We just got home from a quick trip (we were gone for 5 hrs but mapped Gage's processors and gave B an aided hearing test) to the audiologist's office. We could have been back a little sooner but we stopped by my dad's to wish him a happy birthday and let him buy us lunch (kinda reverse I know but that's just how it works with him!). I just ran thru McDonald's drive thru because that's what everyone wanted while Gage stayed with PawPaw. As I finished my order, Brook had been very quiet (unusally) as she patiently waited for them to repeat the order back. As I listened to the three happy meals and dad's combo repeated back, I opened my mouth to say "correct" but before I could get the word out Brook shouted, "WE WANT NAPKINS TOO!!!"Sorry McDonald's lady! Anyway, Happy Birthday to PawPaw Kenneth!!
And the picture above is from the audiologist's office, when we realized Gage had worn two different shoes. But nothing really surprises our audiologist anymore, she's just glad he had on shoes I'm sure and that I brought both kids since they both had appointments. Two out of two kids behaved the whole time. Gage sort of lost it (ADHD kicked in)when she got to the volume part. He wasn't focused, couldn't give her clear answers and mostly said "It's okay, it's okay!" but when she turned them on....he clearly got upset. He cried, he quickly flicked his coils off, and buried his head in his hands and sobbed for a minute. He was embarrassed he got upset, but she turned it waaaay down, until it was not painful, and he was happy!
Very easy trip for the hour and a half drive there. Gage asked one question which sparked the single conversation that lasted an hour and a half. I use to dream of three sentence conversations with my kids and now I'm lucky (but glad for the most part) if we get any story completed in under three minutes let alone three sentences. There will come a day as they continue to age that I dream of those three sentences again but may have to settle for one word answers I know.
The one question was, "Hey Mama, how did our house catch on fire?" I realized that though she may have heard the story before, she likely didn't know fire safety like Gage does since he remembers it. She was only six months old and he was three. I had this on my mind the night before actually when their daddy had to work the graveyard shift and Brook slept with me. As she lied on the pillow, her eyes were shut but her freckles glared loudly at me. I traced my finger across her lids, across her little nose, loving that she could find peace in all the noise outside our house. I knew the coyotes were back, my dogs angrily growled but I heard fear in their barks, knowing they were out-numbered by the wild animals. They found safety on my front porch, outside my bedroom window. I thought to myself something Gage had told me earlier in the day as he had watched his little sister swim..."I wish I could hear with my ears, like in the pool and in the shower." I told him that in certain situations, it was a blessing he can't hear at night. I told him how many nights I get little sleep due to all the noises and wild animals that keep me from peaceful slumber. I watched him settle for the answer and it now bothered me as I watched Brook sleep. I told myself as I was both envious of her doze, and fearful at the same time, that as long as her dad and I were around to take care of them, I wouldn't have to worry so much about them not hearing at all times. (I know there are products for the deaf that can warn them of danger and such, but I was a tired mom, just loving her babies in the present and right now we don't have such products, they're on my to-do list.) Just the day before our dishwasher plug got too hot and had to be replaced after it completely melted. Any little thing can spark a memory from that day five years ago when our house caught fire. So as I gave Gage a positive response, I can't imagine not hearing at all. I tried to tell my heart and brain to stop tormenting me, stop this nonsense and go to sleep. At this point, the coyotes are no longer keeping me awake, my own thoughts were. I found it a little ironic that Gage ask such a question when it had been on mind for most of the night.
I began by asking what would he do if he smelled smoke and his door and/or door knob was hot...he answered very animated and detailed of how he would grab all of his toys and put them in the wheelbarrow (that just happen to be there?) and I let him tell his story...as I had no choice, I couldn't get a word in edge-wise. I first got all my information in as far our family meeting area (after they made it out) and how to get out, crawling down low, stop drop and roll...you name it, I wanted to be sure, they got it....and they did. As for the story of how our house caught fire, every time I tell it, I realize how miraculous it really was.
I'm gonna give the condensed version quickly. The kids and I were getting ready for church one Sunday (husband was at work as a restaurant manager). It was a terrible storm and I actually heard lightening strike inside the house. I checked everything and it all seemed fine. An hour later, the storms passed and we went to our Sunday services. We were gone for hours, and stopped by to grab some food from the restaurant my husband worked at and went home for the much anticipated nap time. Brook never made it, being only six months old she fell asleep in her car seat so I brought her in, seat and all, letting her nap while we ate our lunch. We filled our bellies and Gage needed his nap so I got him ready, got him in the bed, and as I shut his bedroom door, I smelled smoke....like really bad, but I saw nothing. We live in a very old house so I thought of electrical wiring, running to every plug (there's not many) and feeling for warmth and sniffing for smoke, I came up with nothing. As I approached my origin, Gage's bedroom door, I saw smoke rising at an alarming rate from the partial basement (with a dirt floor) coming up thru the floor A/C vent. I opened Gage's door, grabbed him and Brook, thru them into the car and with a look of horror, I said "Don't move!" Gage read my lips with his three year old eyes and he didn't move. He held onto Brook's car seat that was not buckled in, as I ran back inside the door (just right inside the door) to grab our hearing aid center (this was pre-ci times) and the telephone to call my in-laws who lived behind us. I phoned them and backed the car out at the same time, I pulled it around towards the barn, knowing our house has gas lines hooked up to it. First they called 911. My sister in law came down and ran inside grabbing Gage's yellow hair(his beloved blanket)...after I begged her not to. My father in law ran around and cut the gas off at the tank (yes, we're in the country and have tanks). Christie came out choking on smoke as it was now unbearable inside, you could see smoke from all directions pouring from windows, the roof. I actually stood out there and laughed, noting...it can all burn, I don't care, I have my kids. Luckily these country firefighters are not only quick but good. They put it out by cutting a huge hole in my kitchen floor removing the problem before it spread farther. So what happened next? We moved out for a few weeks, repaired damage and moved back in. So what caused the fire? The lightening had struck the gas line BEFORE church. It smoldered getting hotter and hotter, and three hours later, ignited when I shut his bedroom door. There was just enough draft underneath to start the fire. You can imagine what could have happened when gas/electricity/fire all come together. This was during the time Gage could hear nothing below 70 dbs with his hearing aids. I only thought to grab them 'cause they were right by the phone which was what I went in after. He put his little hearing aids in, just in time to hear those firetrucks pull up, one after the other after the other. And so began his obsession with firetrucks. When it was safe for us to go inside that afternoon, I walked in the back door and on our shelf was a toy firetruck. I gave it to Gage and he smiled the biggest smile I've ever seen. After that he would lie in the floor all day long "listening" with his hearing aid right against the toy firetrucks (he was mostly feeling the vibrations). And now that it's likely taken you an hour and a half to read this post, I must close with the word of caution to all you parents out there. Even three year olds can learn some of the fire safety! Make your plan, know it, review it when you can, practice it so they'll know it! Hearing or not hearing. I'm gonna look into the fire alarms with strobe lights for my kids. A good fire alarm does nothing if you don't have a plan.
I finally drifted to sleep at some point last night because the alarm woke me in the four o'clock hour this morning. I eased up out of bed, careful not to shake the mattress so my sleeping princess would not wake. I turned my music up loud, I did my morning routine. An hour later, I returned to wake her. Her side of the bed was soaked. She wets the bed like once a year! We left just as my husband was on his way home...from work....to go to bed. He found a sheetless bed with a note that said "Sleep on my side"......**smile**