Thursday, May 22

What's in a name?

Kate has been trying out a few nicknames for Owen over the past month or so. It's very interesting to see what her two-year-old brain comes up with. This is a list of the nicknames she has tried.

Owey Oatmeal
Chubby Bubby
O-bud or O-bub
Owey Child
and finally...
Pigeon, sometimes shortened to Pig-ey (not to be confused with piggy)

This last one stuck for some reason. I don't even know where it came from, but James thinks it's because I call him "my little smidgen" - as in 'a very small quantity or portion' (though he's not so small any more). Whatever the reason, it's cute that she has her own nickname for him. I wonder if it will stick. If it does, I bet he'll hate it! Oh well, what's in a name anyway?

Monday, May 12

Welcome to Holland

This weekend I was organizing a notebook to keep track of the letters and information from the various doctors and specialists Owen has seen as well as the resources and curricula we continue to receive from TEIS (Tennessee Early Intervention Service). We have a coordinator from TEIS who comes to our home monthly just to check up on us and make sure Owen keeps on track with the goals we set for his development with regards to his hearing loss. We also have a developmental specialist, also from TEIS, who comes to our home once a week to work with us from a curriculum to show us how to interact with Owen in order to help him develop his listening skills. These are free services from the TEIS program, and I have been impressed so far. We also saw an audiologist/speech pathologist at UT this week who recommended we enroll Owen in speech therapy once a week there. TEIS works as a secondary to your medical insurance, so even though Cigna doesn't cover speech therapy, TEIS would pay for it. We just need to decide whether this would be overkill as adding another weekly appointment to the calendar could be pretty stressful and it sounds like it would be very similar to our weekly TEIS appointment, at least right now until Owen is a little older. So, we'll be talking to various people about that as we make that decision.

Anyway, the point of this is to say that in organizing this notebook, I found a story that the developmental specialist gave me at our first appointment and I just read this weekend. I thought it was pretty good and wanted to share it here.

Welcome to Holland
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo
David. The gondolas in Venice. You may even learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.
You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?" you say. "What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy. I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life, I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But, there's been a
change in flight plans. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So, you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must
learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But, after you've been
there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to
go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But, if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.
-Emily Perl Kingsley

Now, Owen's disability is very manageable, and, in time, through the use of his hearing aids (and assuming his hearing loss doesn't get any worse) I imagine it will become second nature and we'll almost forget he has a disability at all. I also know that God prepared me for this journey throughout my pregnancy, as He kept telling me that somehow things with this child would be different. But, I liked the analogy in this story and I think it could be applied to other things in life besides raising a child with a disability. I am so very thankful for this life and these children I have been given, and I will try to remember when everyday life gets difficult that I am blessed.

Thursday, May 1

That's one happy kid!

Owen turned 5 months yesterday and I thought I'd add a post to show how much he's grown over the last month. He has really filled out and is looking like a chubby, older baby these days. No more fragile newborn look for Owen. I think he's weighing in around 16 pounds. It looks like he's caught up on his weight pretty well. Kate just might be in trouble one of these days!

Here are a few pictures to show how he looks now. His eye has cleared up and he has developed the biggest grin. Everyone at church on Sunday was commenting on his smiles and the ladies in the nursery said he was smiling at all the girls. The boy loves to smile! Someone said his grin is so big, you can tell from the back of his head when he's smiling. Good stuff!