Geo is a 4-year-old boy being raised bilingually in monocultural home.

Archive for the ‘ear surgery’ Category

Stinky Comment Makes Mother’s Day

Many people were excited to hear about Geo’s recent hearing test and his 70% hearing capabilities. However, we were not happy with this news. Geo went in July 18th for his hearing test. We expected to learn that he was hearing at almost 100%. The news that he is only hearing at 70% and may now need additional surgery was a great disappointment to us.

We must remain positive, though. Geo used to hear at 50% in his bad ear…and now he’s hearing at 70% after two surgeries. The doctor will see Geo again in six months and if he is still at 70%, then we will schedule another surgery. Luckily, the follow-up surgery is less intrusive. There is a small metal implant in Geo’s ear and the surgery would simply shift the implant slightly to try to improve Geo’s hearing. The doctor’s goal is to bring him up to 85%.

Additionally, since his improved hearing, we have noticed that Geo is speaking a lot more! It’s not always well articulated, but he is definitely feeling more confident and is speaking much more. He still reports that he hears so much better and that it’s “really cool” to hear better. Also, Geo is more open to having me sing to him his lullabies! (Wonderful news to a mommy who loves to sing to her children!)

Finally, another positive point is that Geo has started speaking more French. He is spontaneously coming up with things to say en français! This is exciting, especially since Geo has often asked that we speak English and has not really latched onto French like his sister has. One reason he could be enjoying French more now (in addition to his improved hearing) is the fact that we’ve hosted several “Sunny Earth Camps” where many children from the community have come into our home to participate in a fun and active French lesson. I am using AIM Language Learning’s La Poule Maboule kit for the majority of the camp. In the video above, you’ll see him saying the words for “boy” (garçon) and “girl” (fille), while also doing his own version of the AIM gestures for the two words. Before starting the video camera, Geo had started saying and gesturing the words “fille” and “garçon” over and over again in his silly Geo-style. It took a little questioning to get him to reenact it…and that’s what you see in the video.

We recently went on a vacation to DC. While waiting to cross a street, there were several busses and cars. Out of the blue, after much whole-family English conversation, Geo blurted out “Ça pue!” (It reeks/stinks!)…and yes, it did indeed stink! I think this may be Geo’s first spontaneous complete sentence in French…short, not sweet due to its stinkyness, but ever so sweet to our ears! Go, Geo, go!!!!!

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More Exciting Geo News!

Tomorrow we finally go in to have Geo’s hearing tested. We are so excited to hear the good news! We totally believe Geo is hearing better! He has reported on several different occassions how cool it is to hear so well! He has also been more open to me singing to him, which is such a special treat! He used to always say “no” to a bedtime lullaby, but now he usually says “yes”!! This may be thanks to his successful surgeries…his two ears are now hearing the same and the sounds coming in are more “in harmony” if you will.

Tonight he asked for this one:

Another exciting thing happened tonight at story time. Geo’s older sister Soleil has taken an interest in reading French at bedtime. Tonight she did so again with a counting book. There were visuals of animals and quantities so really there wasn’t much “reading” involved…but nevertheless, we’ll take language output in L2 in any way, shape or form! So after Soleil’s turn, it was Geo’s. First he did 1-5 in English. One rooster, two goats, three cats, four dogs, five goats. Then came six…without prompting, he said “six canards, sept vaches, huit…(I helped him with the French word for geese: “oies”), neuf cochons, dix moutons (I helped him with the first syllable).

Geo is not usually too into speaking French…in fact he’s usually the one to ask me to speak English. Tonight, French story time took an exciting turn of events. We’ve got comprehensible output! I know that the input Geo has received from me since birth has been far from perfect…but it is working!

 

GoodGeoNews²

1. Geo went for his post-op appointment today and his ear is looking great! He still needs to heal over the course of the next two weeks or so but so far, so good! In July, he will have a hearing test to see how much his hearing has improved. He still reports that he is hearing much better and today he confessed that it is “really cool” to hear more!!! The doctor was really pleased to hear this. He said that most children do not express their ability to hear better and that they are “usually in the dark” after most children’s surgeries.

We are overjoyed by today’s good news and we are very excited for next month’s hearing test. Please keep those positive thoughts coming for Geo’s healing process. We greatly appreciate all your well-wishes!

geo

Back to his energetic, playful self 3 weeks after surgery!

2. Just this week, Geo (or should I say “Géo”?!) started singing a well-loved French song by Henri Dès. His older sister has been singing it around the house since she learned it with her class at school. It’s an adorable song called “Papa mon baiser.” To hear this sweet song and/or to purchase it, follow these directions: Click here. Then click on “La boutique” to the left. Choose “L’âne blanc” (the white donkey). Find the title of the song and click it: “Papa mon baiser.” Lastly, at the top click “écouter la chanson.”

While we were waiting in the doctor’s office today, Géo broke out in this song, once again, without prompting. I took advantage and grabbed my phone, opened my “Voice Memos” app and asked him to sing it again. To my utter surprise, he complied! Géo is not one to normally follow directions so willingly! In fact, Géo usually wants absolutely nothing to do with singing or speaking French…so this is a momentous event!!!!

Géo sang an abbreviated version and changes the second verse to “Maman,” much to mommy’s delight! The “tu me la fait tous les soirs” is quite a mouthful that he slides over. He can say his “s” and “z” sounds, but he does not do so in the word “baiser” or “soir” but really, who cares?!! It was music to my ears…speech-delayed errors and all!

Listen to Géo sing here.

Thursday = Good News

Thursday Geo has his follow-up doctor’s appointment. I just know that we will have great news from the doctor. I simply cannot afford a negative thought to enter my brain…even after not one but TWO falls out of his bed! Geo is reporting hearing well and he seems completely healed! He doesn’t complain about putting his shirts on and off over his ear/head and he is sleeping on both sides. He is certainly back to his normal active self!

Geo is talking more than ever! It will take some time for his speech to develop, but he is chattering away like never before. We take this as a sure sign that he is feeling more confident in his full hearing capabilities and we are certain that his articulation skills will develop wonderfully over the next several months. All positive thoughts for Geo’s continued success are very welcome! Thank you so much!!!

Here you can see how Geo is looking and feeling. This is how Geo responds to being asked to stand still and say “cheese” for a photo. He didn’t know I was recording…this is how he usually poses…he cannot stand still for too long! The word he keeps repeating it “cheese.” 🙂

OMG!!!!

So first, the good news: Geo is reporting that he can hear “really, really better!!” That is amazing! I have already posted this in my previous entry here. In addition to telling us this good news, he also told his speech therapist. She stated that when asked, he says he hears “really a lot better!” We are so pleased with this!

Now for the OMG! Tonight when we put Geo down for bed in his own room, our neighbors were having a loud party with music and a lot of kids making noise…the sounds of fun! So we decided to put him in our bed where it’d be nice and quiet. It’s a king bed. Plenty of room for our little four-year-old, right? Well, about 10 minutes after putting him down, we hear this huge thud. We run in to find Geo on the floor crying. He fell on the floor on his head and belly, according to him. The crying was not long-lived…but that thud was loud!

I’m not even going to write my fear. Instead I am just going to believe that his middle ear is still intact. If you’re reading this, please do the same and think positive thoughts for our little Geo!

Our very wise doctor who operated on Geo stated “You could make yourself sick over this sort of thing. Do what you can, but don’t worry about it too much.” That’s exactly what I plan to do. No worries…he is fine. His ear is fine. Healing perfectly!

More information about Geo’s recent ear surgery can be read here. Thank you for reading!!! 🙂

5 Days Post Surgery

Geo went back to daycare today. When I arrived to pick him up, he was in the kiddy pool splashing all around. We arrived home and he went out to run under the sprinkler with his sister. He seems to really be more like himself today! We have come a really long way since Wednesday, May 15th! He reported this morning that he is hearing “really, really better”!!!!!! We are so pleased to hear that! Now, if he can heal up nicely and keep that inner ear intact, we’ll be good!

I have kept my family and friends up to date on Facebook. Here are the informal updates starting with the most recent and working backwards:

Mary 19th: He is doing okay. Seems to be taking longer to heal this second time around. For the first time today, he brushed his own teeth…up until today, we’ve had to do it, very carefully, for him….opening his mouth was too painful. Tonight, he ate his gluten-free pretzels with hummus…first hard chewing he’s done since surgery…so we are on the mend, for sure! Tomorrow is his first day back to daycare.

Please keep all those healing thoughts-a-coming! If he can get through the next couple months with his inner ear still intact from this surgery, then we are golden!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you!!!

May 17th: Geo slept through the night! He looks great today! First thing out of his mouth today was about playing games on the iPad…not about aches or pains…we’ll take it!

Keep those healing thoughts-a-comin’! We have to get through the next month or two with that middle ear still attached!

May 15th (Night of surgery): Geo just went to bed for the night…he will feel so much better in the morning, for sure. I’m hoping he falls asleep and doesn’t wake up til morning…we couldn’t give him meds again yet, and he fought the nurses on taking them the first time ’round so we will see what happens. He has never liked taking medicine…we had to bribe him in the hospital b/c he spit it all out the first time. He got 2 coloring books, 5 cars and a new robot app out of the deal.

May 15th (After my talk with the surgeon): Success!!!!!!! Geo’s surgery went great! 70% chance his middle ear will stay connected and that all will heal well! So for the next 2 months, he should be a little less ‘crazy’ in order to up the odds. Hearing should improve over the next weeks!

I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone out there who has been thinking of Geo! We really, really appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts. We are so grateful!!!!

Surgery Success!!!

Geo’s surgery was a success!!!!!!! Thank you everyone for all your well wishes!

To read more about why Geo had to have surgery again, please check out this blog post.

Here is Geo resting after surgery with his beloved teddy.

sweet geo

Geo’s middle ear has been reconnected and hearing should improve over the next week or two! The ointment that is filling the wound in his ear will slowly dissipate and his hearing will be better than ever! There was no further growth of the cholesteatoma, which is good. This means that his chances of future regrowth and subsequent surgeries is down to under 3%.  This is the best possible news!!

He’s not completely out of the woods yet, though. He has a 70% chance his middle ear will stay connected. That leaves him with a 30% chance of it not staying intact. This would mean he’d be back to 50% hearing loss in that ear. So for the next month or so, he should be a little less ‘crazy’ in order to up the odds. The doctor said we could make ourselves go nuts over this…especially since he tends to be so active. He said to do the best we can, but not to worry too much about it. We will certainly do our best!

Thank you again for all the positive energy and time you have afforded our sweet dear son! It made the best possible outcome! 🙂

 

 

Geo’s Plea

Geo has his second surgery this Wednesday, May 15th. We would love your positive thoughts for Geo’s full hearing capability to be restored on Wednesday! Read more about Geo and his ear in this blog post. The information about his ear starts below the first YouTube video.

We thank you for your thoughtful time and help envisioning success for our sweet little Géo!! 🙂

Successful Surgery, Please!

Geo just turned four-year-old about a month ago. Since last summer, he has started seeing a new speech therapist. She also uses touch cues to help Geo speak. See my blog post and video where I use touch cues with Geo here. We continue to use the touch cues to guide him, but we have started to take away the support of saying the word for him. So if he is trying to say “sister,” which is tough because of the double consonant sound “st,” I will just gesture the touch cue without saying the word “sister.” It is amazing how this helps him remember how to put his sounds together. I cannot help but compare the wonders of using these touch cues to the wonders of using gestures with the Accelerative Integrative Method (AIM) of language learning created by Wendy Maxwell. I am using these touch cues with Geo just like AIM uses a technique called “gestural mirroring.” It is simply magical to see how both my son and my students react positively to the support of these different gestural cues to guide their language production!

Luckily, Geo’s speech therapist does not believe he has verbal apraxia. There was a time where we thought he was apraxic, but now it seems that was an error. He has made slow but steady progress in his speech and we are amazed by his ability to say words that he couldn’t say just a few months ago. He can now say his “s” sound and his hard “c” sound. So favorite words like “dinosaur” and “cat” are finally being properly articulated! Woohoo!!!!

As I have already mentioned in this blog, I have not stopped speaking French to Geo due to his delay. All the experts on Geo’s team have agreed that language input in French will not hurt him. His ear doctor stated: “His brain can handle it.” This has pretty much been the thought process of all his physicians. We are not making him work on pronouncing French, yet, though, knowing that next fall we want him to be understood by his peers in Kindergarten, who are mainly monolingual English speakers. Geo does, however, produce some speech in French. Here he is just saying “Bonjour” and being his bouncy, cheerful self:

Geo will be undergoing his second (and hopefully final) ear surgery in May. Last fall we found out that he had a cholesteatoma which is a growth in his middle ear. This congenital growth has been with him since the womb and has grown over the years. Luckily we found it! Without treatment it could have caused permanent nerve damage as it just grows and grows. He had his first surgery in December 2012 to remove the majority of the growth. Unfortunately, his little middle ear bones have paid the price of the growth’s mass and are deteriorated due to the intrusion. His second surgery in May will take off any additional growth that may be left and to attempt to reconnect his middle ear. This will be a delicate task due to the deterioration of those tiny bones. We are asking for all positive energy and prayers for a successful surgery. THANK YOU!!! He is scheduled for surgery on May 15th. When successful, Geo will have almost immediate restoration of hearing in his ear! He has been living with about 50% hearing loss on his left side…we believe this is most likely the cause for his speech delay.

His speech therapist has assessed Geo’s language skills. We are very pleased to learn that his receptive language skills are above average. He is able to understand more language than an average kid his age. We cannot hep but wonder if our bilingual efforts with him are already paying off at his early age! His cognitive skills are on par for a successful academic career…but I worry about how “all-over-the-place” busy he is. He will need active learning…and on that note, I cannot wait to start using AIM with him and his sister! As soon as we can get La Poule Maboule kit, we’ll be on our way!

I just found this video from a couple months ago. He says “ça fait mal” (it hurts) after kneeling on a toy but doesn’t pronounce the soft “ç” sound properly. I do not correct his French pronunciation…thinking of that affective filter. Just two months ago, he wasn’t able to say his initial “s”/”ç” sound. He can now!!!!!!!!! Go, Geo, GO!!! 🙂