Single Mom.

Being a single mom is hard. But duh. You know this. Everyone knows this. This is why we tell kids to wait until marriage to have sex. This is why we as a culture feel a little tug on our hearts when we find out someone is pregnant that is single. We Know the journey ahead of them is going to be hard. Not impossible. Just hard.

My sister, my cousin, and I recently got our sons together for a play date. Their boys are 13 months and 9 months old. When we were together they both made a similar comment to me. “Man Lauren. I don’t know how you did this alone. I think of you all the time whenever I’ve had a tough day and can hand the baby off to my husband”

I hear this often and I usually just say “yeah, it is hard at times, but you don’t really think about it. You just do what you have to do.”

And that’s true, but personally I feel like the most difficult parts of being a single mom go un noticed. Like we all know the normal hard parts of being a single mom. Like being the only one in your home to feed, change, entertain, and educate your baby. But there’s so many other things that are hard about parenting alone that I wasn’t expecting.

So I want to break down for you the hardest parts for me personally.

– You don’t have someone to take photos of you and your baby napping together or any other candid moments in your home. This may seem so silly, but it wrecks me to my core when I see photos of moms and their babies napping together on the couch or in bed or cooking together in the kitchen because I’ve never had anyone to do that for me. I don’t ever wanna forget how perfectly James fits in my arms. Or how his chubby little feet kick me in my face. Or how cute we look sitting together on our stools in the kitchen! But I don’t have many photos of those moments of us together. And I don’t get the moments back. Like those early years are gone. I’m making it a point from now on to either hire someone to come take pictures of every day life every once in awhile or being more intentional with asking family and friends to take photos of me and James together whenever they visit.

– You don’t have anyone to laugh with when they do the funniest things or anyone to cheer with when they hit huge milestones on a daily basis. There’s no one home with me to laugh with or by my side helping me cheer james on. I find ways to share my excitement like, oversharing on Facebook or FaceTiming family. But it’s just not the same as always having someone home with you.

– You don’t have anyone saying thank you for all that you do. My sisters husband is pretty awesome (don’t tell him I said that. He’ll probably get an even bigger head 😜)

But he’s so great because he tells my sister all the time how thankful he is for her and how awesome she is at being a mom and how hard she works! Single moms just don’t get that kind of encouragement. I look forward to the day that James can say that he loves me and that he is thankful for me. Even though I may have to wait 20 years! Lol

With Mother’s Day approaching I decided that this year I was going to do special things for myself because I freaking deserve it and if James could do this stuff for me now I’m sure he would. So I went to my favorite florist and ordered beautiful flowers, I went to my favorite jeweler and ordered a special necklace with his initial and birthstone so my sweet boy is always close to my heart, and on mother’s day I’m taking out my son and my mom to a fun dinner.

But I also want to do more. And not for me. I want to give other deserving single moms a gift that they might not even know they need. I want to give the gift of photos. I want to photograph these moms in their homes doing normal mom stuff. I don’t want them to pick out outfits, I don’t want them to be posing smiling at the camera. I just want to be their candid photographer for the normal every day life even if it’s just for an hour.

So I need your help. I need you to nominate a single mom who would love this. Or if you’re a single mom nominate yourself.

Being a single mom is hard so I want to help make life a little more joyful for other single moms. We gotta look out for one another!! It takes a village right???

Xoxo,

Lauren.

****Also I just want to mention that James’ Dad is very great single dad who works hard taking care of James too! He’s very involved in James’ life and is a great dad to him. This post is in no way saying that being a single dad is easy breezy. Some Single dads do a lot of hard work too and that shouldn’t go unnoticed!***

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Sharing

Sharing

James is about to turn two and he’s like a real toddler now. Like running around, jumping off of stuff, having opinions, and yes. Tantrums.

Ya’ll. They say terrible twos for a REAL reason.

James is typically really easy going, silly, and so sweet. He’ll give you hugs and kisses on command and he can really just melt your heart. But every once in awhile a beast comes out. An unrecognizable beast. When this happens I look at him, and think. “OMG!! Who are you?!? Why are you acting like this. What have you done with my sweet boy??”

This behavior usually happens when he is in a situation where he has to share. Like when he’s at hands on house playing with the cows and then leaves to go play with the pigs, but then comes back to play with the cows. Except now the cows are being played with by another kid. Most kids would either go play with the kid nicely, go find another thing to play with, or wait their turn.

Not my kid. No, He goes and pushes the bigger kid out of the way and then tries to sit on him so he can play with the cows all by himself. 😳😳 HE. TRIES. TO. SIT. ON. HIM. And he’s doing this All while crying because someone is playing with “his” cows!!!

Oh lord have mercy

So as I remove my kicking, barf crying, red faced toddler from the scene, Every parent is looking at me and I walk past them with the possessed toddler. The ones who have kids older than James look at me with sympathetic nod as if to say “we understand. You did nothing wrong. All kids are demons at some point. We salute you”. The ones with kids younger than James look at me with disgust. They clearly haven’t experienced this YET, and they’re almost positive their kid will never act like THAT! Let’s let them all live in this ignorance for a little bit longer. Their reality will be coming soon.

While I talk James down from this hysteria, I try to tell him how sharing is a good thing!! I try to tell him that the cow wasn’t his to begin with and that the little boy was allowed to play with it too! I tried to reason with him but he just isn’t quite old enough to understand all of this emotionally.

Sharing is hard. It’s just…. hard.

And you know what?? Even when you’re 32, sharing is hard. Especially when you have to share the most precious thing in the world.

Most of you who are close to me know that this past winter I had to learn how to share too! I had to learn how to share my son!

James’ Dad and I now have joint custody which hasn’t been the easiest transition for me. So i see a lot of James’ struggles in myself. There are times that I want to kick and scream and cry so hard I get red in the face.

But sharing is good!

I think God planned this transition for my life the same time James was learning to share so I’d have some sympathy with him because now I know a big hug, and empathy can help in big ways. When you have that support you are capable of Making the right choice.

So as James learns how to share his toys I get to be a good example to him and show him how sharing may be hard but it is a good thing!!

Xoxo, lauren.

“Momma, What’s that on his head?”

If you haven’t noticed, my son wears cochlear implants, Which is basically a prosthetic ear that he wears so he can hear. James was born permanently and profoundly deaf and after we found out that news we were presented options on what we could do. His dad and I decided that cochlear implants would be the best for him because they would give him access to sound and it would give him a greater opportunity at being mainstreamed into a typical school.

We knew, going into this plan, that James would have to have a long surgery at a very young age, that there would be many years of speech therapy and doctors appointments, and that he would have to wear a processor on his head for the rest of his life.

I remember that last part was hard for me to stomach for some reason… I didn’t want my perfect baby to have to wear magnets and plastic on his head forever. I loved his perfect head just the way it was and I didn’t want to change it. It just wasn’t fair, I kept thinking. I also didn’t want people staring at him constantly, or being grossed out because they thought the processor was screwed directly into his head. (it’s not BTW. They’re attached by a magnet. We take off his processors at night and when he isn’t wearing the processor you can’t even tell he has magnets under his skin!)

I felt so guilty for thinking this way too. Oh so guilty. Was I really this vain?

Apparently I was, but after stopped and took some time to think about life without cochlear implants I realized I was being stupid. So stupid. Of course I wanted my kid to hear!!! And if that meant he would have to wear processors for the rest of his life, so be it!

After that moment of realization, I decided I needed to be proud of his CI’s so one day he will also be proud of them too. I never want him to be ashamed of being different. So to do that I wanted to educate people around me so they weren’t afraid of them or grossed out by them.

So when it came time to choose the brand and color of his processors, we decided on black. Not only because they looked sleek and cool and he could legit look like a secret service agent if he wanted to, but also because I knew people were going to stare so I wanted it to be obvious that he was wearing a Cochlear Implant processor.

Being obvious gives me an opportunity to talk to other moms and kids at the park about CI’s and show them how the they work. So when I hear, “Momma, whats on his head?” I get excited because I get to show them what they are and how they work! People are scared of the unknown (I know I was) so I try to jump at the chance to show others that they’re not scary! They’re actually super incredible. Like the fact that he was born deaf, but can now understand speech is beyond me.

It also gives me the chance to let others know that if he doesn’t turn towards them or answer when they call his name at the park it isn’t because he doesn’t want to play, it’s because he couldn’t hear them clearly and to try calling his name again. I let them know that he can hear, but sometimes he misses a few things so be patient and either say what you said again, move into his eye sight so he can see you’re talking to him, or tap him on the shoulder to get his attention. (Although sometimes even when he can DEFINITELY hear you he’ll ignore you anyway. This isn’t a faulty CI, this is just my stubborn son being a normal 1 year old)

And Lastly, It gives me the opportunity to let other moms know how proud I am of James, and how much I adore his cochlear implants. I let them know that they are an incredible gift. Because they are. Every night before bed we pray for our family and then thank God for the gift of Cochlear implants.

Looking back I feel ashamed that I was so vain about James’ appearance. Because now, after only 8 months, I love those “black things” on his head. I don’t want to hide them! My hope is that one day he’ll be proud to have them too. But I also know that James is not me…. and there will probably come a day where he wants to blend in more. So, if one day he wants to grow his hair out to hide them, or get blonde colored processors so they aren’t as noticeable, I will stand behind him and support that decision. But for me. I will always love seeing them.

So to all of you who are reading this and haven’t seen James’ new ears yet please stop and talk to us. We’ll be happy to show you how they work. We’ll also probably show you how high James can jump , how BIG he is, and he might show off his “muscles”. Because that stuff is pretty cute too.

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That one time I gave online dating a second chance.

Well guys. It’s official.

I started the process of online dating again. This time will hopefully yield greater results than last time, but who knows what will actually happen.

You can read about my previous online dating experience Here. Trust me. You’ll want to read it.

I decided to join match.com a month ago and I recently joined Bumble a week ago. So far my approach has been very different than my last online dating venture, which I think we can all agree is probably a good thing. This time I’m only going to go on dates with guys who I actually think I’d be a good match with rather than serial dating everyone. That being said, I haven’t actually gone on a date yet 😂.

While browsing both Match.com and Bumble I’ve noticed a few things that are both hilarious and frustrating.

Here’s what I’ve noticed so far.

First, I’ve noticed Bumble has more guys that I would want to date, but after matching with them, our conversations die off very quickly. I can only assume this is because the next match is just a swipe away. It’s easy to be distracted on this site because it feels good knowing there’s someone else out there that finds you attractive. It’s like a little high you feel when you get a match, ya know? I’m guilty of this distraction as well, so I’m undecided on how I feel about bumble.

Second, match.com is completely different. I get “matched” with 12 guys a day and I’ll be honest. Not one of them have I been interested in. I have my age limit set to 37 and I get matched with 50 year olds…. i don’t get it. I just want match to be better and actual match me with guys that fit my criteria. But maybe I just haven’t explored enough.

Another thing I’ve personally noticed is I feel like a lot guys on these dating sites are doing their profiles all wrong. If I could give some advice to guys on how to better their own profile here’s what I’d say.

*disclaimer: These are MY personal thoughts. So you might disagree. Actually you’ll probably disagree.*

Guys, stop putting your height as a selling point.
Look. I get it man. Girls tend to prefer taller guys. I’m not an idiot! So I understand that your height might be a really good selling point to some, But if that’s all you’ve got going for you then that’s sad. Dazzle us. Show us your personality!! I mean, at least show me you know how to write sentences. Simply listing your Occupation and height is just not enough for me. When I see that you only wrote your height down I assume you have nothing else going on. Boring, I’m bored!

Stoooop with the Mirror selfies without your shirt on flexing in the bathroom. Just stop. I’ve asked a lot of girls their opinion and No one likes it. Want to post a photo of you shirtless flexing? Great. Go to a beach or pool and have a friend take a photo of you. Or take a photo of yourself at those places. Just don’t do it in your bathroom. Also if you INSIST on a bathroom selfie please remove the pink adult tooth brush next to the blue toothbrush from the photo, if I see this I’m going to assume you have a girlfriend.

You know what. No. Just stop with the bathroom mirror selfies all together. Shirtless or clothed they just don’t work for dating sites. Those types of photos are reserved for Instagram stories not dating profiles.

Also, no one wants to see Photos of random things that don’t include you in the photos. So photos of scenery, Movie posters you like, or photos of just your pets by themselves need to go. We want to see photos of you!! Youre like wasting my time with that stuff. I know I know You’re probably thinking, “Lauren it’s so hard, I don’t have any photos of me. I’m a dude. I don’t ever take photos when I’m doing fun cool stuff. And it’s weird to ask my friends to get a group photo.” To that I say Find a female friend, coworker, family member, or hire someone to take photos of you. Tell them privately you need decent photos of you for your dating profile. Most girls will love the idea of helping you and even give you the honest feed back that’ll help you look your best. In fact ask me. I’ll help you!

I feel like this should go without saying, but please don’t post photos of you at your wedding with your ex wife cropped out. Again. I get it. You don’t have many photos of yourself but at least find a wedding photo where we don’t see your ex wife’s wedding dress in the corner of the photo!

This one also seems obvious to me but apparently it needs to be said because of the frequency of profiles Ive seen with this..but for real…I really don’t want to see Photos of you holding a gun in every photo. EVERY. Photo. ?!?!? Don’t get me wrong. I personally don’t find gun ownership unattractive. But by the looks of your profile I’m going to assume you carry one everywhere you go and I personally wouldn’t feel safe going on a first date with you knowing you could at any point pull a gun on me. Don’t be a dummy. Think about what you’re portraying in these photos and how ladies will be interpreting them. Majority of girls already feel a little uneasy meeting up with someone on a dating site so please don’t give us another reason to not want meet up with you. Also. Don’t bring a gun to a first date.

The last thing that bothers me a little is the lack of engaging information in most guys “about me” sections.
Here’s what is listed in most guys profiles.
“Hey. I never know what to say here. I don’t really like talking about myself but I’m just a normal guy looking for an HONEST caring sweet spontaneous girl. Communication is huge for me. I don’t like games.
I love my family, friends, my dog and would do anything for them. 6’3″. ”

I don’t even know why I read half of the profiles I come across. There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re just all the same. And boring. So if I were to give advice to someone about their “About me” section I’d say: Stand out! Write something that showcases you, something clever, funny, authentic. It’ll go a long way!

Or don’t. Because What do I REALLY know! I’m the one who’s single!!

So now You’re probably wondering what I have for my about me section…and it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t share with you what I have written so to be fair and to charm you with my creativity here’s what I have:
(My profile picture)

Well hello there!
Online dating is exhausting isn’t it? It’s like a full time job looking through all of the people on here. So to make this less exhausting for you. I’ll let you know why you should date me!

Lauren’s resume:
Objective: To find love so we can build a future and family together.

Strengths:
First off I’m pretty entertaining. I love talking and connecting with people and it’s easy for me to find something in common with just about anyone.

Second, I’m very self sufficient and independent. I love working hard for everything that I have and find great joy in being able to do things myself. Most guys I’ve met find this trait unattractive since they don’t feel needed. But isn’t being WANTED better than being needed? I think so!

Third, I’m passionate about family. I know. I know…Everyone says they love their family so this isn’t what makes me unique, but it needs to be said! Family is HUGE for me. I’ve been fiercely loved by my family and I hope to show that same love to present and future family.

Skills and achievements:
I’m a kickass mom, I enjoy hosting get togethers, being adventurous and exploring new things, dining out, and I love a good bonfire. I also own my own house, car and business which I think is pretty darn cool.

References:
Matt (Gay best friend) says: “Lauren is Fun. loves to laugh and try new things. Goes above and beyond in everything she does and is creative and outgoing. Fierce smize. Bomb hair.”

Anonymous says: “Lauren is Beautiful, Confident, Fun”

Katie says: “Lauren is one of those people who can turn lemons into lemonade. Her strength is something I’ve always admired and think it is what makes her such a great friend.”

Katherine says: “Lauren loves to have fun and bring people together! She a hardworking dedicated mother to the cutest kid on Earth. All her friends love her gorgeous smile and caring nature. She’s creative, independent, and She’ll add a lot of fun to your life. But make sure you reward her with love because she deserves it more than anyone else I know.”

Reasons why you shouldn’t date me:
So as to not waste your time, here are few things that are deal breakers for me.
⁃ I have a son, so if you don’t want kids I’m not the right one for you. I also want to have more kids so if you are done with the baby stage in life I’m also not the girl for you.
⁃ I’m here to find love so if you’re just looking to date with no end objective then I am not the girl for you!
⁃ I believe in God and that is a big part of my life. If you don’t believe in religion, that’s totally fine, but we probably wouldn’t be a good match.

*End of profile *

Is it cheesy? Yep!
Is it something different? You betcha.
Will it work? Who the heck knows.
Should you show this to your single guy friend who would be perfect for me? Absolutely 😂😂

What are your pet peeves about online dating profiles? I’d love to hear what guys hate about girls profiles.

That’s it for now!
XoXo,
Lauren.

Happy New Ears!

May 19, 2017

The day James got his new ears.

It was a whirlwind of a day to be honest. I have thought about this day and how it would go in my head for months. I planned out his outfit, which was a custom onesie and super HEARo cape to match. I made sure James had his biggest fans there! Me, his dad, and both grandmas. I thought about what camera I would bring to record his first reactions to hearing our voices for the first time with the CI’s. I thought about how he react hearing these new sounds And I thought about how I would react seeing him hear things with his Cochlear Implants. I thought about EVERYTHING because this day has been on my mind since the moment I found out my son was permanently deaf.

We arrived to CHOP early and got settled in. James, being the social kid that he is, walked around and said hi to all the other kids there. Soon our audiologist, who shares the same name as the “King of Pop” came to get us. As we walked back he commented on James’ cape and let us know what the plans were for the day. First we would sit him down and attach the implants and send different types of beeps through them. Once the audiologist gained a threshold he would turn them on and we could talk to James. He let us know that sometimes kids cry during the computer part and sometimes they don’t react at all, and sometimes, but very rarely, they smile and laugh. So we were to prepare ourselves for any reaction.

During the computer part James was a mess. He didn’t like having the wires from the computer touching him, and he wasn’t a fan of us holding down his hands so he couldn’t touch the processors. Which is reasonable. I don’t like when I can’t move my hands either!! After doing one of ears with the computer it was time for him to take a quick snooze so we could learn all about the new technology that would be part of our lives forever. While he slept we learned about the processors and how to care for them. It was boring, but necessary.

After a brief kitty cat nap we woke James up and did the same thing to the other ear. Once the boring computer stuff was done it was time for him to hear our voices for the first time with the CI’s. I say “for the first time with CI’s” and not “for the first time” because James actually heard our voices with his hearing aids. I like to make that distinction because some kids have never heard sounds before they get activated!

BUUUT this moment was special because it was the first time James would be hearing our voices the way they will sound like now with processors.

James didn’t really have a positive or negative reaction, he cried for a couple seconds then settled down, then would cry again. I’m sure it was overwhelming to him to hear the new sounds that were coming in. But what shocked me the most was I didn’t cry or get emotional. like at all. I even texted my friends who also have kids who recently have had their implants activated and asked them if I was a bad mom for not crying when my baby heard my voice. They reassured me my reaction was natural, but I still wanted that emotion moment.

I mean, I dreamed about this moment. I would cry thinking about the moment, but I felt very little. I mean don’t bet me wrong I was happy and laughing and excited to see those cute processors on my baby’s head. (Seriously they look so cute on him!!) but it wasn’t the reaction I was dreaming I’d have.

To watch a video of James hearing with his Implants click HERE.

So! How is James doing now a few days later?

Well I’m so glad you asked. He is doing better than I could have ever imagined. The goal is to get him to wear the processors every single second he’s awake, but toddlers being toddlers usually makes that super difficult. Most kids pull them off the second you put them on their head, and they aren’t too coordinated yet, so they fall or bump their heads often which knock those implants right off. It’s usually a battle for months to keep them on.  I was warned to enjoy the time in-between the hearing aids and the implants because if I thought hearing aids were hard I was in for a rude awakening with the implants.

HOWEVER. James has got himself some magic ears that apparently want to keep the processors on. I don’t have to fight him to put them on, and I don’t have to attach them as often as I thought I would. I mean he’s still a toddler who bumps into things for crying out loud. He does wear them almost every second he’s awake….. however, this kid gets SUPER sleepy now. I assume it’s because he’s adjusting to this new sensation and it is simply exhausting using his brain that much. That being said Im pretty proud of his dad and me for being so diligent and patient with putting them back on whenever they do fall off. The more access to sound James get the better his outcome will be!

Today I decided I should let James listen to music with his implants. I would let him listen to music when he had his hearing aids, but he would cry when I played music, so I usually just let him listen to it every once in awhile because early intervention said I should. I didn’t have high hopes for today, but I wanted to try. So I put on “Malibu” by Miley Cyrus and waited to see what his reaction would be.

At first he looked confused, but then the corners of his mouth creeped up to form a big smile, which was followed by him jumping up and down dancing. He jumped, he giggled, he clapped. HE LOVED it! I work from home and one of my employees, Val, was there to witness this moment with me. She filmed him jumping up and down while I admired him with the biggest smile on my face. Later in the day when it was just me and James I decided to play the song again to see if he would have the same reaction. He did. and out of the blue I started sobbing. I mean hyperventilating, ugly girl, bawl your face off crying.

It broke my heart when James hated music with his hearing aids. Before he was born I would dream of us dancing together listening to all the different types of music that I loved. I loved music and I loved dancing and all that passion went away because he couldn’t hear it. My love for music was gone. But today. Today he danced. All the emotions I thought would come when he was first activated came in like a tidal wave when I saw him dance. So if you’re reading this, Miley Cyrus, Thank you for writing such a catchy song that my son and I can now dance to!

I’m sure there will be tons more things that get this momma’s heart bursting with pride and joy, and every victory deserves to be celebrated! But today I celebrate this moment!

To watch the sweet video of James dancing click HERE. And another fun video of him dancing HERE.

HAPPY NEW EARS JAMES!!!

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Before Surgery!

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Such a brave Boy!!

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Not feeling the greatest, but still waved to all the nurses that came in to check on him.

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So Sleepy on the way home!

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The next morning it was like nothing happened. hahah he was playing like normal!

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Healing quite nicely!

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I’ve never claimed to be an artist….Thankfully my friend matt can take my chicken scratch and turn it into this …….Print18679253_10154714285962426_1553707009_n

Activation day!!

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Super Hearo’s need their blankets sometimes.

XOXO

Lauren Fisher

 

 

We’ve Been Approved

It’s official guys!! James has officially been approved to receive cochlear implants in both ears!!! His surgery date April 25th which is only a month away!! AHHHH. This news is just such a weight lifted off of my shoulders since I’ve been waiting for this news for what seems like an eternity.

I know most of you don’t know much about cochlear implants because I didn’t know much about them before James’ diagnosis, so I thought I’d give you all quick run down on the very basics.

Cochlear Implants (CI’s for short) convert sound into electrical pulses which then stimulate the auditory nerve. The brain then interprets that as sound! Pretty incredible right?!?

How it works. (this is summarized from Cochlear’s booklet of information)

  • The outside part that we will see is called the Processor. This device houses the microphone where the sound is picked up and the audio processor which codes the sound into a digital information.

ci implant

  • From there that digital information is sent to the coil and is transmitted across the skin through a magnet to the implant.
  • The implant interprets the code and sends the pulses to the electrodes that are put in the cochlea.
  • The auditory nerve picks up that signal and sends it to the brain. Then the brain will  recognizes that as sound.

If you don’t quite understand all of that, don’t panic. I didn’t quite get it at first either. I honestly still don’t know if I really know whats happening! All you need to know is this.

  • There’s an outside part that hears the sound and looks like a bluetooth. It attaches to James’ head by magnets
  • There’s an inside part that receives that sound and somehow magically sends its to the brain bypassing the damaged part of the cochlea.I assume this is done by some sort of wizardry
  • The CI processors aren’t permanently on all the time. They are only attached to the head by magnets and hooked on to the ear.  They pop off oretty easily if you pull on them….so that should be interesting with a curious boy who loves exploring. 🙄
  • James will hear most sounds, but has to be taught how to understand what those sounds are. This takes time. Sometimes lots of time. He also won’t be able to hear from far distances but therapy will teach him ways to cope with that!
  • Implants don’t restore natural hearing. Think of them as a tool used to have access to sound. My friend Kelsey who has a daughter with cochlear implants around James’ age explains it perfectly on her recent blog post. you can read about her experience here! Kelsey’s blog

impalnt kid

(This is what an implant looks like when its on!…this is not James haha)

So at the end of April James will have his surgery and they will put in the implant part and then about three weeks after that they will program and put on his processors. Exciting stuff right??!?

BUT there’s even more news!!

What’s even more exciting is James signed his first word! Can you believe it? My 11 month old is signing!!  I woke up one morning with james and handed him his new dog stuffed animal and he signed “Dog” to me!! I don’t think I could have praised him enough!! I just kept cheering for him. James also knows “More” “Hi” “So big” and “hat”. Each day I feel like he’s learning more signs and that just makes my heart so happy.

One Last thing!

For those of you who pray I ask that you keep James and me in your prayers on April 25th. For those of you who don’t pray I ask that you keep James and me in your thoughts!

XOXO,

Lauren

IMG_0283

Squawk that way!!! 

A lot has happened since I have last posted. I thought I’d be more diligent with posting but it turns out free time limited and when it finally does present itself it is usually used for sleeping. #newmom

Now I know most of you follow and like most of my Facebook photos so you already know majority of this, but for those of you who aren’t as up to date let me fill you in, 6 weeks ago James turned 6 months old and within that week he cut two teeth, started eating real food, and started sitting up unassisted. My heart exploded with pride, but it also was a lot for this momma to handle! Like how am I supposed to be okay with how fast he is growing up? Seriously though… HOW IS THIS HAPPENING SOOOOOO FAST?!? I went through his photos from when he was first born and bawled my eyes out! He was so tiny and that felt like yesterday. Too fast. I may or may not push him down when he acts like he’s going to crawl. Too soon James. Too soon. 

*Side note I don’t think the hormones everyone talks about have affected me at all. 😜*
As most of you know James was diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss at 3 months old, meaning he was born permanently deaf in both ears. His left ear is severely deaf and his right is profoundly deaf which means he can hear nothing out of his right ear and only very very loud noises out of his left ear or if you’re close enough to his left ear he can hear “shhhhh” or “sssss” sounds. If you see me get close to james’ left ear when we see you its because I’m “shushing” to get him to smile for you. He likes you, but he likes listening more. 
About 2 months ago James was fitted for his first pair of hearing aids. It was pretty cute/heart wrenching watching him hear stuff for the very first time! If you haven’t seen the video of his hearing aid activation do yourself a favor and go Here to watch it. Be prepared to cry though! It’s pretty stinking adorable.

With his hearing aids in he can hear better out of his left ear and still nothing out of his right ear. We go every three weeks to continue testing with his amazing audiologist but so far what we know is he can hear stuff better with the Hearing aids in but still not quite good enough for him to understand speech. So what that means is “bliss” “miss” “kiss” “diss” all sounds like “issss” to him. He can hear it, which is good, but it’s just not quite good enough. 

So now we’re definitely on the path to cochlear implants. With the implants he’ll be able to hear speech and sounds, but very differently than the way we hear sounds. It’ll take a lot of therapy, teaching, and hard work from both me and James for the next few years to train his brain to hear. The thing I want to stress to everyone is even with the CI’s (cochlear implants) James will still be deaf. This surgery doesn’t “cure” him. He will still rely on social cues, expressions, and lip reading to understand you. It’s not like he is vision impaired and then puts on glasses and can see normally. With his implant he will hear, just not the same way we do. You can google what CI’s sound like, but everyone processes the sounds differently so there’s no exact way to know what he’s hearing. (I think… I’m actually not a pro on this yet.) 

We aren’t technically approved yet to get the implants, but we have already passed the MRI scan and have shown consistent results in the audio gram proving he isn’t benefiting from hearing aids so the likelihood is high that we will be approved. And if he isn’t approved then we will move full force into sign language. Which is an eventual goal for him anyway so It’s not plan c it’s just a different route to start. I’d love for James to be bilingual! 

Thankfully we live in Pennsylvania and they have amazing early intervention services that come to the home and help teach James free of cost!! Since James isn’t hearing much he will likely fall behind on milestones. The goal of early intervention is to help make that not happen/do what we can to keep him on track with his listening peers. We meet with a teacher of the deaf every other week for now and we will be adding speech therapist weekly to our appointments as well. I love early intervention. They’re amazing. 

So far James is doing an amazing job at meeting milestones. We’re getting some more sounds out of him instead of just squawking, and he’s waving or grunting at people to get their attention. He’s a little behind on babbling but it’s hard to babble when you don’t know for sure what that even sounds like!! I’m constantly working with James to associate sounds with objects, signs with words, and practicing communicating back and forth. It’s exhausting, but worth it. HE is worth it. All of it. 
How can I help James!? I’m glad you asked!! 

– James and I would love if when you see him you wave to him hello and goodbye. We’re learning basic sign language right now and we want to reinforce that as much as possible! Also it’s super cute seeing him wave so you will want to see that. 

– Right now we also are working on the basics of communicating so if he squawks at you or blows raspberries, look at him and talk back to him or blow raspberries back to him. Then wait for a response, If he does respond praise him or keep going. But I warn you he can go on for awhile. So be prepared to hear some Loud noises. 

– We’re working on him recognizing his own name so If you call his name and he looks your way praise the crap out of him! He loves big facial expressions and hand movements as a reward. If he doesn’t look after three times. Tap on his shoulder and call his name at the same time so he can put the two together. 

– If you see a cat with him, point to it and then meow. If you see a dog, point to it and then bark. Bonus if you can sign those things to him too. Any sound association is appreciated. 

How am I doing? 

Being a full time single mom, working to provide for both James and myself, and keeping all therapy sessions and doctors appointments has proved to be quite challenging at times. There are days where I just sit in amazement that I’m doing it. Like I can’t actually believe it. And then there are days where I just sit and cry for hours. 

Doing it alone is hard. 

Harder than I actually imagined. 

Being alone is harder. 

I’ve got no one home with me to laugh with when James does the silliest things. He seriously does the cutest things and it’s just me who gets to see that. That’s hard. 

You always want what’s best for your child, and I feel guilty that I can’t always provide the best most normal life for him. 

Thankfully my mom has been there for me every step of the way. I don’t know how I’d ever thank her enough for all of her help. She really is incredible. I always feel bad that she is endlessly helping me with appointments, laundry (seriously he’s so little how does he create so much laundry!?!?) cleaning, decorating, landscaping and watching him so I can go work. She’s amazing. 

And my other family members are incredible too. My village is seriously perfect for me and James and I am so thankful that they’re ours !! 

So that’s our update for now!! 

Xoxo, Lauren and James