happen until the first of the year, and then it zoomed by right up until the day she was born in April. With Norah, this has been at warp speed pretty much from the day Mel found out she was pregnant again.

How are we doing? I guess we're good to go. Maybe a little stressed. Okay, I'M maybe a little stressed. As you can imagine, the work situation hasn't helped matters much. Mel is too busy planning things and looking for headbands to go with a dress for newborn pictures and making meals to stick in the freezer and deciding that Maddie's big girl bed doesn't look awesome against this wall and needs to be against that wall instead to be stressed.

Among the things we're looking forward to in all this, we're both very intrigued to see what similarities and differences there are between Norah and her big sister (man, that sounds weird). Is she going to have the same personality as Maddie, who loves to laugh at everything? Are they going to be exact opposites? Is she going to be a horrible sleeper, unlike her sister who can go Rip Van Winkle on you pretty well?

Is Norah going to pass her first hearing test, and not have to endure everything her sister is going through? We just don't know. We're anxious to find out all of these things, and to love our second little girl to the ends of the earth and back, just as we do our first.

Say, how's that little ball of energy Madeline doing? I bet she's cookin' up some trouble right now! 

Well since it's 12:03 AM as I am writing this, no she is not. But Maddie is not really a ball of energy, oh no. I wouldn't call her that at all. Perhaps something more accurate, like what about: A spherical shaped object of massive amounts of propulsion. She's ALWAYS going. She's pretty much everything we want and need in a child. She keeps us on our toes, she makes us laugh, makes us cry a lot too, and makes us both realize the kind of parents that we want to be: Supportive, caring, not over-bearing, and always there for our children whenever they need us.

Maddie has been wearing hearing aids for five months now. They are in from the time she gets up in the morning until she goes down for a midday nap, and then are back in her ears when she gets up until she goes to sleep for the evening. We've changed battery types and can now get about 4-5 days worth of juice out of them, depending on how often they're being used, and we also still have to watch out for the occasional wandering toddler fingers to pull one out an ear and insert it into her mouth because it looks like it might be fun to chew on.

She's also been in speech therapy for five and a half months, and this is the most important part of it all.

Having a child with a disability like we do with Maddie, it's real easy to put up a force field around them and yourself and tell everyone else around you that she's just like all the other kids. That part of it is true - Maddie is just like all the other kids. She loves to play with the dogs, loves the swings at the park, loves to read, loves to kick her Frozen ball around the house, loves playing in the dirt.......all of that. As Mel talked about in her last blog, she was made in the image of God just like the rest of us were. He knew what He was doing when he made her, just as He did with everybody else. It's just that Maddie's ears don't work quite as normally as the rest of the kids around her do.

Now with all that being said, yesterday at speech therapy might have been one of, if not the best 45 she's had there. I mean, Maddie was responding to everything just like she should. She was repeating things, responding the way she should to everything and it was wonderful to see. She's come so far from the first therapy session where it was more or less just getting Maddie to turn and look at you when we made a syllable sound.

A few weeks ago, seemingly out of the blue, Maddie said the word "baseball" to us while we were playing outside. It was like nothing we had ever heard before: Clear as day, almost perfect consonants and was awesome. She had said other things up to that point too, your Mamas, Daddies, doggies, etc. But to us, when she said that it was a clear indication that everything we're doing, the hearing aids, the therapy, the sitting next to her at the dinner table making animal and transportation noises - it's working, it's all working. No doubt there's still going to be tough days for her and us. We worry almost daily if she's screaming and not cooperating because she's regressing or just being a toddler. But man, it was awesome.

In my head, I keep playing over scenarios of when she's older and in school and having to deal with questions from other kids about why she has to wear those things in her ears all the time. Maybe she won't know what to tell them, maybe she'll get upset and sad and come home crying to us wanting to know why she has have them. Or further down the road than that, and how they might affect whether or not she'll be good at sports. Or even further down the road than that, when she meets a boy and what his reaction will be when she explains going on with her ears to him? The time will come to address things like that, but not just yet because she's still just a kid. A kid who's about to become a big sister. Man, still sounds weird.

Wow John, that was really sweet! Really tugged at the ol' heart strings!

Please stop.

Ok, sorry.

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