Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tom's next year

So it has now been two years since the rush to hospital, the diagnosis and the long wait. Time has done its healing and Tom has done some growing and recovering. He is in a wonderful place now.

A year ago I put together a montage of video clips and photos to show that progress and posted it here. There is now a sequel. It isn't quite as poignant a journey - its my opportunity to be super-indulgent dad.

So without further ado -

Tom's next year from Jason B on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

This new fangled blogging - tagging business

So Mom to Toes would like to know more about me and has 'tagged' the blog with this little questionnaire... well, I have a few minutes before himself emerges from his bedroom (maybe) so I'll have a stab. Given that its more about Tom than me, I'll answer it from his perspective.

A Blogger Tagging Game

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

I have to answer questions and people I tag have to answer the same questions, so here I go.

What was I doing 10 years ago:
Before I was a little boy, I was a baby. Then I was in mummy's tummy. Then I was a little boy and you were a little boy and you lived with Nanny and Papa and you played with me.
(Tom is not quite getting the 'not existing pre-birth' thing. He has also mistaken 'born' for 'bought' which is quite funny).

Me? 10 years ago I was a school teacher and still doing the job that I'm occasionally nostalgic about. It was '99 when the wheels came off.

Five Snacks I enjoy:
- Cake.... with icing. First I eat the icing then I leave a trail of the cake around so that daddy knows where I am
- Biscuits
- Chocolate
- Apples - really, I do
- Ice cream and I like to hold it until its running down my hand and possibly the walls too

and me? yeah, pretty much the same except faster and tidier

In the real world:
- Raisins and when you leave them in the sofa and on the windowsill they look like dead flies
- Fruit... lots and lots of fruit
- and cake
- and biscuits
- and sweets (trans. 'candy')

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Buy sweets. And cars. And biscuits. And treats. Lots and lots of treats.

I'm with him on the treat thing

Five jobs that I have had:
- My job is playing and when I'm pretending to be daddy its fixing.
- Pirate
- Scooby Doo
- Donkey
- Pingu

To fund these flights of fancy for Tom I'm a 'Usability Consultant' and if you know what that is, let me know because I'm not entirely sure.

Back in the day, I've been a farmhand, a school teacher and 'that web guy'.

Three of my habits:
- Asking 'why?' ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- Biscuits. Less habit, more 'addiction'

Me? Too busy to have habits.

Five place I have lived:
- The little house where I lived when I was a little baby
- This house
- Where we'll live if we ever sell...

Daddy lived all over the place (its an Armed Forces child thing thats turned into a 'can't make my mind up' thing)

Add one new part:
And this seems the most sensible new part...

What are the best pieces of advice you could offer parents of children newly diagnosed with a hearing loss:

1. Read a lot. Ask lots of questions of professionals and of other parents and then make decisions.

2. Do not let your child’s hearing loss define him/her.... or *you*. (Couldn't agree more with this one so I'm not going to change it).

And all the likely suspects are already tagged I think!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A comedy master class

This evening - at the dinner table. Tom, not overly impressed with the meal presented to him, is playing around and resisting all attempts to persuade him to eat.

Nik is doing faux-grumpy... which may actually be edging into genuine frustration with his stalling tactics.

'Tom... you're making mummy cross now. Are you going to eat your dinner?'

'At school Joe eats outside... in the drain'

... mustn't look up... mustn't make eye contact...

'If you don't eat some more potato, there will be no pudding Tom...'

'Harrison... wears girl's shoes'

Must... resist.... must not laugh...

We eventually leave him to it and retire to the kitchen. I threaten to eat the jelly and Tom stuffs his mouth full of everything left on the plate and appears in the kitchen to recover his dessert - without his trousers.

He returns to the table, smiling. Plotting.

We wash up. I can hear the telltale beeping of disconnected implants.

Tom has strapped himself into his booster cushion. Naked.

'I've taken my clothes off!'

I give up and we guffaw the evening away.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A bumper news day!

In the interests of preserving some sort of historic record, the last month or so has featured a few highlights worthy of record, in retrospect at least. That is to say, events that do not include 'that slave-driving company that I work for finding even more things for me to do' which may well be Nik's abiding memory of this spring.

Schools and all that

So... there was the Saga of the School Places which gripped Ruddington over the Easter period. The first we heard of it was via an email we received while in France and it darned near spoiled our holiday, let me tell you. We had applied for a place at the local infants school for next January as per instruction and the email informed us that the Local Authority had turned down our application.

I should mention that this is the only infants school in the village. It is the infants school to which the nursery Tom currently attends is attached. It is the infants school that has received funding to carry out improvements to the infants' classroom - in preparation for the arrival of a deaf boy with cochlear implants (yes, that would be Tom). It is the Local Authority that employs Tom's Teacher of the Deaf and had her train the infants school staff in all matters cochlear implant ahead of... well guess...

One has to admire the foresight, planning and communication at work there.

We came home to find a village in uproar. Okay, not quite; Tom was one of 17 children turned down, including Joe-the-boy-next-door, the daughter of 'that couple from ante-natal' and the daughter of the greengrocer. The school was full - its 60 places (class sizes are restricted to 30 by law for the first couple of years of school) taken up by children living closer than us. We tapped in to the 'word on the street' and the ruthless cut-and-thrust of school places was made plain to us. Stories of grandparents' and shop addresses being used on applications surfaced. Ruthless tactics for appeals hearings were shared and honed. Things were starting to look ugly.

Just as the torches were being lit and the posse rounded up however, our righteous indignation was punctured by the news that the school had found room (an extra classroom that it had misplaced or something) and there would be no need for the banners and marches.

So that's all fine then... but one might imagine the number of times phrases such as 'What is WITH these people?' passed our lips. It makes you think that this county just isn't THERE for us at the moment...

On a lighter note

Apropos nothing, Tom suddenly remembered our visit to Sundown last spring. In particular, he remembered a ride on a particularly tame river ride with a few strategically placed water jets.

'Yes! It wet daddy's teeny-tiny hair!' accompanied by thumb and forefinger held very close together.

Over the coming years I suspect that my son will say much less kind things about my rapidly disappearing hair than this.

A Grand Day Out

And bringing you right up to date, today Tom took part in a study being carried out by Rosie Lovett and Professor Quentin Summerfield at the University of York. Given this link, I'm guessing the project is sponsored by Deafness Research UK. The study is one of a number trying to fill the gap in terms of published research regarding the benefits of bilateral implantation.

Rosie's study involved Tom playing numerous listening games in the University's 'ring of sound', testing his ability to detect the direction from which a sound is coming and hearing in noise.

We'll get his official 'results' in the next few weeks but it certainly looked to us like he was performing pretty well.

We'd prepared Tom for his trip to see Rosie and the Professor, telling him about the exciting games they had lined up. He was a little overwhelmed when we got there, turning mute and hiding behind the furniture, and more than a little impressed with 'the Mufessor'.

As he eased himself into the day, Tom's cheekiness returned although he stuck resolutely to this title for Prof. Summerfield even after being invited to call him Quentin. On the first of many trips to the toilet during the day, he declared proudly 'this is where the Mufessor wees!'