It has been a long time since my last post. Life has been a whirlwind lately. It is hard to believe that it is almost May! May is a big month for our family as Ian and my 2nd son will be born. We plan to name him Noah Russell Johnson. There is a link to his blog with some ultrasound pics on the "Links" section of Isaac's Blog. We are very excited and I am ready to be a mom for the second time. Plus it will be nice to be able to sleep on my stomach again. Even better than that, Isaac will have a playmate! We've been trying to expose him to as many young babies as possible and teaching him to be gentle with babies and he seems to be doing well. We have a doll baby we used to get our dogs ready for Isaac and now we are using her to get Isaac ready for Noah! The baby is "sleeping" in the baby's crib and Isaac likes to go in the room after he tells me the baby is sleeping. He will then sit down on the chair and want to hold the baby. He will point out the baby's hands, nose, eyes and toes and then we put the baby back to sleep. I think he is going to be a great big brother!
In other news, we went to a different church last Sunday. The church we currently go to has no deaf ministry, but this new one is amazing! They have a large number of deaf members and other deaf attenders. This was Ian and my first time really being around other deaf adults and we were kind of nervous. We didn't know how people would react to Isaac's implant and our sign skills aren't much more advanced than Isaac's. I was pleasantly surprised though. They had an interpreter for the songs and a different interpreter for the message. It was so beautiful to watch the words to the music being signed. Ian and I actually picked out a few words in the interpretation. It was more difficult because they go so fast! After the service I spoke to a deaf woman who had a hearing daughter who was Isaac's age. It was so awesome! So many people were amazed by Isaac's signing ability. It doesn't hurt that he is adorable too. What I liked most about the church was that once Ian and I started signing to Isaac, a bunch of people came over to talk to us. There were even a lot of hearing people (kids too) that came up to us and asked us if we were deaf. This is what we want for Isaac. Even though he has a cochlear implant, we want him to know he is deaf and to be proud of it. He is such an outgoing child and we want him to thrive. We want him to see other people signing and hear people speaking. Deaf culture is so amazing and I think that all the negativity involving the cochlear implant is because many hearing parents don't encourage signing in their deaf children. I am not so concerned with Isaac acquiring language that is equal to his peers than he be a happy and well adjusted child. He is so smart that I know he will catch up eventually. Right now we are just so amazed that he is progressing like he is. We have no regrets about the implant.
This brings me to Isaac's verbal progress. Every day it amazes me how much he is picking up on. The first few words Isaac spoke, we really had to try to make him say them. We would make him look at our mouths and repeat the word over and over again and he would make attempts to say it. Now he seems to be picking up on words we say alot and starts saying them. His vocabulary is growing but we are trying to focus on his pronounciations of the words. Because although we understand what he is saying, some other people may not. Some examples of what we are working on are the endings of words. He will now say "up" and really spit out the "p". It is so cute. Another thing is he will say the word "book". He says "boo k". It is hilarious when he says "book" because he will separate the sounds like they are two words. He will even do this when his implant is off. At bedtime he has learned that he can climb out of his bed and onto the chair. He will turn on the lamp to the highest setting (it is a touch lamp) and sit there reading more books. He has even falllen asleep on the chair. But the funny thing is, when Ian or I go in to ask him what he is doing, he will say, "boo k!" and he can't even hear what he is saying! It is truly amazing.
Another story of note involves Isaac's little friend Eleah. Eleah comes and spends the day with us on Mondays and Wednesdays. I didn't have a sign name for her until now. I just would wake Isaac up in the morning and tell him in sign that he needed to wake up because "girl" was coming to play with him. Well, I noticed late last week that whenever Isaac sees a girl or woman, he will say, "Eeeeeaaah". I think I may have messed up here becuase he thinks that all girls are called Eleah! Now Eleah has a sign name and I really try to emphasize people's names when we see them. I think it is just amazing though because Isaac picked up on the fact that when I would speak to Eleah, I would use her name! Most of the other words Isaac says are ones we really worked with him to say. It is great to know he is picking up vocabulary just by listening and observing!