Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When the Sun Goes Down on Santa Monica Boulevard

Day Three at John Tracy was wonderful. I missed Dennis, who was with our older son Matthew during the day. Today's lecture was on language opportunities, acoustic highlighting (repeating the child's words, but with the correct pronunciation), and ear anatomy. The "tip of the day" was to get at the child's level, so that you are able to easily converse with little ones.

We had a brunch reception at 10:15am, and I ate some fruit and a few donuts (remember the donuts- they will come into play later). We asked so many questions during the audiology lecture that we ran over the amount of time. Interestingly enough, it was the conductive system that drew a lot of questions. There are a few families here with hearing aids, and obviously a conductive component wreaks havoc on the sensorineural loss. Someone asked if fluid had any effect on children with cochlear implants, and the answer is it does. While the electrode array is NOT in the middle ear, the wire does pass through the area to reach the cochlea. Some people have reported a change in hearing sensation with the presence of fluid, so it is important to monitor middle ear fluid in all children with hearing loss, regardless of device type.

Nolan took another nap today, of his own volition. He was placed into the book area and he looked at books for a while, then took his "ears" out and went to sleep. I went to check on him, and he was snoozing away in his little corner, as content as can be. It is nice to see him jiving so well with the classroom routine, even if he is awake at 9:30pm and keeps coming out to tell me is isn't sleepy, he is scared, and there is a dinosaur in his bed. I checked for rogue stegosauruses and found none, so I'm pretty sure he just doesn't want to go down tonight!

I am trying to find a concise way to describe how John Tracy is different than other preschool experiences I've encountered. The student:teacher ratio is amazing, of course. The teachers made two different books for the children (including their actual pictures) that describe the day's routine and a "friends" book in the format of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Who Do You See?" The teachers truly care about each family and child. The children's pictures are everywhere, making every learning experience a personal one. But really, I suppose it comes down to this:

John Tracy Clinic isn't about the kids. It's about the parents.

Along the lines of "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime," John Tracy strives to teach the parents how to teach their children.

I'm so used to being in the doctor's office or other professional's office, apologizing for the fact that I'm "just the parent." I have a concern about this or that, but really, I'm "just the parent."

At John Tracy Clinic, you are The Parent. You are important- the most important person in the child's life. You have the power to truly make a large difference in your child's world. The entire aim of the John Tracy Clinic is to give parents the tools they need to make great things happen.

After school, we hopped into Lucas's parent's car and went to Santa Monica with them. Truthfully, this involved squeezing into the back seat of a very small rental car, between two carseats. This is where the donuts come into play- if I had eaten just one less, the fit would have been a bit easier. The entire drive down the 10 freeway was spent cursing that extra donut and the adjustment knob on the side of Nolan's carseat!

We made it to the beach and the boys had a blast. We're always thankful for Nolan's residual hearing in these circumstances, because within a certain distance he can hear what we're saying. Of course, Nolan is quite fearless of the waves and decided that he would like to try and swim to Catalina, so there was a lot of chasing after him when he got out of range. The amount of sand that can be contained in one boy's clothing, diaper, and shoes is impressive. Really, we could recreate the Sahara on the front lawn if we wanted to. I think we'll be borrowing the vacuum tomorrow night!

Lucas and Nolan on the beach.

Nolan has no fear of the water.

After the beach, we headed to Gilbert's El Indio Mexican Food restaurant. There was a bit of a wait and both kids were kind of fried (Nolan started screaming for his JUICE! while waiting). Then there was the little incident of spilled Crystal Light from our backpack, creating a puddle the size of Lake Erie on the restaurant floor. The good news: everything now smells like pomegranate-cherry. The bad news: everything is now wet and tinged pink. The food was absolutely DELICIOUS, so it was worth the wait. After another squeezing-into-the-rental-car contortionist act, I was starting to wish I had started a diet three months ago. But the enchiladas were still worth it.
Everyone agrees, Gilbert's is delicious!

We're back now, and Nolan is having a very hard time going to sleep. It's been a long day, so I'm ready to crash, too. Dennis will be coming for tomorrow's session, and I look forward to having a second set of hands around. I honestly can't believe our first week is more than half over- time flies by quickly when you are so busy and the days are chock full of activities. I haven't missed a TV or phone since coming here- we're simply too busy (and tired) to really worry about any of those distractions. I am quite thankful for the wireless connection, though! I'm not sure what I'd do if I didn't have the opportunity to write and stay connected to everyone!


Herding Grasshoppers said...


Makes my heart sing to hear you tell the way they view parents at JTC. You are The Parent. No one knows your kid better than you!

What an amazing experience you are all having!


mamatoadeafmiracle said...

ah, your blog was similar to one of mine! So glad you're doing great down there! I sent over the laundry card!! Ask Kathleen for it! but I did address attn Leah.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

This is the way "the parent" should be treated everywhere. Our little one has been having bedtime issues of her own without the excitement of an away from home adventure. Good luck with those dinosaurs!

rouchi said...

what an experience, wanting me to be there...hope some day......have fun.

xraevision said...

You seem to be getting out much more than we did! X was just too wiped out after six hours of school, so we only adventured away from our neighborhood on weekends. If you change your mind about renting a car, there's a place just up the road. You probably passed it on your way to the Safe Playground.

leah said...

We did get the laundry card! I have to write another blog post about that- we'll probably use it tonight since I didn't have time to launder our Crystal Light drenched bag! Thank you so much- I have to write a thank you card, but first I have to make a trip to go buy some thank you cards, lol! Dennis is coming down today, so perhaps we'll get some of that done.

Nolan seems raring to go after preschool, but he has been taking naps (which he normally doesn't do). Unfortunately, he's up all night. He fell asleep on the floor again at 5:00am and I don't dare move him! Oh, well- at least he's taking a good nap during the day and able to go along with the classroom schedule!

MB said...

I remember being crazy tired after 10 days alone with Marielle. I'll bet your glad Dennis is coming!

At the school we are at this summer the teachers barely say two words to the parents. They take the kids from carpool line and return them 3 1/2 hours later. I have no idea what they're working on in school, how she did each day, NOTHING. It's infuriating.

Lucas'Mommy said...

We did have a great time in Santa Monica, didn't we? And Gilbert's is definitely recommendable. I really appreciate your detailed descriptions of our lectures, because I don't always remember those kinds of things!

descent1 said...

Leah, I find myself coming back to your page over and over again. You are an amazing writer and remind me of Erma Bombeck.(google her if you don't know who she is). Very funny and entertaining . p.s i learn from this as well. keep it up, or write a book. Sherry