This is Gage with his speech therapist, Karlee:
I la-hove Karlee. She has two kids and knows where I'm coming from in life. She has cute little forms that remind me when our next appointment is and what my homework is and what her homework is. She's so organized. And very flexible. In the scheduling kind of way. I don't know if she can, like, do a backbend.
She also has the name I, in a small way, wish I had. Don't get me wrong; I ADORE my name. Karlenn. It's a blend of my two grandpas, Karl and Glenn. But they took out the extra G and l. Because Karlglenn would be a little ugly. And I love my name because it pays homage to two really great guys.
I guess I'm saying that I would want my name to be Karlee (in a small way) because it would be so much easier for people. To me, when I look at my name, it's spelled phonetically. You read it and say it like it looks. KAR-lenn. Yet, every year on the first day of school, I had to endure teachers trying to figure out my name. And they came up with the weirdest things. "KarLEAN?" "KayLYNN?" Really? There is no y in my name at all. Where did they come up with that? That was a real common mispronunciation.
Another thing - companies think that I misspell my name on forms and very generously re-spell my name for me when they send me bills or whatever. Thank you, companies. I wasn't quite sure how to spell my own name. I appreciate you fixing it for me. My heck.
Anyways, we had therapy today in the park. I couldn't find any of Gage's balls, so out of desperation, I grabbed a game we have for the kids, called Blockers, and some cups. I figured Gage could put the tiles in the cups or line them up on the Blockers board or something.
I'm beginning to realize that Gage doesn't have very many toys. I haven't felt the urge to get him a lot, because he loves to play with, for example, Micah's belts. Or my serving spoons. Or my spaghetti serving size measurer.
But I'm painfully aware of his lack of toys when Karlee comes over. I do a quick sweep of Micah and Gage's bedroom before she comes, tossing any of Gage's toys into a bin and bringing them up. It's a chore, because Micah hoards Gage's toys. I have to look in every nook and cranny of their room to find all of the missing pieces.
I also have to vacuum our living room right before she comes over. Because who wants to sit on a disgusting floor with a bunch of crumbs on it from kids who aren't supposed to eat in the living room, yet still do it all the time??
So Gage's ears. He had tubes put in a few weeks ago, and I was a bad mom and forgot to take pictures of that process. Actually, I was a good mom, because I was trying to keep him entertained for two hours in a hospital room, with him on an empty stomach and no toys with me (I had no idea they'd keep us waiting that long), until they finally pulled him in to do the surgery. And then I had to hold him and try to calm him down for the half an hour afterward where he couldn't be consoled and was SO DANG MAD AT THAT THINGEY taped to his toe to monitor his heartbeat. He was so stoned that I would cover it up with a blanket and he would forget about it. But then five minutes later he would remember that pesky thingey on his toe and we'd start the whole process again.
It was really quite exhausting. So no pictures were taken.
I personally think it was an overwhelming success. So does Karlee. And so does the lady from the school from the deaf who helps me learn sign language. Her name is Ranie. (You pronounce it "Rainy." Now I can see how that would be hard for schoolteachers.)
Sometimes Ben thinks it was a success, and sometimes he thinks there is no difference. I think he wants to see a more dramatic, quick change in Gage. But from what Karlee and Ranie say, it's going to be a really slowwww process for him to acquire language. It's like his verbal skills are at 12 months old, even though he's almost three years old. And I'm seeing slow, sure progress. For instance, I only have to ask him once, in a normal voice, to stand up in the tub so I can wash his bum-bum. I used to have to yell it and do dramatic hand gestures five or six times to get him to hear and understand that.
He's doing a lot of mimicking, which is also a good sign of language acquisition. I'm supposed to use two- to three-word sentences and phrases when I'm speaking to him. The other day, he was eating applesauce. I kept saying, "Eat applesauce." And he was mimicking me: "Eee, DAH-dah-dah." It was adorable. Even if his words are unintelligible, we're supposed to praise him profusely for his attempts.
He's been yelling A LOT. I don't know if he's experimenting with his voice or what, but it's obnoxious. He won't use the words he does have in his arsenal (maybe four or five words) to ask for things. He used to grunt for something, and then I'd say the word and show him the sign, and he'd say mainly the vowel sound in the word, do the sign, and I'd give him the thing he wanted. Now he goes to the thing he wants and screams AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS. I still don't give him the thing he wants until he tries to say the word and do the sign, and he's impatient with me. So that's been...hard. I don't do well with yelling and screaming. Too much noise makes my skin crawl. I think I have Sensory Perception Disorder. But that is another post for another time.
Oooh, another good thing - he can hear you if his back is turned to you. That is amazing. Last week at therapy, I was on the couch with some books next to me. Gage turned away from his therapist and walked the several steps to get to the couch and look at the pile of books. Karlee said, "Bring book, Gage." And he heard her and did just that.
So I think it was the right thing to do. Even though the bill from it has caused me to abstain from some very fun recent events - an ice cream date with my friend Megs and a pedicure with my sisters tonight. Sighhhhh. I hate money. But it's worth ice cream and pedicure abstinence so that my son can hear. We've got a lot of work ahead of us, but the good thing is that we caught it relatively early. And his special preschool will be so good for him and his communication. I feel optimistic about his future.