Happy New Year! We have had a happy and relaxing ten days or so, celebrating Christmas and New Year with family and friends. Christmas Day and Boxing Day were spent at Elizabeth's parents, and David's parents came to stay with us in Maidenhead a bit later in the week. The children thoroughly enjoyed both visits and spending time with their grandparents, uncles and aunt. (Sadly we were not able to see Andrew and Naomi due to illness).
They had lots of lovely presents. For Isaac the highlight was most definitely his wooden train set which he has played with almost non-stop since we gave it to him on Christmas Day! Lydia and Caleb have had a lot of fun with their new collection of dressing up clothes and use them in many creative and imaginative games!
Christmas has also been a good time for Isaac in his language development and he is communicating really well. Tomorrow could be very strange (and quiet) for him, as Lydia and Caleb go back to school!
This term has simply flown by!
Lydia has had a good term and is leaving the hearing resource base at school as she no longer needs their support. This is a real achievement - and a first at the school! We are very proud of how hard she has worked. She has also lost three more teeth and now has a large gap at the front of her mouth! She has also made great progress in her very small swimming class and has really enjoyed learning new skills.
Caleb made a good start in Reception (apart from a small decorating the toilets incident in the first week...) and has made astonishing progress with his reading and writing. He is reading books from Year 1 and his spelling is also excellent. He has also started swimming lessons and is enjoying them.
Isaac has really come out of himself socially this term and has become more confident at toddler group and in the play gym. He loves helping me with the shopping and learning new words. Unfortunately his singing class was cancelled due to low numbers so we have been trying out alternative entertainment!
Yesterday we had a trip to the hospital for Lydia's six month and Isaac's three month implant tuning session. Both of their results were excellent and we were really pleased.
Lydia and Caleb took part in lovely nativities at school (Lydia as narrator number 18!, Caleb as a traveller) and they both sang enthusiastically. They are now very much looking forward to Christmas!
Lydia's first tooth fell out this week! It has been wobbly for the last month but didn't fall out until Sunday, when Caleb spotted it wasn't in her mouth any more. She hadn't noticed it go, and we assume she swallowed it while eating either her breakfast, an apple mid morning, or her lunch! The one next to the gap is also very wobbly so it won't be long until she has a large gap at the bottom in the middle.
She has also managed finally to get rid of her nappies at night which is a real achievement for her. At the time of writing, we have had six dry nights in a row...
Also, today was Caleb's first day at school and he looked very smart and grown up in his school uniform. He was very excited about going and went in with barely a backwards glance at Mummy - and certainly no tears!
Isaac will definitely miss his brother and sister, having got used to them being at home all the time for him to play with over the summer, but he is hopefully going to have lots of fun starting a new music class, a new toddler group, and a deaf pre-school group, as well as continuing at his gym and helping Mummy with the Sainsbury's shopping!
We have just returned from a lovely holiday on the beautiful island of Menorca. We spent a fortnight relaxing on the amazing beaches, swimming in our own pool, hunting for tortoises in our garden and exploring old towns and villages. Lydia learned to swim without her armbands and Caleb gained a lot of confidence in the pool, swimming confidently on his own with just armbands by the end of the week. Unfortunately the first of many chickenpox spots appeared on Isaac's head the evening we arrived at our villa, and he then proceeded to be quite poorly for the first week we were there. The second week he was much better and we were able to go further afield, to eat out and to go on a boat trip in the capital's amazing harbour.
We enjoyed sampling a good deal of Menorcan cheese, meat, biscuits, and some of their seafood.
The children were all very excited by their trip on the aeroplane, particularly to see that they were above the clouds! They also all learned to greet people in Spanish, and say goodbye and thank you, which they did with great enthusiasm!! (even Isaac!)
It was a fantastic, restful fortnight for all of us and it was lovely to spend all the time together as a family.
Last week was busy but lovely! Isaac turned two on Tuesday and had a trip to Bekonscot model village with Mummy. It was a beautiful sunny day and he absolutely loved the miniature trains. He could have stood on one of the little bridges saying 'choo choo' all day! He celebrated turning two by learning to say 'no', which he is now practising at every available opportunity. 'Eat your dinner please Isaac.' 'No'. 'Have you done a poo?' 'No'.
Three days later Lydia turned six and we had very civilised outing to the local theatre to see 'The Night Pirates'. We took her best friend with us and they thoroughly enjoyed it, and lunch in the theatre restaurant afterwards. She was particularly thrilled at tea time to see the Rainbow Fairies cake Mummy had made.
What with two birthdays, Lydia's sports day and Caleb's day visit to school, the week was somewhat busy but we had lots of fun!
The morning of the Royal wedding we set out for one of our biggest adventures yet! We spent three nights staying in a Mongolian yurt in a field in the middle of nowhere in Mid Wales. It was a real adventure and the children thought it was thoroughly exciting. We were very cosy as we had a wood burning stove inside the yurt which needed feeding in the middle of the night so we would be warm in the morning. All our cooking was done outside on the BBQ and we ate all our meals in the open air as well. We were very pleased with ourselves as for our dinner the first night we managed grilled fresh asparagus (picked from the garden before we left), sweet potato and marinaded chicken!
One of the most amusing things for the children was the toilet in a shed at the bottom of the field. There were two toilet seats next to each other - one for wee and one for poo, nicknamed by Lydia the wee-tapotamus and the poo-tapotamus! There was no flush, simply a bucket of sawdust to cover up what you'd done!
The field where the yurt was situated (along with two other yurts) was in the most beautiful surroundings and we couldn't see anything except hills, fields and lots of sheep. Isaac was quite an expert at 'baa-ing' by the end!
Definitely a holiday to remember!
Lydia went back to school today after a really lovely fortnight. We seem to have fitted an awful lot in and have really enjoyed the beautiful weather, usually missing in the school holidays! David took a couple of days off and we went on 'adventures' to Marwell Zoo, and also to the London Wetland Centre. We have been for walks and picnics with friends, to Cliveden, done Easter baking and other Easter crafts, had a BBQ, been to the library, the shops, church holiday club for Lydia, Easter eggs hunts, and played for hours in the garden! We spent Easter day with Elizabeth's parents, brother, sister and brother-in-law, playing an impromptu game of rounders/cricket in Knole Park in the afternoon with bits of bark, which Lydia especially enjoyed!
Back to normal for three days now though - until Friday and our next adventure...
Yesterday Isaac charmed us by attempting to say his own name. He also has a go at saying 'Lydia' and 'Caleb'. All animals are 'woo woo' (woof, woof), all toys are 'ball' and anything that flies is a 'bir'. His vocabulary is increasing all the time.
Caleb is doing really well at nursery at phonics, and is now bringing home reading books for him to practise sounding out his words.
Lydia amazes us by reading books with chapters, but has made us feel rather old by learning about toys in school and having to take in toys from when we were younger - from the old days!! Also she is going to her first school disco next week!
Sorry there have been no photos for ages. We had` a new laptop at Christmas and we haven't got the photo software set up on it yet. Hopefully there will be some soon...
To add to 'up' and 'down', 'Mamamama' and 'Dadada', Elizabeth successfully managed to get Isaac to copy the word 'door'. After only a day he is using it repeatedly in context, going round pointing at the doors, saying 'door door der' (door door there)! He can also copy a 'p' sound, a 't' sound and something similar to a 'sssss'.
Isaac has made a really big step forward in the last week as he now tells us when his coils have fallen off (ie. when he can't hear anything). He comes to us and points to his head until we put it back on again for him. This is a really good development as it shows a conscious awareness of hearing and it shows that he knows what his implants are for.
He is also attempting to make a sound which represents 'up', and another for 'down'.
For the 2nd year running, we woke on Christmas morning to find Maidenhead still underneath a blanket of snow and ice (parts of our snowman made it to the new year).
Lydia and Caleb were very excited to open their stockings whilst Isaac was quite confused about his. After a morning service at church led by David & Elizabeth we were joined for Christmas lunch by David's parents with Andrew and Naomi joining us all for Boxing Day. Lydia asked Andrew to bring his Santa outfit and Caleb was oblivious to his true identity when he appeared at the door. Caleb said afterwards that he didn't like Santa but he did like the monster trucks that he brought!
Elizabeth's parents and Stephen joined us for the New Year and both they and the children enjoyed playing with the new Xbox Kinect that was delivered a couple of days earlier. Lydia is a natural whereas Caleb needed more encouragement. We were quite amused that the Xbox thought Caleb was kneeling down much of the time due to his short stature!
Back down to earth with a bump this week as we've all struggled to get up in time for work, school and nursery. Caleb is very excited to be starting lunch club for the first time this term and has been looking forward to it since the end of term almost more than he was looking forward to Christmas!
Last week saw Lydia and Caleb both take part in their nativities. Caleb was a very cute shepherd in his nursery nativity and he sang with great enthusiasm although wasn't too keen on dressing up for it! Elizabeth played the violin in it so got to see it from a privileged position, rather than having to queue with all the other parents and fight for the best spot in the audience! The next day was Lydia's nativity where she too was a shepherd. She played her part beautifully and remembered the words to all the songs! For this too Elizabeth had a great view as she was invited to a VIP performance because of being a governor. She was even given coffee and mince pies during the performance.
Also this week Caleb, Isaac and David have all had their hair cut by Elizabeth with the clippers so they're all looking very smart ready for Christmas!
We bought our tree yesterday and the children loved helping put the decorations on it. We are determined to get Isaac saying 'bauble' by January!
Last week it was Lydia's turn to take in some items to school to show to her class and to share a little bit about herself in their 'All About Me' session. Among other things she took a book called 'My Brother John' which is about a boy who has a cochlear implant. Lydia read the book aloud to the whole class and then answered questions from her peers and her teachers. The teachers were amazingly impressed with the way she spoke and she was given a certificate in the school's Praise Assembly at the end of the week. She has even been asked to visit other classes in the school to talk about her implants. We are very proud of her.
At last Isaac is walking around on his own. He has now been toddling around for the past 10 days and we just need to encourage him to try his newfound skill outdoors as well!
His hearing and listening is progressing well and the latest testing and tuning session at Oxford showed he is hearing sounds reliably across the frequency range. He responds to his name consistently and sometimes makes a sound like "eh-row" for hello. It is funny when he copies Lydia or Caleb having a whinge. Every time Isaac hears music, he stops what he is doing and bobs up and down to have a little dance.
Isaac has also acquired 4 new teeth recently, bringing him up to a grand total of 8.
For the past week Isaac has been practising walking a couple of metres between his Mummy and Daddy. He feels very pleased with himself and on reaching one person immediately turns himself around and launches towards the other!
We're delighted that he has decided to give it a try at last and hope that he'll be walking independently before too much longer.
Isaac has begun to 'talk' and he has a lovely little voice. Having spent a week or two either making lots of noise or opening and closing his mouth silently, he has managed to put the two things together. He looks very pleased with himself as he says "Ma, ma, ma" with varying numbers of syllables. Sometimes it seems to mean Mummy whereas other times it is just the only thing he knows how to say! It is very exciting to see him at the early stages of babbling and we look forward to seeing it develop further.
Isaac has also learnt to clap his hands, do the sign for monkey and can walk with only one hand held when he is in the mood. So, he is making progress in many areas!
It is a busy term as ever. Lydia has moved up to Year 1 (blue class) whilst Caleb has started 5 mornings a week at Wessex Nursery for the first time. Caleb fitted straight into nursery although needs some encouragement to try any activities other than playing with cars or trains.
Extra curricula activities abound with Lydia continuing her swimming lessons and starting an after school multi-sports session, Caleb continuing gym class and starting a drama class, Isaac attending a music class and Chatty Monkeys (a fortnightly group for deaf pre-schoolers) and Elizabeth a keep-fit session, helped along by Isaac!
Last weekend we all enjoyed a whole weekend at Calcot Manor hotel and spa in the Cotswolds as part of a party of 16 relatives celebrating Elizabeth's mum's 60th birthday. We ate delicious meals, went swimming, did some cycling and generally enjoyed the high life!
On the August Bank Holiday weekend we celebrated the wedding of David's brother Andrew to Naomi. David was the best man and Lydia a bridesmaid. Caleb and Isaac looked extremely cute in matching page boy outfits. The children behaved brilliantly and we were very proud of them.
Elizabeth and Isaac had a great trip to the hospital last week for another tuning session and his first hearing tests (with implants!). He consistently turned to sounds, even fairly quiet ones, and what was more amazing (and different to when Lydia had her first implant) was that he was turning the right direction. The hospital staff were really pleased with his progress and surprised that he was doing so well!
Since then he has become quite noisy! He is making a lot of lovely sounds and really enjoys interacting with us. One particularly special moment this week was one afternoon when Lydia and Caleb started laughing at something, Isaac turned to them and started laughing too. He was trying to join in with the joke!
Isaac's continuing to make good use of his cochlear implants, which he is keeping on his head much better than a few weeks ago. He is consistently responding to familiar loud sounds such as blowing raspberries and knocking. He sometimes turns when his name is called and appears to look for the source of sounds. He is definitely enjoying learning to hear as he smiles and laughs when he works out what's making a sound.
He is also becoming noisier when his implants on which is a recognised behaviour when learning to hear.
We are very encouraged by his progress and we are excited each time we see him respond to a new sound. We are going back to Oxford tomorrow for his fourth tuning session.
Having suspected for a few days that Isaac might be starting to respond to a few sounds, today we can now say that he is definitely hearing! Isaac will turn when someone knocks on a door, when we ring bells, clap our hands and possibly when a telephone rings. He has also been able to copy a "mmmm" sound repeatedly when eating! None of these happen every time as he has to be in the right mood and not concentrating too hard on something else.
Isaac has had the volume of his implants increased 12 times now and this will continue over the coming months.
There is lots and lots of work to be done in teaching him to listen and to increase the number of sounds he is able to identify but we are very excited to reach this milestone. He can hear!
We have just returned from a week away in the Cotswolds where we had a lovely time. We stayed in a cottage in a little village not far from Chipping Campden and found lots to do without going very far at all. We visited Hidcote Manor Gardens and a Maize Maze, Snowshill Manor, an arboretum and falconry centre, the Cotswold Farm Park, Broadway Tower as well as some walks, exploring villages and finding all the best playgrounds! We had lots of picnics and even a couple of meals out. The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves, especially playing hide and seek in the interesting garden of the cottage. Isaac managed to throw away one of his implants (which he is generally wearing quite well most of the time now) onto a concrete path and we now know which spare parts to take with us when we go away!
Yesterday Isaac had both his implants switched on at Oxford. He didn't enjoy having people messing about with his ears but they managed to program his processors anyway. He'll initially start at a really low volume in order to get used to wearing the implants. We have 4 programs to work through this week with a steadily increasing volume and will get another set next week.
Isaac isn't pulling his processors off very often but it is really hard to keep them on in the highchair, buggy or car seat as the coils fall off constantly.
It is going to be hard work but we can expect Isaac to start responding to sound within the next month or two.
This weekend all three children have learnt something new and exciting! Caleb, who had a bike for his birthday, finally managed to go up and down outside the house completely independently and turning at the ends. Lydia amazed us by learning to ride her bike without stabilisers within an hour of us removing them from her bike. And Isaac took his first steps with a baby walker. We are very proud of our clever children!
I am five! I have waited for such a long time to be five and it is very exciting! On Friday (my actual birthday) I went to school on my new scooter which Mummy and Daddy gave me. School was very exciting as I had a party in the hearing impaired unit (and I won a prize for one of the games) and a visiting farm came as well. I even had party rings in my packed lunch! I chose Chinese takeaway for my birthday tea as well.
Yesterday I had my party and lots of my friends came. We had a good time on the bouncy castle, making finger puppets, playing with playdough and decorating gingerbread men. I didn't win at pass the parcel or musical statues. We had a yummy lunch and then played parachute games. All my friends brought presents which I opened when they had all gone home.
Love from Lydia x
It's my birthday today and I've had a lovely day. This morning I woke up to find balloons, cards and presents in the dining room. Having taken Lydia to visit her new class (blue class) and Caleb to visit nursery, Mummy took me on a boat, duck, bird and guinea pig watching adventure at Boulter's Lock. After Caleb's final football class we saw even more ducks in Marlow before coming home to birthday dinner. I didn't want to wear a party hat having seen how silly everyone else looked but I did enjoy eating my birthday cake that Mummy made.
I enjoyed crawling on top of the presents and tried to ignore them all as they were opened as I got to play with them when they wanted me to play pass-the-parcel.
I'm feeling like a big boy now and think it is very funny trying to walk whilst holding Mummy and Daddy's hands.
Love from Isaac.
Isaac has recovered really well from his operation having only need painkillers for 3 days. He didn't enjoy a week's worth of antibiotics in both ears and mouth but was oblivious to the removal of the steri-strip after a week.
Isaac gets the external part of his cochlear implants on 20th July after which the volume is gradually increased over the following weeks. He should be easily able to hear us sing Happy Birthday next year.
After over 5 hours of surgery Isaac has bilateral cochlear implants and a gigantic bandage wrapped around his head. He has been a very brave little boy. The surgery appears to have gone very well, the electrodes were working when tested and the X-rays show everything has been put in the right places. He is staying in hospital overnight with his mummy and hopefully they will both get some sleep!
Today Isaac has had grommets put in. We had to be on the ward in Oxford by 7.30am this morning and Isaac wasn't allowed to eat as he was having a general anaesthetic. He didn't make any fuss and went down for his operation at about 9.15am. As it was only a short and simple procedure he was back on the ward by about 10am. He was very distressed but eventually went to sleep in Elizabeth's arms and when he then woke up he ate a bowl of weetabix and appeared fully recovered! We are now home and apart from blood in his ears it is impossible to tell he has had an operation.
Next Wednesday, another general anaesthetic for his CT and MRI scans...
Lydia has settled well into school and seems to be coping really well in mainstream class. Her reading continues to go from strength to strength and we are trying to encourage her that it is OK to make mistakes when trying to write. She is becoming more confident in her swimming lessons having been terrified of putting her face in the water when she first started.
Caleb is having a busy term having started pre-school which he attends on a Monday and Wednesday mornings. He stayed for lunch for the first time today as he was very keen to try out his birthday lunchbox. Now that he is three, he has started the gym class that Lydia used to love and has told us several times that he had to balance along a tightrope (it was lying on the floor)! Caleb's football skills are being developed by the Little Kickers Football Club in whose red and white kit he looks incredibly cute.
Isaac is now very competent in commando crawling and very determined to reach the destination he has in mind even when he is repeatedly taken away from his goal (e.g. fire poker)! He seems to love the freedom that it gives him. He is an adorable little boy who takes most things in his stride as his routine often has to fit around the activities of the rest of the family. He loves to give his mummy the most delightful grins every time she looks at him.
Isaac is due to have his bilateral cochlear implant operation in mid-June when he is 11½ months old. We were very pleased to find out today that his operation will not be postponed even though he still has glue ear for which he will have a grommet operation. He is also due to have a general anaesthetic in order to have his MRI and CT scan at the beginng on June and we are preparing to make the John Radcliffe in Oxford our second home in the coming months.
Yesterday our little boy turned three. It seems hard to believe how grown up he is getting. David took the day off work and we had a lovely day together (although Lydia was at school for some of it). When he woke up and we asked him what day it was he was completely puzzled and said, 'Sunday?' but was very excited when we told him that it was in fact his birthday! He loved opening all his presents and cards at breakfast - it was quite a challenge fitting all four badges on to his t-shirt!! We took him and Isaac to Cheeky Charlies (a soft play area) in the morning with one of my friends and her daughter, and then after lunch he had his football class at which he thoroughly enjoyed showing off his skills (?!) to his Daddy for a change. Before collecting Lydia he tried out his new plasticine set. When Lydia came home from school they had a lovely time trying out all his new things - riding on his new bike with his new helmet on, playing in his sandpit with his new toys, and attempting to shoot goals in his new goal with his new footballs. We had a party tea for him and he went to bed a very tired but very happy boy!
In celebration of Caleb's pending 3rd birthday, we spent today travelling to and from London Zoo on his favourite forms of transport. We managed 3 buses, 2 trains, 2 underground trains and our feet! When Caleb listed his favourite things from the day it was the train, the bus, the giraffe, the underground train and the other bus and the train we were on! We had a lovely day with all the children without any rain (in contrast to Lydia's 3rd birthday).
We have just got back from a lovely week away in Norfolk. We stayed in a converted stables and also on the site, shared with three other cottages, was an indoor swimming pool. This was Isaac's first swimming experience and he loved it so we went every day. Caleb was initially very scared but increased in confidence during the week and Lydia with armbands was completely independent in the water. We also had trips out to the National Trust's Blickling Hall, to Hickling Broad, Horsey Windpump, hired a boat on the Broads, went to the beach (we could walk from our cottage), visited the Sea Life Centre at Great Yarmouth, and went to the zoo on our way home. We had sunny weather nearly all week and no rain although it was often quite windy. One highlight was seeing seals very close up on the beach.
Thankfully having only ventured as far as Norfolk, we were not prevented from coming home by the lack of aeroplanes, as Lydia started school today. She was up early this morning as she couldn't wait to get her uniform on (see new photos) and she went into her new classroom (orange class) very happily.
Isaac is getting much more competent at moving in a specific direction! He is commando crawling - that is, lifting his knees to crawl but not his arms, so he pulls himself along on his tummy. It is not very speedy but this movement will certainly start to make life more of a challenge!
We are delighted with the progress Lydia is making with her new implant. She is really pleased with it and often will remove the old one to hear a new sound with just the new one. She is now on her 12th program which basically means the volume has been increased 12 times.
Lydia does listening games whilst wearing just the new implant. Last weekend she was able to distinguish between us saying "Mummy / Daddy / Lydia / Caleb / Isaac" without looking at us which was very exciting. Her lipreading is normally quite poor but she can understand nearly everything we are saying if looking at us and wearing her new implant.
Caleb is reliably potty trained and dry both day and night since giving up nappies at the start of January having had 2 days and nights with dry nappies. We're very proud of him.
Isaac can now consistently roll over from his front to his back and keeps lifting his bottom and pushing his legs as an early attempt to crawl.
Today was the day we've been waiting for for a long time - the activation of Lydia's 2nd cochlear implant. The wound from the operation has healed nicely and Lydia is now the very proud owner of a new Cochlear Freedom processor to match the one she has on the other side.
It was exciting to watch Lydia as they tested each electrode by feeding sounds into the processor. When Lydia could hear something she placed a block on a stick (as she was meant to) and then turned and gave us a big grin.
Real life usage is different. It is hard to know whether she currently hears little or nothing when using just the new cochlear implant. We have been sent home with 4 settings on her processor so that we can turn up the volume a little every 2 days in preparation for next week's trip back to Oxford for more testing and tuning.
The hard work really starts now as Lydia's brain needs to be trained how to interpret the news signals it is receiving from the nerves. She will need to work at distinguishing different sounds and that is just the start. There is a long journey ahead for all of us and we hope it will result in her being able to hear as well with the new side as she does with the other one.
It has snowed - a lot. We've all been enjoying the snow with Isaac keen to look out of the window. Lydia and Caleb are keen to go outside at any opportunity and we've recreated snowman versions of our family that are proudly standing in the back garden.
Isaac was 6 months old on 6th January and has just discovered how to swallow his food. He has tried butternut squash, parsnip, carrot, pear, banana and sweet potato so far and has even had a few sips of water from a beaker without a lid. He is very keen now that he has learnt what to do with it!
Following heavy snow at the beginning of the week, we woke on Christmas morning to see the garden still covered in snow and our 2 snowmen still proudly standing!
Isaac's first Christmas started at a respectable 8:00am with stocking for all the children. After church we went to Grandma and Grandad's house. Caleb stated that his favourite part of the day was "eating lunch and eating dinner" and seemed confused as to why he had been given more than just one present. His favourite present was a paramedic toy car.
Lydia was very keen on opening presents (for herself and anyone else who she thought needed help). She was delighted with her lunchbox which is what she has been wanting for Christmas in preparation for starting lunch club next term. Lydia's excitement reached a climax whilst playing games of squeak-piggy-squeak and pass the parcel.
Isaac was cute all day and quite keen on playing with wrapping paper!
Granny and Grandad came to stay for a couple of days of family festivities but unfortunately we were not able to go out as planned due to the horrible weather and broken boiler.
Today Isaac had his first taste of food - pureed butternut squash. He seemed reasonably keen and this may be the start of a long love of food just like his brother!
P.S. Lydia continues to recover well from her operation.
Today Lydia had her second cochlear implant operation at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. We (David, Elizabeth, Isaac and Lydia - we left Caleb at home with his Grandma) got up very early as we had to be in the ward by 7.30am. In the end nothing happened that early as there was a delay in starting her operation as, although she was scheduled to be first into the theatre, there wasn't a bed on the ward for her for after the operation. When they were certain that there would be a bed they started the operation - shortly after 9.30am. At one pm Elizabeth went down to collect a very groggy girl from recovery and brought her back to the ward. She spent the afternoon recovering from the anaesthetic, gradually eating a little, reading books and watching CBeebies. At about six pm we took her down for an x-ray so that they could check the implant and then she went to bed, topped up with more painkillers which should kick in when the morphine she was given in theatre runs out.
Elizabeth and Isaac are now home (as Elizabeth is still feeding Isaac she couldn't stay over in hospital with Lydia) and David is hoping to get some sleep in a rather short sofa bed next to Lydia's hospital bed.
All being well Elizabeth should be able to collect them tomorrow. We will have to wait about four weeks for the wound to heal before she gets the external parts of the implant - the bits which will actually enable her to hear with her right ear - although we have been warned that it may take a long time for her to get used to it and she may not like the sounds it makes until her brain can work out what to do with them. So she can't currently hear any more than she could yesterday and won't hear anything in her right ear until some time in January. For the next fortnight she has to keep away from infections (so the wound doesn't get infected), avoid any bumps to the head, and not wash her hair!!
So that's the news. Sorry it's long, rambly and probably not very coherent but it's been a long day! Hopefully photos to follow another day.
We are very very proud of our brave little girl who didn't shed a single tear until Elizabeth kissed her goodbye at bedtime and she said she didn't want her to go home.
Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and kind wishes. They were much appreciated.
Today Isaac is 5 months old and our little boy is growing up! He has had his first night in his cot in his own room. Although he is still only having milk, we're going to get the highchair out so that he can at least observe the family mealtimes and prepare himself for the butternut squash which is now sitting in ice cube trays in the freezer for when he reaches 6 months!
We've just seen the report from Lydia's teacher of the deaf for her annual review. She is a very clever little girl having made 2 years and 9 months language progress in just 9 months. Lydia has a reading age of 7, vocabulary of a 6 year old and passed a practice SATS reading test (children do this at the end of year 2 - i.e. 6/7 year olds). All this from a 4 year old girl who is profoundly deaf but hears with her cochlear implant! We are very proud of her achievements and also the non-academic praise of her hard work, concentration, politeness and kindness to other children. Well done Lydia!
Hello. Isaac here. Thought it was about time I had something to say. Today I rolled over for the first time. I strategically waited until Mummy and Daddy were not in the room before doing it, so that I did it just for Lydia. I love her very much! I did do it later this afternoon for Mummy as well so that made her smile and clap.
I also saw my first fireworks last night. They were okay I suppose but the flashes were really bright and made me a bit sad by the end. Also, what did Mummy and Daddy think they were doing, taking me out in my pyjamas in the rain when I should have been in bed. I don't know. Parents these days.
Thanks Isaac for that. Our other news is that Lydia now has a date for her operation - Thursday 17th December. We are very excited about this. We met the surgeon on Wednesday afternoon who seemed very nice (a different one to the surgeon who performed Lydia's first operation as he then retired). It is ideal timing as Lydia will only miss two days of nursery (and not the nursery party or nativity play) and will then have the Christmas holidays to recover, with lots of exciting things to distract her.
Isaac continues to be a delightful and happy little baby. He is full of smiles and chuckles, and loves to 'chat' to anyone who'll talk to him. He blows bubbles and finds it funny!
He is becoming quite wriggly and has graduated from rotating 90 degrees (see September 21) to the occasional 180! He loves to be in a sitting position (propped up!) and often pulls his head forward when he is leaning back against a cushion.
He also spends a lot of time playing with his own hands, clasping them together, or trying to grab his books and his toys.
This week we have had some good news. The PCT have approved our funding application for Lydia to have a sequential bilateral implant. We have been waiting to hear since the application went in in June. We are so relieved that we haven't had to fight the PCT for funding and now we just wait for a slot to become available in surgery. It is very exciting news!
Yesterday we attended a Celebration Day in Coventry for recipients of an implant made by Cochlear (such as Lydia has) and their families. We had an amazing (and completely free!) time with all food laid on, including an ice cream van! There was the launch of the new implant which we hope that in time, Isaac will receive. The children spent some of the time in the (free!) creche while we did grown-up stuff like look at the new technology but then they had fun on bouncy castles, pedaloes, a ball pit, quad pods, a little train running round the site, paint ball and funfair rides. Lydia had her face painted like a tiger and also her fingernails to match! One highlight of the day was Boogie Pete from CBeebies doing a dance workshop. Lydia and Caleb were unsure about the dancing but we had a good workout!
The last couple of weeks have seen Isaac beginning to notice a bit more of the world around him. He loves to lie in his pram, especially in the garden under the washing line and watch the clothes blow in the wind. He also loves to be propped up so that he can see Lydia and Caleb playing. He smiles a lot in response to being smiled at and often smiles up at Elizabeth after he has finished feeding.
He is also learning that he has hands and likes to put his right fist (as much of it as will fit!) into his mouth. He has also managed to turn himself 90 degrees when lying in his babygym in an attempt to reach a book he was looking at.
He is sleeping through the night fairly consistently now, going to bed shortly after his 7pm feed and not waking until some time between about 6 and 7am (although he fits in a feed in his sleep at about 10pm). When he wakes in the morning he doesn't wake crying for food, but wants to have attention and be smiled at!
We have just come back from a holiday on the Isle of Wight where we spent a windy week in a caravan on the edge of a cliff! We all enjoyed being right next to the beach, having a view of the sea from the caravan, and able to walk to a small playground on site and see animals in the campsite farmyard.
We spent several happy afternoons on the beaches at Shanklin, Sandown and Compton Bay and also made several trips out to places such as the zoo and Mottistone Manor Gardens (where the children were entertained with a flowerpot man trail).
On another note, Lydia was excited to start back at nursery yesterday and also didn't wear a nappy to bed for the first time and managed to stay dry!
Isaac had a good time at Chatty Monkeys this morning - this is the deaf pre-school group that Lydia attended on a Tuesday morning until she started nursery - although Caleb probably appreciated it more, especially the cake!
Yesterday we celebrated Elizabeth's Mum's birthday by going for a boat trip on the Thames. Lydia and Caleb thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were allowed to have a go at driving the boat. The owner of the boat managed not to look too worried as we zigzagged along the river with the wheel in Lydia's hands! For Caleb the highlight was the birthday cake that we had on board.
Isaac usually fits a middle of the night feed in around 3:30-4:00am but last night Isaac slept through the night for the first time. He fed at 10:30pm and then didn't wake for a feed until 7:00am! We hope that this is the start of a new habit!
The Reading Deaf Children's Society held their annual fun day at Camp Mohawk on Sunday. In contrast to last year, the weather was wonderful allowing full use to be made of the activities inside and out. Lydia and Caleb enjoyed the outdoor swimming pool and were eventually dragged out when David got too hungry to stay in any longer. Caleb tried really hard in his first dance class although maintained a confused expression throughout and stuck closely to Lydia's side. Once again Lydia opted for a butterfly face paint (this was the 3rd time she has had her face painted and each time it has been a butterfly). They also enjoyed the playground, playdough, sensory room and having a picnic. Isaac, as the youngest child present, was blissfully unaware of the joys to come, being more interested in eating, cuddling and sleeping.
On Thursday David had a day off work and we went to Wisley RHS Gardens for the day. Lydia and Caleb thoroughly enjoyed visiting the glasshouse and pirate maize maze whilst Elizabeth liked the flowers and David got fruit and vegetable envy. Isaac appreciated it all with his eyes closed, lying in his pram! Lydia and Caleb impressed us with their walking - 4½ hours, stopping just for lunch!
Yesterday Isaac had an ABR which measures activity around the auditory nerves via electrodes on the scalp whilst receiving sound of different frequencies and volumes via earphones.
The hearing tests showed no response in his right ear and a response in his left ear at 100dB (which is very loud). This is similar to Lydia and means that he is profoundly deaf on both sides. Hearing aids are unlikely to give much benefit but will be required as part of the process of getting cochlear implants. We will start with hearing aids in September and it is likely that he will get bilateral cochlear implants between 12-18 months of age although there are a number of tests and checks required before that stage.
On a brighter note, Isaac is just starting to smile a little and we look forward to many more smiles as he practises his new skill.
Today we had the results from the genetics tests carried out on blood from Isaac's umbilical cord. Isaac has inherited the same Connexin 26 and Connexin 30 mutations that cause Lydia's deafness.
Isaac failed his newborn hearing test today. It means there is a high probability that he is deaf as he had a 1 in 4 chance of getting the same combination of genes that causes Lydia's deafness. He will have further tests when the audiologist comes to our house either tomorrow or Monday.
We are devastated at the news that our perfect baby is not as perfect as he seemed. Lydia is doing extremely well with her implant which is some encouragement but comes after a very tough 4 year journey which included many difficult times that we would hate to have to go through with another child.
Feel free to cry with us and please pray for us over the next few days, weeks and years.
This week saw David's return to work and in at the deep end for Elizabeth who also had Lydia starting school holidays sooner than expected due to an outbreak of swine flu at her school. Yesterday though David took another day off and we had a trip to Marlow to play in the park and look at the river, the ducks and the boats (Caleb's favourite). We even managed lunch out although the food was very slow and Isaac needed holding during the meal!
Today David is working again and Elizabeth took all three children to the playgym this morning and has Lydia and Caleb's friends coming to play later. So life continues even with three children, after all!
This weekend was a weekend of parties. On Saturday Lydia and Caleb were invited to a princess and pirate party. Lydia enjoyed the games but Caleb was much more interested in the food and was the last to leave the table as he munched his way through everything that was offered to him! Isaac seemed to take it all in his stride and wasn't at all bothered by thirty over-excited children rushing around!
On Sunday Lydia went to another party at a local soft play place which she thoroughly enjoyed. Elizabeth stayed at home with Caleb and Isaac and had an hour of complete peace and quiet while both boys slept at the same time!
Isaac experienced his first church service on Sunday morning and behaved very well.
Today is our seventh wedding anniversary - I don't think either of us imagined seven years ago that by this point we would have three beautiful children and we are very grateful to God for each of them and for each other.
Isaac is continuing to do well - eating and sleeping (a lot!) at more or less convenient times. He has been very good the last couple of nights, going back to sleep straight away after a feed.
This morning he went to Toddlers for the first time where he was suitably cute for the occasion.
His cord fell off yesterday so today we gave him his first bath. Lydia was already in the bath and enjoyed splashing water over him. He wasn't particularly bothered by the experience either way but at least he was awake!
We had been hoping to have his newborn hearing test tomorrow as we had been told in hospital that the health visitor would come at ten days. A phone call from the health visitor yesterday revealed that she won't actually come until twenty-one days, with there being no chance of a hearing test any earlier. This was a bit of a blow to us as we had been hoping to get this out of the way sooner rather than later.
... and the wall, moses basket, bedside light and carpet! Isaac did his first projectile poo during a nappy change at 6:30am this morning - a lovely way to start the day! Thankfully we had had enough sleep last night to be able to find it funny(ish).
Lydia was delighted to be collected from nursery today by Elizabeth and Isaac. She has missed being taken to and from nursery by her mummy in the past few weeks and had been dying to show Isaac off to everybody.
The midwife visited yesterday and Isaac was weighed for the first time since he was born. Impressively he has not only regained his birth weight, but put on an ounce as well, weighing in at 8lbs 12.5oz. This is really encouraging, especially for Elizabeth as she feels she must be doing something right in the feeding department!
Apart from having mild jaundice he was declared to be more or less perfect and he didn't complain at all about having the heel prick test (probably because he was eating - again! - at the same time).
Today we made it to the church BBQ where he was duly admired. He obligingly slept the whole time which meant the rest of us managed to get some food.
Isaac is very good-natured with his (few) awake times looking much like his sleep times except for a pair of alert little eyes trying to take everything in. He very rarely needs cuddles purely for the purpose of pacifying him which makes life with him that bit more pleasurable.
Yesterday we went out 'en famille' for the first time. Elizabeth's friend Gina had invited us round for the afternoon and while Lydia and Caleb were delighted to play with their friends, Elizabeth was just pleased to sit on someone else's sofa for a while! She felt very pleased with herself as she managed to feed Isaac out of the house for the first time.
Today was Lydia's 4th birthday and we had a lovely day. At nursery in the morning they had a little party in the hearing impaired unit, playing pass the parcel and eating the cake they had made the day before. She was delighted with her presents, especially her digital camera, about which she immediately declared 'I love my camera'! She now has a lot of photos of the carpet, distant shots of Isaac and close-ups of David's neck!
In the afternoon David took Lydia and Caleb to the park while Elizabeth made Lydia's favourite dinner - meatballs in tomato sauce with pasta and garlic bread, followed by ice cream with chocolate buttons and raspberries! As we put her to bed she wanted to thank God for her birthday, especially for her presents!!
Isaac was born just 2 days late - our earliest!
Having commented that I had missed out so far on getting a phone call at work to announce the onset of labour, Elizabeth obliged by phoning me at 3:00pm on Monday to let me know that she had contractions every 15 minutes for the past hour or so.
We arrived at Wexham Park Hospital at 7:00pm where labour progressed steadily. Elizabeth moved to the birth pool and whilst using plentiful supplies of gas and air gave birth at 10:07pm. Pushing him out took an hour of extremely hard work as he had decided to turn between being admitted to the birth centre in a great position and being born with his back to Elizabeth's back.
One of Isaac's first actions was to empty his bowels all over David's shorts. David spent the remainder of the evening in a long pair of midwife's blue trousers!
In contrast to Lydia and Caleb, Isaac has been keen on breast feeding, starting just minutes after birth. He appears to be a hungry boy, especially in the night!
We arrived home just before Lydia and Caleb went to bed. They were both very excited to meet their new brother, squealing with delight and commenting on everything he did and every noise he made. After he came out of his car seat Isaac sat on Lydia's lap and then Caleb reached out his arms and said "Can I have a cuddle?". They both love kissing him on the head and when Lydia went to bed tonight she said "I want to see baby Isaac every day". We think they are going to be a great big brother and sister.
Elizabeth gave birth a few hours ago to a beautiful baby boy, Isaac Joshua Easton. He was born on 6th July weighing a healthy 8lbs 11.5oz!
Lydia dressed as a ladybird for her first ever 'in the garden' themed sports day. She ran two races, winning the obstacle course by speeding under the arch, putting on the hat, picking up the flowers and storming through the finish line. The second race was a straight sprint in which Lydia watched Mummy and Daddy for most of the race!
Caleb was excited as he geared up for the toddlers race and could often be overheard asking when it was his turn. As he lined up on the starting line, he succumbed to the pressure as his face fell and he uttered the words "I don't want to". He managed to complete the race in last place having been helped along by the Headmaster and his mummy!
With just a day before the baby is due, Elizabeth had a good excuse for not competing in the mummies race. David performed admirably in the daddies race citing a premature start by several other competitors as the reason he only finished somewhere in the middle of the pack!
It looks as if Lydia will get to have a second cochlear implant! NICE changed their recommendations recently and as a result children with only one implant can be considered for a second one.
Lydia had a 2½ hour assessment at Oxford earlier this month and as a result has to wear a hearing aid in her non-implanted side until late August when she will have a further assessment. This is unlikely to give her hearing any benefit but allows the application for funding to have all the boxes ticked!
Although a second implant will make little difference in a quiet environment, it should help her in noisy situations where the brain can choose to focus more on one side than the other. There is also likely to be an improvement in Lydia's ability to detect the direction in which the sound originates - this is obviously lacking at the moment. Another important benefit is that there is a backup if one implant breaks or even when the batteries run out on one side.
Lydia may be the first child at Oxford to have a second implant having had a first one previously (sequential bilateral implantation) which would be quite exciting as we've been told it could take up to 2 years for them to catch up with all the children who currently have one implant and may want a second. It is likely that an operation might happen at the end of 2009 or early 2010 if everything goes according to plan.
Caleb has a lot to learn in the area of political correctness...
Ever since Easter, Caleb likes to think that everything that is brown is made of chocolate! A few weeks ago we were in Halfords and there happened to be a black guy on the checkout. Caleb shouts "Look, chocolate man! Look, chocolate man"!
A couple of weeks ago on holiday we were watching the narrow boats in the locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal. As a boat being driven by a man in a wheelchair cleared the lock, Caleb shouts "Bye-bye boat. Bye-bye bicycle man"!
We had a good Christmas after recovering from various illnesses just in time. Lydia took it in her stride when Father Christmas rang on the doorbell on Christmas Day and she chatted to him for 20 minutes before looking very confused when he transformed into Uncle Andrew.
Caleb is now putting words together. His favourite combination being "more star biscuits" which he can repeat however many of them he has already eaten. He also finds it highly amusing to tell us that things are a "bit big". He is making frequent use of the ability to say "no" and has managed to copy Lydia's especially stroppy way of saying it "nnnnnnnnnnnnno"! It is very cute when he says "chocolate yog (log)" and talks about the singing "dod" (dog).
Happy New Year
Wow, has it really been 3 months since we last wrote on here. Our internet connection has been really poor and frustratingly slow which has put us off doing this for a while.
However, a short update for you:
Lydia has almost come to the end of her first term at nursery. She has enjoyed every day of it and has been making friends. The staff are brilliant and have been looking after her really well. The speech therapist (who she sees weekly) is very pleased with her progress and continues to be impressed by what Lydia knows and by her concentration on tasks. Lydia is a very enthusiastic learner and although letters etc. are not pushed particularly at this point, Lydia has learnt her alphabet and can count at least to 20. She is starting to read simple words and is starting on reading books after Christmas.
Caleb's vocabulary is also increasing quickly and his favourite word at the moment is 'bauble'. He is quite a parrot and likes to copy the last word of every sentence you say. He happily follows Lydia into whatever mischief she suggests but they do play beautifully together most of the time.
They are both thoroughly enjoying Christmas preparations and were thrilled with the decorations, lights and tree going up at the weekend. Lydia has quite a good understanding of the Christmas story this year as well - it was lovely to hear her playing with the angel she had made at nursery as she took it to visit 'Mary' to tell her she would be having a baby.
Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.
I am officially a big girl now. I started nursery school on Monday and went every morning last week. I really enjoyed it and know all the names of the children in the hearing impaired unit already. I've done lots of exciting things and we play outside every day. The teachers Elinor and Val are really nice and we play counting games and sing songs with them. My favourite song at nursery is the hello song we sing at the start of every day.
I also had my first ballet lesson on Tuesday and now I would like it to be Tuesday every day. I have really lovely clothes to wear for it that Mummy bought on Thursday so the next time I try them on she promises she'll take a picture of me for you all to see. I tried them on to show Granny and Grandad on Saturday and they said I looked very pretty.
Love from Lydia x
We have had a really busy time in the last few weeks and despite the lack of sunshine we have done lots of interesting things, been to interesting places and seen lots of our friends.
We had a day out to Chessington just before the holidays began, followed by open air cinema in the park, trips to the farm and to the park, soft play places, feeding the ducks on the river, a couple of parties, loads of friends to play, singing session and a storytime at the library, lots of picnics, riding my bike, going to the gym, going to London, Hever Castle, Chiltern Open Air museum, Dinton Pastures...
And best of all, Caleb and I both got new shoes today. I was really excited that my feet are now a size 7 but Caleb cried a lot when the man measured his feet and said they were a 5. We both looked very smart and kept our new shoes on while we did the rest of our shopping. We showed them to lots of people that Mummy said hello to.
Love from Lydia x
I have had the best birthday! I was three last week and now I am grown up. Daddy didn't go to work on my birthday and instead we all went on another adventure in the rain. We went on the train to London and went to the Aquarium to see the fish. I really liked it, especially seeing the big sharks and also the crabs. We had lunch in the rain, standing under a railway bridge, watching a very big wheel go round. Mummy said we could go on it another day.
After lunch we went on a train like Underground Ernie and went to see the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. There were lots and lots of people and I wasn't scared of the dinosaurs at all. Then we had dinner in the Rainforest Cafe which was really fun. There were elephants and big monkeys and thunderstorms and stars in the sky...and good food too. Everyone in the restaurant sang happy birthday to me (it's my favourite song at the moment and I know all the words) and I had candles in my pudding which I had to blow out.
We came home on the train, really late. I was so tired that I didn't wake up until half past nine in the morning. Mummy seemed happier than usual!
I had lots of lovely presents too, but the best things were a new bed and duvet from Mummy and Daddy, dressing up clothes from Grandma and Grandad, and a special hat to wear on my bike from Granny and Grandad, which I tried for the first time at the weekend. I found that riding a bike is really easy and I loved going up and down the pavement outside Granny and Grandad's house. The bike has been in our garage for ages as Mummy's friend gave it to us but I couldn't have it until I was three. It's great being three.
Tomorrow we're off on another adventure - to Beale Park - but hopefully it'll be an adventure without rain this time.
Yesterday we went on an adventure. We went to a place called Camp Mohawk with my friends from Chatty Monkeys who have special ears like mine. There was lots to do - painting, play doh, games, sensory room, face painting, art, and best of all, an outdoor swimming pool. Mummy and Daddy forgot the swimming things so I took all my clothes off and went in with just a pair of armbands. Mummy and Daddy decided not to join me in the water so I played with my friend Georgia and her daddy. The butterfly on my face got washed off in the pool so I had to have it done again! There would have been lots of things to do outside but it rained nearly all day. We were very tired when we came home.
We have just returned from a lovely week away in a caravan in Wales. We stayed in Pendine and were near lots of beautiful beaches. Caleb and Lydia both loved being on the beach (nearly as much as David) - Lydia particularly liked splashing in the sea and Caleb enjoyed digging in the sand. We also visited a castle, a chocolate factory, a dinosaur park and caves, Tenby, Caldey Island, Folly Farm and lots more.
Lydia and Caleb really liked living in a caravan and Caleb had his first experience of sleeping in a bed rather than a cot. Lydia decided that grobags were for babies and she would rather use a duvet from now on. We had a picnic nearly every day and we all loved eating fish and chips on the beach. We had good weather and were able to be outdoors most of the time.
We seem to have brought half the beach home with us and now have lots of washing to do!
Lydia has recently taken to naming her poos after her family. Recently she looked in her potty and having spotted 3 poos pointed and said they were Mummy, Daddy and Caleb!
When Caleb reached his 1st birthday he suddenly realised that it was time to walk some more and now toddles around confidently looking very pleased with himself.
He can happily occupy himself driving his fire engine around the house and it is one of the few things that he doesn't try to eat.
I am really excited and might have trouble sleeping. Tomorrow is my very first birthday. I don't know what that means but Lydia is very excited about it so it must be good!
Love from Caleb
Lydia has been potty training for the past 10 days. She is making really good progress with no accidents in the past 4 days. At the weekend she did a poo in her pants just after sitting on the potty for a wee. On being asked to apologise because I was grumpy she put her hands together and said "Jesus, sorry poo pants, amen"! Not quite what I meant but hilarious anyway.
Caleb has his first pair of shoes - a whopping 4½ G! He is practising his walking and the video clip of Lydia and Caleb walking together in the garden comes highly recommended.
Caleb is becoming increasingly mobile and yesterday made it all the way up the stairs for the first time. Today, every time my back is turned he is up to the top step! On reaching the top of the staircase he empties the bookcase! Lydia thinks it's great that he has become so mischievious and joins in, both of them giggling hysterically.
Caleb is also becoming quite steady on his feet and his walking is getting more confident. He likes practising and loves to walk along the landing for a cuddle at the end.
We are really enjoying the sunny weather and the children love playing in the garden together.
On Saturday we went to a farm to see lots of sheep. Some of them had had babies and some of them still had their babies in their tummies. They were very fat. I was a bit scared to start with but Caleb was very brave and stroked the lambs. Mummy was even braver and gave a lamb a bottle. I told Mummy and Daddy that I was scared of sheep, scared of lambs, scared of pigs, piglets, donkeys and cows. They just seemed pleased that I had learned to say some new words!
We also had a tractor ride and then had a picnic. It was very exciting and I didn't want to come home.
Caleb has learned to clap and likes to do it if someone says 'hurray'! He looks very pleased with himself that he has mastered this skill.
His cruising has become very confident but he has not yet walked on his own. He loves walking holding onto just one hand or finger.
He has also learned to change the temperature on the oven, repeatedly, open and shut the washing machine as well as take the food out of the cupboards and roll it on the floor!
He is incredibly cute at the moment and asks for cuddles by crawling over, pulling himself up and throwing himself at one of us.
I have been collecting stickers for the last few days. I get one every time I do a wee on the toilet. I don't like the potty but I like my special seat which goes on the toilet. Even better than the sticker is that I get to use toilet roll and flush the toilet when I do a wee! I usually give myself a clap as well.
Sorry we haven't written for a while - wow, nearly a whole month - but Mummy and Daddy have not been able to use the internet since we moved house.
Our big news is that we've moved and we have our own bedrooms. It's very exciting for Caleb because he doesn't have to sleep in my pink bedroom any more, and I can have my room to myself! We also have more space to spread our toys around and even our own bathroom so Mummy and Daddy's stuff doesn't clutter up our space.
Caleb's continuing to get in my way and steal my toys. He likes to stand and to walk with the baby walker or holding Mummy's hands. I like dressing up and I usually insist on choosing my own clothes in the morning. I like to take care of my doll, Millie, and make sure she is properly dressed as well.
I'll write again soon.
Both Lydia and Caleb really enjoyed Christmas this year. The first two days were spent with Elizabeth's family and the next two days with David's family. They loved all the attention and wonderful presents including a wooden toy garage made by their uncle Andrew.
Caleb has now graduated from the school of crawling and has moved on to pulling himself up to standing using anything he can get his hands on. He produced another three teeth over Christmas and so is the proud owner of four front teeth.
We spent New Year's Eve with our friends Gina and Paul. Lydia slept in Jessica's room in a real bed and it went so well that we converted her cot bed into a real bed today. She has just this moment fallen out of it for the first time with a crash!
We'd all like to wish you a Happy New Year!
A first tooth has made its appearance in Caleb's mouth without any fuss. He spent quite a while chewing my finger yesterday but it doesn't seem to be bothering him at all. Maybe now he'll give finger food a try!
This morning we had our church nativity. Lydia got a last minute part as a sheep which involved standing in a sheep outfit and sucking her fingers (not strictly required for the role). Lydia seems to have enjoyed her acting as she spent the walk back from church saying "Lydia Baa".
Lydia is increasing the distance she is walking and going in the buggy far less. She has walked all the way into town to toddler group and back afterwards (over a mile each way).
For Caleb, crawling is old news and it now only serves to get him to the next thing he can pull himself up on. This usually ends in tears when he forgets that he can't balance for long on his knees and headbutts whatever he was using as a climbing frame! We are thinking of buying him a crash helmet for Christmas :-)
Having spent a few weeks rocking on all fours, Caleb took off today! Apart from when he was asleep or strapped into the buggy, he was on the move, crawling slowly but very deliberately forwards. Lydia seems torn between thinking this is great fun and thinking that her toys may not be as safe as they once were!
This weekend we got into the festive spirit! On Saturday we went to Bath for the day to visit the Christmas market. It was very busy but Lydia and Caleb enjoyed looking at the lights, stars and tinsel on the stalls as well as the various decorations and Christmas trees. We went to a short carol service in Bath Abbey which they both enjoyed - Lydia because she could try and join in with the singing (not very tuneful but very cute!) and Caleb because he could have his milk at last!
On Sunday afternoon we went to the Oxford Deaf Children's Society Party where Lydia had her face painted for the first time. She was very pleased with her butterfly face and spent quite a lot of time looking at herself in the mirror and telling Caleb about it. Father Christmas also put in an appearance and they both received lovely presents.
I'm not quite sure whether we can keep it up for the rest of December but I think it got off to a good start!
When Lydia was 2 years 4 months old she had a progress check with the speech therapist which compared her listening & understanding and vocalisation with hearing children. She came out as 2 years 5 months for understanding and 2 years 3 months for speaking! We think this is amazing progress for a girl who has only been responding to sound for 10 months!
Caleb meanwhile has regained an appetite and uses all his newfound energy rocking to and fro on his hands and knees. His locomotion consists of ready, steady, go ... backwards.
Caleb started to babble yesterday and has been chattering non-stop today! He looks very pleased with himself as he says 'da da da' over and over again!
Unfortunately he is not very well and has a horrible cough. After he eats, he coughs and coughs until he is sick which is giving our washing machine a lot of work. On Monday (after he had thrown up his food for the last three days) we went to the doctors but they said there was nothing wrong with him. Please pray that he would get better soon as it's very unpleasant for all of us.
On Friday we celebrated the fact that Lydia's cochlear implant was switched on a year ago. We continue to be amazed by the progress she is making and the new words she picks up and understands.
We spent the day at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire and Lydia thought it was fantastic. Particularly favourites were the giraffes, the monkeys, the flamingoes and the otters. She also really enjoyed a trip on the road train. It was so lovely to hear her chattering away and to see her paying attention to the sounds around her. When we ate tea that evening she told us about some of the things she had seen and done.
We want to thank God for the technology that has given Lydia hearing and for the enormous progress she has made this year. We continue to pray that in September next year when she goes to nursery she will be able to communicate and understand as much as all the other children starting nursery.
Caleb is now confidently sitting alone and enjoys being in the sitting position. So far he is keeping up with his sister, who also sat unaided at about five and a half months!
Yesterday we went to the Heart of England conference centre in Coventry for the 25th anniversary of the make of implant which Lydia has receieved. It was a completely free day put on by the company, attended by about 500 people, with activities for all ages as well as seminars and an exhibition.
We arrived to be given t-shirts, a goodie bag, coffee and danish pastries (which Lydia thought was very exciting!). Elizabeth went to a seminar on preparing cochlear implant children for school and David went to one in the afternoon led by the chief scientist of Cochlear from Australia which he found very interesting.
Lydia enjoyed curly fries, sausages and chicken for lunch, followed by chocolate doughnuts while the rest of us had a slightly more healthy alternative!
There were lots of activities to choose from but the highlight for Lydia was the trampoline. We lost count of the number of times she went on it! At times we managed to persuade her onto other things as well, such as a bouncy castle, a bus filled with soft play equipment, mini space hoppers and a giant inflatable slide. Elizabeth took her on the 'jungle safari' - a trip through the woods encountering a giraffe, unfriendly natives, apes that we had to fight off with bananas, and King Kong being held off by Tarzan who arrived swinging on a rope!
We also had several rides on 'quad pods' which were a chain of plastic barrels on their sides which had been cut open, a seat put in and wheels added. These were towed around the field at quite a speed! Lydia thought they were fantastic and wanted repeated goes.
Lydia spent a lot of the day pointing out other people with implants although spotted that there was something wrong if they had it on the other side to her!
We had a lovely day and had two very tired children who slept all the way home.
I've decided to give up rolling as I really don't enjoy being on my front. I'm working on 180 degree turns to confuse Mummy and Daddy if they get me out of my cot in the dark! It can be a bit of a squeeze as the cot isn't quite wide enough when I'm right across it and sometimes this makes me cry.
I also had my first taste of food yesterday. I really wasn't very impressed with baby rice and am hoping to have something a bit more tasty quite soon.
Love from Caleb
Today was Caleb's dedication. Loads of our friends and family joined us for the service and a buffet afterwards. Lydia and Caleb were both very good, Caleb enjoying all his cuddles and Lydia assuming it was all for her!
Thank you to everyone who came and were part of Caleb's special day.
Lydia's communication, attention, listening and vocalisation are assessed at regular intervals. This time she has made 8 months of progress in the first three categories in just 2 calendar months! We're really pleased and proud of our clever little girl.
At the weekend Lydia managed to put her coil back on her head when it fell off. She's been really good at noticing it recently and coming to us to have it re-attached. If she can do it herself then it will help her to be more independent. She hasn't repeated it since but we are hoping that it will soon become a habit.
I'm really enjoying being able to roll. I can now roll from my back to my front going either way, and I have once rolled from my front to my back. This needs a bit more practice. It's great because it means I don't have to stay in the same place all the time! Every now and then Mummy puts me back where I started which is really annoying - just when I think I'm getting somewhere!
Love from Caleb x
P.S. Lydia is getting really clever and knows all her colours and parts of the body. She can point them out on me.
Today Caleb rolled on to his front for the first time! He waited until David got home from work so that we could both watch. Looking in Lydia's baby book we were amazed to see that she also rolled for the first time at four months and two days - the same as Caleb, to the day.
Yesterday I learned how to suck my thumb. Since then, it's only really come out my mouth when I'm eating, crying or laughing! Mummy and Daddy think I'm really clever but really it's just a way of supplementing my somewhat boring diet of milk with carpet fluff!
I've also been trying hard to roll over but I keep getting stuck when I get onto my side. I've discovered that sleeping on my side is comfortable though. I'll keep practising.
Love from Caleb x
This weekend we went to Ruth's wedding (Mummy's friend from university) in Anglesey. It was really exciting as the reception was in a marquee in a field on her parents' farm. Mummy's friends from university were really friendly to me and played games with me. Mummy had to change my nappy on a hay bale which was funny but a bit itchy! I stayed up really really late and we stayed so I could do a bit of dancing although Mummy and Daddy didn't join in! It also meant that we stayed two nights in hotels and I had sausages for breakfast!
We've just got back from our holiday in France. We stayed in a lovely house near Pontivy in Brittany not just with Mummy, Daddy and Caleb but also with Grandma, Grandad and Uncle Stephen. It was such fun to have so many people to play with. There were swings in the garden and a swimming pool which I thought was really exciting but nobody wanted to stay in the pool quite as long as me!
I was very grown up and ate in some French restaurants although I couldn't see what was so exciting about crepes (or cider!).
We went out to various places and I especially enjoyed the day we spent on the beach especially when I got brave enough to paddle in the sea.
We even had a game of mini golf and I was really quite helpful moving balls around - just to keep the grown ups on their toes.
Just before I went on holiday I learned how to say 'Daddy' properly instead of 'da-da' and also to say my own name. Mostly it comes out more like 'i-dee' but sometimes I say it perfectly. Mummy and Daddy were very pleased with me.
It's been a very tiring week and I expect I shall be up early in the morning to help Mummy put the washing on, so good night.
Caleb has spent the last few days trying to reach and grab things and likes to practise in his gym.
Lydia has learned to jump on the spot - it must be all the trampolining and playing on the bouncy castle that she's doing! She's had a lot of friends to play in the last couple of weeks so her garden toys have had a lot of use!
Caleb and Lydia are successfully sharing a room, Caleb sleeping from about 7pm until 6.30 or 7 in the morning, and Lydia sleeping from about 7.30pm until about 8am.
Last night I had a sleepover in Lydia's room rather than sharing with Mummy and Daddy. They seemed to forget about me because I didn't have my normal feed in the night but told me I had been a very good boy to sleep from 7:00pm until 6:00am when I woke in the morning. I'm having another sleepover today.
We were in the garden this afternoon and Lydia wanted me to come and play on her new bouncy castle. She told Daddy to take my socks off,pointed at me then bounced up and down and pointed at the bouncy castle. I'm glad Lydia likes me but I can't play very much yet.
I love to have conversations and make cute noises. Its very funny when people laugh and it makes me laugh too. Lydia is very clever and says Mummy very clearly and also Da-Da.
Hope you like my first diary entry. I look forward to writing more soon.
Love from Caleb.
Last weekend Caleb laughed for the first time. He has repeated it on a number of occasions which is very cute.
Lydia ate her first ice cream cone today and ended up with chocolate ice cream all over her face, her dress and even her shoes! She seemed to be enjoying herself though!
Mummy and Daddy packed us off to the seaside at Brighton for a few days last week. Daddy left us half way through breakfast each day to go to meetings with 4,000 other people from churches all over the world but Mummy took Caleb and me to see fish and turtles instead. I went along the pier, ate ice cream and threw stones at the sea.
Today was my second birthday. (Apparently I had a first birthday last year but I don't remember it). It was a really good day. We had croissants for breakfast and then I had lots of presents to open. I just didn't know which to play with first. Mummy and Daddy had already given me my little house in the garden and they gave me a microwave and a set of tools to use with playdoh. I was also given some lacing cards, a pink bag, some pots of playdoh, a zoo which makes noises, a magnetic book, moulds for the sandcastle, lots of things to help Daddy do gardening (see photos) and an easel. There's still another big box in the garage for me but Mummy and Daddy say I can have it next weekend.
My morning was spent at Tumbletots and they sang happy birthday to me and gave me a special sticker. After lunch and a sleep I played in the garden with all my new gardening things. I especially liked helping Daddy water all the plants with my watering can.
After tea (and a piece of the delicious birthday cake which Mummy and Daddy made for me) we went out to see some trains. I love trainspotting and there is a bridge nearby where we can watch lots of trains go under. Drivers waved at me and we said 'hello' and 'bye bye' to each train. It was very exciting!
As it was my birthday, I had a special bath not just with Caleb but Mummy and Daddy too! I had lots of fun.
Can I have another birthday tomorrow?
We have had a very busy time this weekend and have hardly been at home at all! On Saturday we went swimming and Caleb had his first swim, which, after his initial shock he enjoyed and was happy to stay in for half an hour, only crying when we got out! Lydia also had a great time and particularly enjoyed the slides.
After a quick lunch we drove down to the Royal Victoria Country Park in Southampton for Elizabeth's uncle's 60th birthday. We had a picnic tea and Lydia played happily on a trike and kicked around a football with various relatives. Caleb was very grumpy but his great-grandparents were pleased to meet him for the first time.
Following church this morning we went to a farm between Oxford and Aylesbury for a Cochlear Implant Society barbeque. Lydia was interested to see other children and adults with implants as she has recently started noticing hers in photos and been very aware of when it falls off. This is excellent as it shows that she thinks things are more interesting when she can hear.
Sadly Caleb's injections didn't have quite the same effect as Lydia's and we are still waiting for him to sleep 12 hours at night!
Lydia had a check-up for her eyes yesterday as deaf children are tested at 6 months and again at 2 years. This is because eyes and ears develop at the same time in the womb so if you have a problem with one, often you have a problem with the other as well. Also it's doubly important if you are deaf that you have good eyesight to make up for what you miss. Her eyes were declared perfect and she was discharged so we don't have to go back for any more tests. This is quite a relief as Lydia got quite upset having the eyedrops put in - and they kept us waiting 45 minutes.
Also yesterday Lydia had her hearing check-up in Oxford and she performed beautifully, passing all the tests. They didn't make any alterations to her equipment and we don't have to go back until October.
Tomorrow Caleb has his first set of injections and we have high hopes, as, following Lydia's first set of injections she then slept from 7pm until 7am and has done ever since!
Yesterday Caleb had his eight week check and everything was fine. He wasn't too happy about having his clothes taken off and to show his displeasure he did a wee all over the doctor's carpet (and hand!). He weighs 12lbs 12oz and is now 59cm tall/long.
At the weekend Lydia had her first try at strawberry picking. She loved looking for ripe ones to put in the punnet but didn't seem to realise what she was picking until the end when we gave her one to try. After that she wanted to eat them all the way home! She's also enjoying other summery foods such as cucumber, watercress, smoked salmon and prawns!
Last weekend we had our first stay away from home with 2 children, visiting Elizabeth's brother Stephen in Cambridge. All in all it went well and Caleb even slept for 8 hours in a row on Saturday night! We had a lovely day out on Saturday to a wildlife park and Lydia enjoyed spotting tigers, monkeys, rabbits and even cockroaches. The variety of animals seemed to be lost on Caleb!
Caleb suffers quite a lot from trapped wind causing him discomfort and us stress. At other times he just gets to sleep and is rudely awoken by Lydia screaming, poking or saying hello to him - something that seems to require her to put her face within 1cm of his!
When Caleb is happy he likes to 'coo' and can have quite a long 'cooing' conversation which is very sweet.
He is growing fast and is out of his newborn clothes and into his 0-3 month outfits (much to Elizabeth's delight as she can dress him in a different outfit every day at the moment!).
Good news! The geneticist rang on Wednesday to let us know that, having tested Caleb's cord blood which they took at birth, he does not have either of the genes which cause Lydia's deafness. Although we had already found out he can hear, this tells us that he is not a carrier of the condition either. This means that if he has children they cannot inherit the condition which has caused Lydia's deafness.
Lydia is now over her chickenpox and is now scratching the scabs instead which seem to particularly bother her on her head.
Caleb is doing well and giving us a reasonable amount of sleep at night although can't seem to sleep in the day without a lot of fuss. He has even charmed us with a few fleeting smiles this week.
I haven't written for a while but now I have some news for you. I think you probably all know about my baby brother (who I love talking to, kissing and telling to be quiet when he cries) but my latest is that I'm covered in spots! Mummy and Daddy say it's called chickenpox but all I know is that the spots are in all sorts of funny places (like inside my ear, on my lip, next to my eye and all over my neck and back) and they are beginning to be itchy. I don't like the pink stuff Daddy tried to dab on. I'm a bit disappointed because it means we can't go and see my friend tomorrow and we might have to stay in.
It's hard to believe that Caleb is now three weeks old. We have survived our first week with David back at work after paternity leave. It has been quite a difficult week for Elizabeth and she's in awe of anyone who has more than one child and is still sane! Lydia and Caleb seem to choose the same moments to cry/have a tantrum and it's hard to know who to see to first.
Elizabeth has tried to get out and about with Lydia and Caleb this week - sometimes more successfully than others - and has managed to get to Lydia's gym class, to see a friend in Reading, to Toddler group, to Odd's Farm (on David's day off), to the park and to see a couple of other friends.
It's very noticeable how different Caleb is to Lydia as a baby, as she was never interested in being held and Caleb loves to be cuddled and finds it very hard to go to sleep without a pair of warm arms holding him - lovely but not always convenient! He also loves to be sung to and was even soothed by David with a cold singing in a very growly voice!
Caleb has just had his newborn hearing test and passed with flying colours. He had a 1 in 4 chance of carrying the same set of genes as Lydia resulting in severe/profound hearing loss.
Last week we were very scared that he could not hear as he seemed to be very similar to Lydia in the things he didn't respond to. Whilst in hospital for his antibiotics we saw a startle response when the noisy rubbish bin lids closed and started to hope for the best.
We are absolutely delighted and relieved.
Caleb attended the tongue-tie clinic today as there was a line along the middle of his tongue connecting it to his bottom palette. It was one of the worst examples they had seen for a while and would have affected his speech later in life if it hadn't been resolved. Thankfully all that was needed was a small cut which heals quickly and only made him cry for a minute.
Elizabeth has been ill for the past few days with a urine infection taking her temperature to above 39.5°C (103.2°F). She is on antibiotics and recovering well but the past few days have been particularly difficult for us all.
On Thursday we had a nasty shock when Caleb suddenly stopped breathing while feeding. He went white, completely limp and lifeless. Elizabeth called the ambulance and David gave a couple of breaths to Caleb. The paramedics arrived within a couple of minutes, by which time he was breathing shallowly, and whisked Elizabeth and Caleb off to A&E where he was subjected to a barrage of tests.
It is likely that he choked with milk going down the wrong way and everything indicates he is perfectly healthy now with no ill effects due to not breathing for a couple of minutes. However, due to starting a course of antibiotics on arrival at hospital in case of infection, morning and evening visits are required to finish the course. This involves being attached to tubes for an hour in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening - something we could do without. Hopefully tomorrow morning is the last visit and David's next week of paternity leave will be more restful and less eventful!
We are thankful to God for protecting our son and us through a terrifying ordeal.
Lydia is getting used to having a new member of the family although throws herself on the floor and has a tantrum every now and then. She is very interested in Caleb and peers closely at him every time he cries.
Caleb and Lydia shared their first brief bath on Tuesday and she kissed him goodnight on his first night home. Lydia already recognises Caleb's name and we've taught her the sign for "brother" to mean Caleb.
Sleeping and feeding are still unpredictable although he certainly seems to have a healthy appetite!
Elizabeth returned home yesterday afternoon and is starting her recovery well. We made it to church for a few minutes this morning to show off our new arrival.
It all started with Elizabeth feeling funny in the early hours of Friday and this became noticable contractions at about 5:00am. As these were 15 minutes apart and managable, we looked after Lydia for the morning, had an early lunch and put Lydia down for a sleep. At about 2:30pm the time had come to go to hospital. David took Lydia to a friend and we arrived at Wexham Park Hospital at 3:00pm. From there everything progressed very quickly and Elizabeth used gas and air before being transferred to the birth pool where she gave birth about 45 minutes after getting in the water. Caleb was born 10 days overdue at 5:26pm on Friday 4th May 2007.
The Birth Centre was really busy on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and on any of those days we would have been unlikely to have to access to the pool. Not only was 4th May David's Father's birthday but also a quiet day at the Birth Center with only Elizabeth in labour that afternoon. She was really pleased to give birth without any intervention needed although stitches were required and were particularly unpleasant.
Caleb seems to be a healthy boy with a particularly fine pair of lungs. He is yet to work out how to feed properly and we are still working on this. When he cries, his bottom lip quivers making him sound like a little lamb!
For those of you wondering about the name, Caleb was a character from the Old Testament of the Bible who trusted in what God said even when circumstances seemed to indicate the opposite. In Numbers 14:24 God says "My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly". We think he presents a great role model for our son. Caleb means "Bold and faithful". Jonathan means "gift of God" and we are very thankful for the gift of our baby son.
When Lydia arrived at hospital she was delighted to see her mum and sat next to her on the bed. On seeing Caleb for the first time, she looked excited, made a little squeal and signed "baby" and "sleeping". She is a little unsettled by having been left with various people and having Caleb in the house but is coping well so far.
We have a beautiful baby son, Caleb Jonathan Easton!!!
Today Mummy and Daddy took me to an open day at the local Agricultural College. There was so much to see and do. I saw falcons and owls flying, horses, pigs, sheep, ferrets racing, mice and rabbits, wolves, donkeys, tarantulas, snakes and lots of other things. We had a picnic at lunchtime in a big field but I didn't like the ice cream. I was given a couple of balloons but even though they were tied to me I managed to lose them and I had to stop and watch them go up into the sky until I couldn't see them any more. The best thing there was the bouncy castle which I went on four times.
Lydia has taken to signing everything that she recognises and she now has quite an extensive signed vocabulary of over 30 words. When she is in the mood she signs word after word when presented with pictures of animals and other things she recognises. Some of these are only recognisable in context and to anyone apart from her parents might look like random waving. Her aeroplane is the most recognisable and she is getting very adept at hearing them in the distance.
Lydia is very cute when she sees a picture of a lion or tiger resulting in an unfierce little roar as we haven't taught her the sign for these (mainly because we didn't know the correct sign!). She attempts to add sounds to some other signs such as "aarrr" for car, "a" for cat, "mmm" for cow, "rah, rah, rah" for telephone and some kind of squeak for elephant which can't possibly be spelled phonetically!
Eventually we hope that Lydia will communicate verbally but the signing is great because it allows us to tell she is understanding what we say when she signs words back to us. It also gives her something on which to pin words as she hears them and starts to reproduce them. Obviously there is a long way to go before these approximate sounds become recognisable words and an accompanying sign is vital!
This week we have been encouraged to hear Lydia begin to babble. She seems to enjoy having a 'chat' and is making more of a variety of basic sounds. She is also responding to a few words without needing to see the sign to recognise them. We think that she already understood the words mummy, daddy, milk and food, but she now also understands dog, cat and car. This is really good news as these are all stages in eventually learning to talk.
Also, after a few weeks at Tumble Tots (her baby gym class) of being helped to do roly polys on a big foam mat, Lydia did three of them completely independently on the carpet at home, much to our astonishment!
I had a good weekend and Mummy and Daddy had friends to stay who were really nice and played with me a lot. At church the children all decorated biscuits to look like our mummies. I wanted to eat it because it looked so yummy but Mummy ate it instead. I couldn't remember what colour eyes Mummy has so I put blue ones on but I got the hair right. The best bit was colouring in the plate to put the biscuit on. I also gave her a proper present which Daddy helped me choose.
I'd better go as I need a sleep now as I have a busy week ahead of me and sometimes it can be pretty tiring.
Love from Lydia x
Yesterday I went to my Grandad's 60th birthday party. It seems amazing that you can be that old. I had a wonderful time as there were so many people to entertain. Even though I had my lunch before they all arrived, I ate most of the afternoon, picking from other people's plates and polishing off some bowls of crisps and pretzels. I also provided entertainment in the form of my expert piano playing but the audience loved it so much that I had to stop every few notes to allow them to clap and also to clap myself. By the end I was very tired from all the partying and I slept all the way home. When's the next party?!
Love from Lydia x
Yesterday Lydia had a speech therapy session and a hearing appointment at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford (it has all moved from the Radcliffe Infirmary where we used to go). The speech therapist was pleased that Lydia was recognising her own name and was making a range of sounds. However, Lydia has still not started to make early baby sounds such as ba ba ba or ma ma as she had hoped she would be by now and this is something for us to continue working on. The frustrating thing for us is that Lydia likes to watch our mouths when we make those sounds and also sometimes moves her mouth in that way without actually making any noise.
The hearing appointment was very encouraging and they were very pleased with the progress she was making with her hearing. Lydia wasn't impressed when the audiologist turned off her implant in order to make an adjustment (turning up the volume of lower sounds as she responded to these less in her hearing test) and glared at her quite crossly! Lydia even demonstrated her enjoyment of dancing by doing a bit of hip wiggling to a musical toy!
We don't have to go back to the hospital until April.
We continue to be amazed by the new sounds Lydia is learning to hear. She is now noticing sounds out of her vision and asking (putting her hand to her ear) what is making the sound. She is particularly interested in kitchen noises such as the washing machine, kettle, breadmaker and even the fan in the oven! She hears people coming down the stairs and when the shower is turned on and off. Yesterday she heard a car park outside the house and then got up on a chair to look out to see if it was Daddy coming home from work!
It is really exciting for us to see her progress although we recognise that there is still a long way to go.
Sorry I haven't written for a while but I've been on hunger strike for over a week but I seem to be enjoying food again now. I decided not to eat any breakfast and also no tea which seemed to make Mummy upset sometimes. I was sick the Sunday before last which wasn't very nice but I did enjoy having a bath in the morning. I was also quite grumpy for the week. My tastes seem to have changed a bit since though. I'm not interested in biscuits any more or bread. But I have developed a liking for croissants for breakfast!
Mummy thinks that I might be getting a new tooth which would be exciting as I haven't had a new one in ages. She says that might be why I stopped eating and why I was so grumpy. She keeps sticking her finger in my mouth to try and feel it but I just bite.
That's all from me for now,
This month has been one of lots of weekends with my grandparents. January began with a weekend at Granny and Grandad's for Uncle Andrew's birthday. They took us all out for lunch at a hotel and I really enjoyed myself because it was a carvery and I was able to have as much broccoli as I liked. Broccoli is my favourite food.
The next weekend Grandma and Grandad came to stay with us and they looked after me while Mummy and Daddy had a grown up afternoon and evening out in London (as a birthday present).
Then this last weekend I stayed with Granny and Grandad while Mummy and Daddy went away (for more birthday celebrations) to stay at a posh hotel. I had lots of fun going to the park, spotting trains over the bridge and I particularly enjoyed playing with Uncle Andrew's trains. He seemed to be having lots of fun too!
I have learned to make a new sound which Mummy and Daddy seem to like a lot. I am getting really good at squealing and every day I try to make it more and more high pitched. I can keep up the squealing for a whole morning if I'm having a good time.
We'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year as we start 2007 and update you on Lydia's progress with sound which has been really exciting over the past few weeks.
Our Christmas has been greatly enhanced by seeing Lydia progressing at a super fast pace. She is hearing, enjoying and recognising loads of sounds including:
* Doorbell (goes to see who is at the door)
* CD Player / Piano (asks for it to be turned on so she can dance, spots it starting and stopping, points to it whilst cupping hand to her ear etc.)
* Wind chimes (wants to play them herself and asks for them to be played by pointing to them)
* Electronic and other musical toys (will go to find the relevant toy when she hears the sounds)
* Taps, shower, toilet flushing etc.
* Us calling her (she will turn or come to find us in a different room and we think she can distinguish between us)
Lydia has also been highly entertaining in the extent of her bossiness. When she decides it is time for a dance, she'll get everyone on their feet by putting her hand under their bottoms and pulling or by grabbing their hands or legs. Next comes a point to the radio or piano and then we all have to dance. If someone stops and sits down then Lydia goes to them and makes it quite clear that it is not acceptable to stop! Her technique normally involves spinning in circles with her hands together and looking seriously at her feet until she is dizzy, loses her balance, falls over and then smiles.
Just since yesterday we have noticed that Lydia is much noisier when her processor is on and much quieter when it isn't on. Also at church yesterday, Lydia discovered that she likes the sound of her own voice and spent the whole time vocalising loudly with her mouth open (a loud "aaahh" sound). It continued most of yesterday and this morning with shorter bursts the rest of the day. This is exciting as it is the very first step towards eventually talking in the future and the first time she seemed to enjoy/notice the sound of her own voice.
Today she attempted for the first time to put her processor back on her ear after it fell off - it will be a long time before she can do it successfully.
We are really thankful to God for the recent rapid progress and to those of you who have been so faithful in praying for her.
I have had the most exciting week. I woke up on Monday to find that the funny tree in the lounge had got lots of shiny boxes under it. I wanted to see what was inside them all but we went to church with Granny and Grandad first and then had a really big lunch. Finally, after sleeping off the turkey I was allowed to see what the shiny boxes were. I had lots of lovely new toys including a tea set from Granny and Grandad, some gloves from them (which I also like to wear indoors), books, puzzles, a special drawing mat and pens, a mobile phone to put in my handbag and best of all, a doll called Millie. Mummy says it's so that I can practise for April. What's happening in April?
On Boxing Day we took Granny and Grandad for a walk in Cookham which was good but a bit cold so I was glad they had bought me new gloves. After lunch they went home and I played with all my new toys.
The next day we went to stay with Grandma and Grandad and I got more presents which was great. Uncle Stephen gave me a set of wooden food that you can cut up on a special board with a special knife and is really good fun. I was also given finger paints (which I think Mummy is really looking forward to!), more jigsaws, books, chocolate buttons, a pair of sunglasses and a raincoat. Grandma and Grandad also bought me my very own pink table and chair which I really love.
This afternoon we came home and I couldn't decide what to play with first. So I got out just about everything I had been given all at once and Mummy and Daddy decided they definitely needed a bigger house!
I really hope that next week will be just as exciting as this one has been.
Love from Lydia x
Last Thursday we went to see Grandma and Grandad but Mummy and Daddy didn't stay very long. They said goodbye to me while I ate my lunch and then I didn't see them till Saturday. I had a lovely time bossing Grandma and Grandad about and making them laugh, and even Uncle Stephen came to play for a bit. We were going to go swimming but I had a nasty cough so we didn't go. I was a bit confused when Mummy and Daddy came back on Saturday and we went to get them from the airport. I didn't know who I was going home with but I was pleased to see all my toys when we got home.
Oh and something else funny happened on Sunday. For some reason Mummy and Daddy have decided that it is a good idea to have a tree growing in the living room. It has lights on it and shiny things that dangle which are quite fun to play with. I don't understand why we now have a tree indoors but it does look pretty.
Love from Lydia x
Note from Mummy and Daddy: We went to Stuttgart to see the Christmas market and had a wonderful child-free time!
Lydia has made some good progress with sound in the past 2 weeks. There is a musical Christmas card that she reliably hears and responds to - stopping what she is doing, going quiet, looking for the card and smiling lots when she sees it. It is also possible that she is hearing a couple of other toys with similar high pitched tunes. Lydia is also sometimes turning to us when we call her.
This is a great improvement and is encouraging for us to keep working on her awareness of sound. It is great to have some good positive news to say about her progress.
Last weekend Mummy and Daddy took me to Ipswich to see some friends of Daddy's from university. They've worked harder than Mummy and Daddy and have three children! It was great fun playing with them and they had loads of exciting toys I could help myself to. I wasn't sure about all four of us being in the bath together but everything else was fun. I ate curry for the first time and liked it. We went for a walk in the woods and I wore wellies that were too big for me so that I could jump in puddles.
Love from Lydia x
P.S. On Tuesday Lydia had another tuning session in Oxford. It is no longer a simple question of increasing the volume as she has a startle response when it is first turned on if any louder and responds to some sounds in the hearing test. She is not learning to make use of the sound as quickly as the audiologists would expect. It seems as if the sound is going in but we have to wait for (and encourage with a variety of noisy games) Lydia to make use of it. There are some small encouragements this week but it is frustrating as there is little anyone can do apart from Lydia.
At last we are starting to see some encouraging signs of Lydia hearing something - hurray!
At last week's tuning session, Lydia cried on three occasions when the processor was switched off and on again. When we changed to the louder program last Sunday she consistently cried or looked upset when the processor was first switched on following time without it due to nighttime or afternoon sleep. This was our first clear indication that she was noticing something. However, after a few minutes she went back to being completely oblivious to even the loudest sounds such as the smoke alarm.
At yesterday's tuning session, they made some more adjustments and then carried out the hearing test again that showed no response last week. This time Lydia responded to some sounds for the first time in a hearing test. The responses mainly consisted of blinking and making faces when there were noises.
Due to her progress we have a week off where Lydia doesn't need to go to Oxford. Our task is now to focus on teaching Lydia to pay attention to sound - it could be quite a challenge.
We're realising what a long and slow process this is going to be and are trying to focus on the positive even when the progress being made is in such small steps.
Thank you again to those of you who continue praying for us. We really appreciate it and know it makes a difference.
Lydia's been learning and practising several signs recently. In addition to 'milk' and 'bird' which she has been doing for a while, she can now sign 'toothbrushing', 'book', 'raisin', 'sleep', 'upstairs', 'pig' (sometimes!) and 'duck'. The most exciting sign she's been doing for the last five days is 'mummy'. There's an indication that she might be trying to have a go at signing 'daddy' but we're not quite sure yet! It could just be 'raisin' upside down!
P.S. Lydia has got her third tuning appointment tomorrow. There was no noticeable reaction at the session last week but she was turned up a bit more.
Lydia's implant is now active and working at a low volume. There was no reaction during the tuning session but she sat beautifully throughout and didn't notice that it was lunchtime. It is expected to take a few weeks before we notice her make a response to sound although she should now be getting the signals through to her brain. It is great to have reached this stage at last.
On another note: In April Lydia is going to have a little brother or sister. Elizabeth had her 12 week scan last week and everything was looking good with the baby.
Yesterday Mummy and Daddy took me to a very big park in London (Kew Gardens). It was really good fun. There was a place for children to play and then we walked a lot and looked at plants and trees. I like anything with leaves. There were also geese to chase.
There were some funny things there too - a room full of apples, a giant man made of pumpkins, a room full of squashes and five million cranberries in the pond. (Note from Mummy, it was their autumn festival so they had special events on.)
I had such a good time that I forgot to sleep.
Love from Lydia x
Following her appearance on the BBC, Lydia has decided to pursue her media and also political career by getting into the local paper alongside our local MP Theresa May. The photo is in the 12-18 month folder.
Lydia went to the official opening of the nursery where her friends Jessica and Eve attend and this is where she was photographed (Jessica and Jessica's mum are also in the photo - Elizabeth is hidden behind Theresa May!)
Today Lydia was given some of the equipment that forms part of the cochlear implant kit. It is only a fake one and so doesn't do anything but is designed to get her used to wearing it which is definitely going to be the real challenge to start with. Unfortunately it only seems to stay attached to her head when she is distracted by eating and she can't do that all day long.
On the 19th October she will have working kit which will be gradually turned up in volume over a number of weeks.
Lydia continues to do really well following her operation. The wound appears to be healing nicely and most of the time it doesn't seem to bother her. Lydia returned to her old self a couple of days after the operation and has been climbing the furniture as normal. It has been quite a challenge trying to keep her from banging her head as she is generally fairly hyperactive and likes to hurl herself around. We are looking forward to getting out a bit more next week when she doesn't have to be kept away from infection quite as much.
On the 11th October Lydia will get a pretend external kit which is the same as the real thing but doesn't actually do anything. This is to get her used to wearing it before they try to tune the actual kit a week later. There will be a microphone behind her ear that looks a little like a large hearing aid, a transmitter stuck to her head with a magnet and a body worn speech processor held on by a harness.
We've just returned home with Lydia having had her cochlear implant operation. Thank you to everyone who has had us in their prayers and thoughts and for the encouraging messages and cards we have received.
The operation was a success and the surgeon was pleased with how it went. The wound is not very noticeable and Lydia is fast returning to her normal cheery self. Her facial nerve is undamaged and her balance does not seem to have suffered.
We arrived at the hospital yesterday at about 7.30am and as she was the first in theatre, they gave her a gown and asked us to get her ready by about 8.30. Shortly after they took us down to the operating theatre where we left her under anaesthetic. Sooner than expected (about 11.15) we were told that it had gone well and she was just being finished off.
When we collected her from recovery she was awake but not very with it, sporting a very attractive headband (to keep the dressings on the ear). She spent quite a while drifting from sleep to awake making horrible moaning noises but eventually she roused enough to communicate that she was starving. Unfortunately the bottle of milk she wolfed down came straight back up again as did the following painkillers. Later on she had a good sleep and when she woke, she ate a fish cake and chips and seemed a lot more like herself.
The night seemed a long one (for Elizabeth at least) as she stayed with Lydia while David went home to get a proper night's sleep. The ward was noisy with other distressed children and Lydia kept pulling her headband off making her ear bleed on the sheets. She also had to wear a heart rate monitor on her toe which distressed her and she kept trying to remove. Every time she did, it made an alarm go off! Then just as soon as she did get to sleep it was time for more antibiotics or more painkillers and the nurses would wake her for Elizabeth to empty another syringe into Lydia's mouth. So not a very peaceful night.
Lydia was discharged this afternoon, despite being ready to go at about 8.30am as we had to wait for the drugs to come from the pharmacy. She has a whole carrier bag of things to take either three times daily, twice daily, every four hours or every six hours. Very confusing!
Now we have four weeks to wait until they switch her on, during which time she has to avoid touching the wound, bumping her head, being in a room with too many other children (avoiding infections) or getting her head wet.
We thank God for our beautiful, brave daughter and that she has come through the operation well. We continue to pray that she will make a full recovery and be ready to respond when she is eventually switched on.
P.S. Lydia makes her TV debut with her mother on Saturday 23rd September on BBC2 (See Hear at 12:00-12:45pm).
I've just had a lovely week away in Devon with Mummy, Daddy and their friend Jane. We stayed in a cottage on a farm and I made friends with the dogs and cats who lived there. I liked to stroke them (I would have liked to poke them in the face but Daddy kept stopping me) and I would follow them round the field. There was loads to do on site. I went swimming a couple of times in the indoor pool and I did lots of trampolining in the big garden. There was a little wendy house which had a kitchen and a table and chairs with even a little washing machine for me to use. The best thing about it was opening the door and going in, then coming out again and closing the door behind me. I could play that for ages. The next best thing was the plastic fish slice.
I liked going on the slide, and kicking a ball around. I watched Mummy and Daddy play table tennis but even though they gave me a ball and bat of my own, they didn't let me play. After I went to bed one night Mummy and Daddy played tennis and apparently Mummy won!
When they managed to drag me away from everything on site, we went to Paignton Zoo one day and also to Torquay to their Living Coasts exhibition (where I was able to get close to a penguin). We went to the beach and for a walk on Dartmoor. We also went to visit Riverford farm which is where all our vegetables come from and we ate really delicious food there and I was even allowed to pick tomatoes from the plants and eat them.
It was a great week but I am happy to be home and find all my toys again.
This weekend we went to stay with Grandma and Grandad and we had lots of fun. On Saturday we went to Godstone Farm and although I was a bit scared of some of the animals, I did get in the cages with the rabbits and also in the pen with some sheep. I especially liked the little bikes you could ride on.
On Sunday we saw more animals as we went to Knole Park and I chased the deer. I was very tired on Sunday night as I had walked a lot.
On Monday we went to Haysden Country Park which is in Tonbridge and we picked blackberries. I love blackberries and could have eaten them all morning. I wasn't very good at picking them as they kept ending up squashed when I did it! I think they are now my favourite fruit.
Love from Lydia x
P.S. From Mummy and Daddy: This week is going to be a busy week as we have to go to Oxford twice for appointments in preparation for Lydia's appointment which is scheduled for September 21st.
Today we went to a BBQ with all my friends from Mummy and Daddy's NCT class. We had lots of fun in the garden playing with all the toys, bikes and other things to ride on. Later we went in the paddling pool and in the sandpit. I ate chocolate cake and managed to get it all round my face and then I wiped it with my hands and rubbed them on my tummy. I think Mummy was pleased that I didn't have any clothes on!
Yesterday I went out with Mummy and Granny and Grandad to Bekonscot Model Village. It was very exciting to see all the houses and animals that were all just the right height for me. I loved walking around on my own and sometimes holding the railings and peering over. There were lots of trains going around the tracks and it was fun to watch them disappear under the bridges. I don't know who liked the trains more - Granny or me! When we'd seen it all we had a picnic and I played for a few minutes in the playground with Granny and Grandad. It was a really good morning out.
I had a lovely trip on Saturday with Mummy, Daddy and Uncle Andrew to Odds Farm Park. I saw lots of animals and Mummy and Daddy kept trying to get me to touch them but I wasn't too keen. I preferred to stand back and watch. Uncle Andrew gave me some food to give to the sheep but they nibbled my fingers and I cried. Daddy held me up to see a big cow and it licked my arm so I cried again. I liked watching the sheep race and the swings. It was very tiring as I walked a very long way. I slept all the way home.
What a weekend! I have been such a busy girl. Yesterday I went to my fourth wedding which was very exciting. There were so many people there, many of whom were dressed in funny clothes (Note from Mummy: it was a Nigerian/Malasian wedding) and they did lots of funny dancing. Even Mummy and Daddy did some dancing.
Then today we had a party. It was for me, Jessica, Eve and Nell because we're one year old now. We went to Jessica's house and had lots of nice food and cake. We played in the paddling pool and mostly we didn't wear any clothes (Another note from Mummy: only the babies!). I was a bit cross that the others wanted to play with my cow and my car but I did have a go on Jessica's bike as well. I liked having all my grandparents to see me, and I liked playing with their shoes. I think I'm going to be in to dressing up. It's great fun putting on big shoes and shuffling around.
Now I'm exhausted. That's what happens when you get older, you know. Parties tire you out.
Now I am one. It's been an exciting day and I've had lots of lovely presents and cards to open. I had some clothes, a big box of bricks, a caterpillar to pull along, a turtle to push (which seems to go on its own but I haven't quite worked out how to do that yet), a couple of books, a puzzle, and a book voucher to choose my own book. I've also been given a swing, a car, a sandpit and a seesaw to play with in the garden. The best thing is a plastic bucket which I have taken everywhere with me today. It's quite useful for putting things in and I noticed that other ladies carry bags so I thought now that I'm grown up I should carry one too.
Mummy and Daddy made me a special cake and I was allowed to have a slice. We went to a barbeque in the evening and they had bought me a caterpillar cake as well of which I enjoyed a slice. It's worth having a birthday if you get presents and cake!
I also had a bath with two of my friends this evening as we were at their house. It was very exciting as they are bigger than me and they had lots of toys in the bath.
Such an exciting day - I think I will sleep well tonight.
I've just spent several days by the seaside in Brighton at a church leaders' conference. Mummy and Daddy took me to meetings with 5,000 other people which is more admirers than I've had before and they often seemed quite excited. I enjoyed eating Portuguese and Chinese meals as well as fish and chips on the beach which also provided me with some stones for my new stone collection.
Today I had my first trip to London. I was very excited to go on the train - so excited that I couldn't sit still and kept climbing onto the table so that I could see the view better. I felt a bit small standing on the underground train but quite a few people smiled at me so I felt better.
We went to a museum where there were lots of sparkly stones and a bit with a floor that moved (Note from Mummy: the Earth Galleries at the Natural History Museum including a simulation of an earthquake). I liked exploring the displays that were my height.
Then I had lunch in the park and, since Mummy and Daddy seemed to have forgotten about putting me in my cot after lunch for a sleep, I fell asleep in my pushchair. (Note from Mummy: Lydia then woke up just as we had started eating in a Chinese restaurant!)
I was looking forward to the next bit as Mummy and Daddy had promised that I would go and see the Queen. Well, I saw her house but although there were lots of people outside the gates of her house, she didn't seem to be among them. So I was a little disappointed. To make up for it we went to play in the park.
Later on I helped Mummy buy a pair of trousers and Daddy a pair of shoes. I then had tea on the train on the way home and was exhausted by the time we got back.
We were very excited on Wednesday evening when Lydia took her first independent steps. They were quite wobbly but it was definitely walking!
I've just come back from a lovely holiday in Norway. I saw lots of interesting things such as mountains and fjords, glaciers and tunnels. I also experienced snow which was quite strange - I even sat on a glacier (briefly, until I cried because my bottom was cold).
As I got a fourth tooth while I was there I decided that the baby food Mummy had bought especially for our trip was beneath me. Instead I opted for cornflakes for breakfast, sandwiches and fruit for lunch and Mummy and Daddy's food for dinner. I'm acquiring a taste for the finer things in life such as catfish, monkfish, salmon and smoked salmon. I've even eaten reindeer but Daddy told me that Santa won't come this year now that I've eaten Rudolph. I didn't really understand.
I discovered how much fun you can have at 5.30am when it's already light and you can see Mummy and Daddy's feet from the cot if you stand up and blow raspberries at them. Sometimes they were very frustrating and tried to ignore me but I always won in the end.
Today I've been helping them with the washing, removing it from the drying racks as fast as they put it on them. I've had a wonderful time being reunited with all my toys which I thought I'd lost forever.
I'm off for another 13 hour sleep tonight to make up for my early mornings in Norway so goodnight.
P.S. Mummy and Daddy say that I was a really good girl and they enjoyed their holiday too.
We had a surprise yesterday afternoon when we were told that Lydia could have her grommet operation today. There had been a cancellation at the last minute and they didn't want to waste operating theatre space. Setting out at 6.15am we trekked up to Oxford to be in the ward by 7.30am. Lydia was on starvation diet again but was a star. She hardly complained about her 18 hour lack of food and only a sip of water, redeeming the time by having a climb around her cot and then a good sleep. She recovered well from the quick operation and by the afternoon you would have never have guessed that she had had a general anaesthetic and an operation in the morning. It's great timing as we never thought they would fit it in before we went away on holiday. Now we have the big cochlear implant operation to look forward to, hopefully by the autumn.
Three days before Lydia's 10 month birthday she amazed us by showing off her skills with a baby walker. Previously when she has pulled herself up on it she has fallen over as soon as it started to move. This time she followed it across the carpet and then spent a long time walking up and down, up and down. After crossing the living room she would crash and then stand and wait for us to turn it round before setting off again until she crashed on the opposite wall! (See video).
Yesterday we noticed that Lydia kept moving her tongue to the top of her mouth in a way she hadn't done before. We wondered if maybe she had burnt her mouth on something she ate but this morning, on closer inspection (hanging her upside down!) we saw that she had been secretly growing two top teeth. So she now has one tooth on the bottom and two on the top.
Today Lydia decided that she would like to hold our hands and take some steps. Up till now she has refused to hold our hands, preferring to try and walk round the furniture herself, and would collapse on the floor if we tried, but she has now walked around the room, putting her legs forward to take the next steps.
Although I haven't been very well over Easter, I've enjoyed having Daddy home for four days. I wasn't very impressed by chocolate and most of it ended up on my chin. I really wasn't sure why Mummy seemed quite so excited by the brown stuff.
Today we've been to a very big house (Basildon House) to see some of the costumes from Pride and Prejudice. The best bit was my first go at crawling on grass. It feels a bit tickly and, just like the carpet at home, had bits on it. I tried to clear up the grass by picking all the bits (daisies) which Mummy and Daddy found very funny.
I've just amazed Mummy and Daddy. They thought they would help me climb a couple of stairs but I showed them that I didn't need any help and climbed the next 10 steps all on my own!
What shall I do next ...?
I've been quite clever this week - or so Mummy and Daddy keep telling me - as I've worked out that I don't need to get down and crawl to get between things. As long as I'm holding on to something I can take a few steps. So if I stand up at one end of the sofa or the cot, I can walk along to the other end. I'm quite wobbly still and if I let go I fall over, but I'm improving. The annoying thing is, I keep spotting things I can reach, but by the time I get to them they are moved. Mummy and Daddy keep spoiling my fun.
Got to go, I'm off to baby signing this morning.
Love from Lydia x
We have just got back from Oxford where we have been to get the results of last week's scan. We were very pleased to hear that everything in her head is as it should be and there should be no problem in doing the cochlear implant operation. The scan pictures were pretty amazing showing clear details of a tiny part of a tiny head.
The scan seemed to show indication of glue ear although this might be due to the nasty cold Lydia had the day after the scan. If she has glue ear, she may need grommits for 3 months before the cochlear implant surgery can proceed.
We are expecting that she will be able to have surgery in August, September or October depending on whether the glue ear is still a problem when she is next tested (another thing to pray about please).
Lydia survived a long day in Oxford and was a superstar making very little fuss about a lack of food before her general anaesthetic. She has had a CT scan and MRI scan and we are due to go back to Oxford next Wednesday to get the results. The staff were very kind and friendly and Lydia had her own little room as well as making use of the toys from the playroom.
Thank you to all those of you who are praying for us and for the kind messages from lots of you. Please continue for at least another week!
My bottom left incisor (apparently!) has just arrived. I don't know why everyone is making such a fuss about it but this seems to be a big deal and they keep trying to poke their fingers in my mouth or stare at me but I'm not playing. My friend Nell cut her first tooth today too.
Having mastered the skills of crawling and negotiating round things (or over the top of them if going round seems too much effort) I have now discovered how to see things that are higher up. For the last week or so I have been working on pulling myself up onto my knees and this morning I pulled myself up using the cot bars into standing position. I felt very pleased with myself as I could then see out of the window properly. I have been practising my new skills all day - I've hardly slept at all today, it's been so exciting! The only problem is that I'm not always sure how to get back down again. Mummy says she's exhausted but I don't know what she's complaining about. I'm the one doing all the work round here.
Love from Lydia x
Today we heard from the hospital in Oxford that Lydia will have her scan on March 15th. We will need to get there at 10am and go to a paediatric ward where we will meet the radiographer and Lydia will be checked by a paediatrician. We will also have a chat with the woman in charge of cochlear implants there. Then in the afternoon Lydia will have her scan under general anaesthetic. We won't know the results straight away but will have to go back to Oxford the following week to hear the results. We are really pleased to finally have a date even if it is not as soon as we had hoped.
If you are a praying person, please pray for these three things:
1. That the day won't be too stressful, especially considering that Lydia probably won't be allowed to eat, maybe not even drink.
2. That the scan will show all the bits required to enable Lydia to have the cochlear implant surgery.
3. That March 15th will come round really quickly!
Little note from Lydia: I am continuing to practise my crawling - sometimes backwards and sometimes forwards - but I find I can only do it when I'm a bit cross. If I'm happy I prefer to roll around, wriggle on my tummy and lunge towards things. I've been getting around a lot though and I'm discovering lots of exciting things like wires, table legs and doors. I'm also developing quite an interest in shoes. My own pink trainers are good to eat, Mummy's slippers are good for wiping my nose on, Daddy's socks are great to dribble on and the speech therapist's boots were lovely to stroke.
I'm also beginning to be given some more interesting food. Mummy makes a great pork and leek casserole and I also really enjoy plaice with peas and mashed potato. I refuse to eat mandarin segments and I'm not convinced by sausages and mash. I also tried my first chip! Oh dear, I must be getting like my Daddy - always thinking about my tummy!
Love from Lydia x
The good first! Lydia unsteadily crawled today - her seven month birthday - for the first time. She only made it about four steps before collapsing in a heap but she had several more goes later on in the day.
The bad news: We heard today that Lydia's deafness is in fact genetic. It means David and I are both carriers of a defective gene known as Connexin 26. We were very much hoping that this wasn't the case as it means that Lydia could have deaf children and in any future pregnancies, I have a one in four chance of having a deaf baby. We also still haven't heard from the hospital in Oxford about a date for Lydia's scan. It looks less and less likely that this will happen in February after all.
I'm spending more time these days on my front, partly to let the hair on my bald spot grow back and partly because it is much more interesting than staring at the ceiling. I can get onto my hands and knees but the frustrating thing is, as soon as I move one of my limbs, I fall flat on my face. At this rate I shall need a nose job before I'm a year old. I'm sure that getting on my hands and knees and rocking backwards and forwards is a good idea but I'm not quite sure what the point of it is yet.
I'm continuing to enjoy my food. I've tried carrots, swede, parsnip, potato, leeks, spinach, butternut squash, sweet potato, bananas, apples, pears, mangoes, cauliflower cheese, rice cakes and bread. I love to spread it round my face but the annoying thing is that no sooner have I put it there (as a snack for later) than Mummy wipes it off. I tell her that I'm cross but she still cleans my face every time.
After two weeks of trying to encourage Lydia to try some solid food, she decided today that she would start swallowing. For the past fortnight every mouthful that went in all came out again as she didn't seem to understand that wasn't the idea! The parsnip obviously tasted good today as she opened her mouth repeatedly for more and we saw very little of it again. She was certainly hungry as when we ate our dinner this evening she happily shared some of our mashed potato. It's definitely a messy process though - see new photos in month 4-6.
It seems amazing that she will be six months old tomorrow. We just can't believe how quickly time has gone and how much she has grown into quite a little girl, beginning to show her personality and delightful (if somewhat stubborn!) character.
2006 has begun with Lydia determined to get moving. She is now rolling onto her front and back again and likes to do several rolls in a row to get herself across the floor. She can also sit up unaided and likes to play with her toys in the sitting position. It's always a surprise when we go to bed to peer in at Lydia in her cot as she doesn't like to stay in the position we put her in! More often than not she has turned onto her front and is pressed up against the cot bars with one arm hanging through them!
On Tuesday she had her eyes tested. She hated the eye drops and screamed all through the tests. They pronounced her eyesight normal and her retinas healthy, which was good news. Often, children with hearing problems also have sight problems as the eyes and ears develop at the same time in the womb.
Lydia is now going to be referred, probably to Southampton, for a scan to see whether or not she would be able to have a cochlear implant. We believe the waiting lists to be long, so we are pleased that she will get onto the list soon.
Lydia has really enjoyed her first Christmas. She was very excited by the shiny paper and all the presents and she loved having so much attention from doting grandparents, aunt, uncles and even great-grandparents. She received so many presents that there are still seven under our tree - that way Christmas can last for another week!
On Monday Lydia had some hearing tests at the hospital to try and ascertain whether the hearing aids were being effective. They were tests designed to be conducted at six months but they wanted to try them on her at this stage. They involved playing loud sounds into her ears to see her reactions. She thoroughly enjoyed herself as if she turned in response to the sound she was rewarded with a light flashing. She was great at spotting the light in the corner of her eye and turning but not so great at hearing the sounds. There were no definite responses to any of the sounds at any level which was pretty much what we expected.
They are going to repeat the tests in six weeks time and they are also going to look into the possibility of referring her for a scan to see whether she has all the necessary bits and pieces (eg. an auditory nerve) for a cochlear implant. The waiting list for scans is very long so we would like to get started now as we would like to know if cochlear implants are a possibility for Lydia or not.
In church this morning the pastor asked if anyone had wanted as a child to be Mary or Joseph but never had the chance. We thought we'd give Lydia the chance to be not only Mary, but Joseph, an angel, shepherds, wise men and the baby Jesus. The results of our entertaining afternoon can be seen by clicking on the new photo folder 'Lydia's Nativity'. We hope it will get you into the festive spirit!
Lydia is now getting ready for her first Christmas. Yesterday we bought a tree and she helped us put the decorations on it. She also has a reindeer outfit which she wore today to a Christmas get together of our NCT group. She was in good company, with two Santas also present! She's even had a Christmas card of her very own.
We have had the results of Lydia's recent ECG and urine test and thankfully everything is normal. This is really good news as it helps rule out syndromes of which deafness is just a part. We are still waiting for the blood test results.
As far as we can tell the hearing aids are not sufficient to give Lydia any hearing. There has certainly been no reaction to loud sounds including balloons popping right behind her head. She is being tested in December at the hospital.
On a happier note, Lydia is most definitely on the move. Her rolling looks much less of an effort and she can turn all the way round on the floor if left long enough. It's really lovely because she moves towards the toys which she wants to play with and grabs hold of them. I think we'll be banished from coffee mornings soon as she kicks and punches the other babies as she attempts to roll over and if that's not enough, takes the toys the others are looking at! She's definitely a girl who knows what she wants!
I have decided that lying still in one place is boring. I have developed a new technique (which I am still perfecting) called the bum roll. It consists of lifting my legs and bottom into the air and throwing them sideways. On Friday evening I took it one stage further and did my first proper roll onto my front watched by both Mummy and Daddy who were eating their dinner.
Last week I worked out how to escape from my rocker using another technique called the banana push. I arch backwards onto my feet and push with my head so that I slide off forwards. The most annoying part of it is that just as my head is about to fall off the edge I get put back up and have to start all over again.
The 180 degree spin is a nighttime activity where Mummy and Daddy put me to bed one way around to discover a couple of hours later than I'm facing the complete opposite direction. This one is great for making them doubt their sanity and thinking they must have put me to bed the wrong way around to start with.
That's all for now but I'm planning on learning new locomotion techniques in the near future.
Love from, Lydia x
On Sunday Lydia was dedicated during a service at our church. Unfortunately the moment when we needed to go to the front of the church coincided with Lydia's feeding time and she wasn't very impressed at being disturbed. She then decided to have her two hour nap during the meal afterwards so that she slept all through her party! She still managed to look cute in a little red dress and shiny black shoes that didn't stay on!
We were delighted that so many of our family and friends were able to be with us on Lydia's special day.
We've just been to have Lydia's last set of injections (for the moment - there are more at about a year) and she didn't seem to mind very much. Last time they made her more sleepy than usual but we hope that doesn't happen this time. It was hard work trying to wake her this morning. I'm sure that's not the normal way round for a baby! I thought the baby was meant to wake the parents, not the other way round!
I got back last night from a week away in France with Mummy and Daddy. We stayed in an apartment near Morzine which is near Lake Geneva. We had a really good time and I slept a lot so that Mummy and Daddy could have a relaxing time. They took me to Switzerland and I was disappointed not to be asked for my passport on the border. I really liked being put in the carrier the other way round so I could see where I was going and the views as well, especially the different coloured trees.
I can't really comment on whether the French food was nice but Mummy and Daddy seemed to spend quite a lot of their time talking about what their next meal would be and also in the supermarket, so I think it must have been good. I found the restaurants a bit boring so mainly went to sleep in them. Yet again, just milk for me.
The journey was quite long but I tried to pass the time by sleeping and playing with my toys. I've gone off my car seat now for a while and I am expressing it by crying when I'm put in it - just to make my point!
Daddy and I left all the French talking to Mummy but I think I picked up a bit. So au revoir for now mes amis.
Love from Lydia x
Today we went swimming for the fourth time. Lydia showed off her skills by using her arms and her legs when on her front. She also went underwater for the first time and came up smiling!
For the past three weeks Lydia has been working on her hand-eye coordination, patiently grabbing her toys over and over again with an intense look of concentration on her face. It's very exciting to watch her growing and developing.
On Monday Lydia laughed for the first time at the silly faces her mummy was making. Shortly afterwards she fell asleep and slept for two hours so it must have really exhausted her!
She has survived her second set of injections with no ill effects.
Yesterday we met up with all our NCT class - mums, dads and babies - for a barbeque. We had a great time relaxing with each other and it was especially good for the dads who mostly hadn't seen each other since before the births. All were anxious to show off their newly acquired parenting skills and to try and make it look easy!
Lydia was a good girl and enjoyed seeing her friends again.
Hi! Sorry there's been no news in a week - it's certainly not because we haven't done anything. It's just that we have been so busy I haven't had a minute to type anything.
Last week we had a coffee morning on Monday (us little ones call it milk morning as we never get any coffee or biscuits), a trip out on Tuesday to see friends of Mummy's, I was given a massage on Wednesday (apparently Mummy is going to take me for a massage every week for 5 weeks which is a good job as I think she needs a bit more practice), taken to a session on minor ailments at the hospital on Thursday, and I had to watch Mummy do aerobics on Friday morning.
So as you can see it's been a pretty busy week. No wonder I'm needing 10 or 11 hours sleep at night.
Well, got to dash as I'm being dragged off to a 'milk morning' yet again.
Love from Lydia x
I've had a lovely holiday in the Peak District. I was a very good girl and tried to make it easy for Mummy and Daddy to enjoy themselves. I've seen lots of interesting things - visited my first stately homes at Chatsworth and Haddon Hall, been to my first castle at Castleton, been in two caves, gone for several long walks along Monsal Dale, Dovedale, up Mam Tor and around Castleton. I also went swimming in Buxton in a pool which was very cold and went to Tissington and Bakewell (Mummy and Daddy wouldn't let me try any Bakewell pudding though).
Mummy and Daddy were able to have several meals out - yet again, all I had was milk.
The only bad thing that happened was yesterday when I saw this black and yellow stripy thing on my hand and thought it looked pretty so I squeezed it. It seemed not to like it very much and stung me twice. I screamed quite a lot and my hand puffed up. It made Mummy and Daddy worried but I'm okay now.
Holidays are tiring. I've been sleeping from 8pm till 6 or 7am every night this week.
Love from Lydia x
Lydia has had her eight week check and come through with flying colours! The doctor said everything was just as it should be. Her heart rate was normal and she had good muscle tone - just like her parents!! She yelled at the nurse when she had her first jabs but wasn't upset for very long and is now sleeping it off. She was weighed as she hasn't been weighed for ages and she is a healthy 5.39kg, which is just under 12lbs. This is on about the 60th percentile for weight so she is doing very well. We really do have so much to thank God for.
Today Mummy took me swimming. It was very exciting - just like a big bath. There were so many new things to look at that I didn't cry at all, not even when we had to get out. I practised kicking my arms and legs and despite a few attempts to escape Mummy held onto me. I think she was more nervous than I was! I want to go again soon. Maybe she'll let me try front crawl next time...
Love from Lydia x
Yesterday Lydia was tested again and it was found that as far as they can tell she has no hearing at any testable frequency (ie. up to 90 decibels). This morning she had tests to check whether there was any blockage behind her ear drums. This has now been ruled out which leaves us with the unavoidable reality that this is a permanent and serious hearing loss. As yet we don't know the cause, indeed we may never know why although at some stage we will see a geneticist who may possibly be able to tell us if we have recessive genes which have caused Lydia's problem.
So what next? We are going back to King Edward's Hospital - we're feeling already that we're going to get to know it very well! - for moulds to be made of Lydia's ears so that she can have hearing aids fitted. They're probably going to be in baby pink to match all her clothes! They don't know whether the hearing aids will work as that depends on whether she has hearing at very high decibel levels (they amplify to about 120 decibels which is about the level of aircraft taking off). We will trial the hearing aids to see if they are effective. If by the time she is nearing her first birthday and there has been no noticable effect then we begin to go down the route of cochlea implants - a three to five hour surgical procedure.
There is certainly a lot to think about and a lot to learn. Things seem to be moving quickly and we will have all sorts of appointments to go to in the next few weeks. Lydia is as beautiful as ever and looking forward to her first holiday.
Unfortunately there is no good news today. Further tests showed that Lydia is unlikely to have any hearing at all. As yet we don't know if this means she would be able to have hearing aids or cochlear implants. More tests tomorrow will show whether she is able to hear any sound at different frequencies (pitches) and on Friday she is seeing an ear, nose and throat specialist to rule out the possibility of blockages behind the ear drum.
As you can imagine, we are devastated by the news. Please keep praying. We believe that God can do miracles - pray that He would do one for Lydia.
This morning Mummy and Daddy tried to take pictures of me for my passport. I didn't really feel like cooperating and thought it was amusing to make as many different facial expressions as possible. I don't think they got one they liked.
After that we went out for a very long walk. I was exhausted at the end having been carried for six miles. Mummy and Daddy complained that their legs hurt but I don't know what they were moaning about. I slept through the interesting bits though - the view from Winter's Hill, the Thames with all the boats and all the big houses in Cookham Dean.
Love from Lydia x
P.S. A message from Mummy and Daddy - please pray for us as we go to King Edward's Hospital on Wednesday for the hearing investigations.
At the weekend we managed to decorate Lydia's bedroom. We are really pleased with how it looks but we are not sure what Lydia thinks of it! While we painted, she entertained herself in her new baby gym. When we turned on the flashing lights she got very excited with fast breathing, wide open eyes and flailing limbs! It was clearly a good purchase.
I had a lovely day out today. Mummy's friend Jo came over with my friend Sophia (who's a bit older than me - nearly 8 months old) and we went to Marlow. We had lunch out and then had a walk by the river along a very bumpy path. Mummy and Jo then had an ice cream in the park but Sophia and I weren't allowed any. I didn't mind too much but Sophia wanted to eat the leaves instead. I'm looking forward to being able to crawl and eat leaves. They look yummy.
Love from Lydia x
This weekend we went to Lydia's Granny and Grandad in Tunbridge Wells to celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary. We had a busy time with a quick trip to the park to feed the ducks on Saturday afternoon before it rained, church on Sunday morning and then a lovely meal out for Sunday lunch with family and friends. Lydia was admired by all and was a very good girl.
At the weekend we spent our first night away from home with Lydia. Packing for the weekend at her Grandma and Grandad's felt like getting ready for a fortnight abroad! As it turned out we hadn't taken quite enough changes of clothes as Lydia chose to decorate all the clothes we were wearing, the sofa and the carpet with second hand milk! Apart from that incident all went smoothly and we are looking forward to this coming weekend at Lydia's other grandparents.
Today we had a phone call from the hospital offering us an earlier appointment in 3½ weeks time which is two weeks earlier than expected.
That's great news, please keep praying as we would still like an earlier appointment and for her hearing to have improved by then so that we have some positive news.
Yesterday Lydia had another kind of hearing test to see whether her brain responds to sound. Unfortunately there was no response at all in one ear and too small a response in the other to indicate hearing. We now have to wait six weeks for an appointment at King Edward's Hospital in Windsor where they will conduct further tests to ascertain the type and level of hearing loss. Hopefully at this point they will be able to indicate what, if anything, they are able to do to help her to hear. We are shocked and upset by the news but are trying to get on with enjoying her as she is and remembering that God has a good plan for her life. Hearing or no hearing, she will always be our beautiful little daughter and we love her no matter what.
Please pray that there might be a cancellation at the hospital so that we can have an earlier appointment. Please also pray for her healing and for strength for us to stay positive.
Today I met granny and grandad again and went for a walk in the pouring rain but I managed to stay dry in my pram.
The best part of today was delighting my mummy by looking into her eyes and giving her two great big smiles!
Today my mummy and daddy went out for dinner to a restaurant in Cookham. I was a very good girl and slept for the evening (all three courses!) so that they could enjoy their meal in peace. I hope they don't expect me to sleep all night as well...
Love from Lydia x
Lydia has just failed her second hearing test with both ears showing no responses. Further investigations will be carried out in a couple of weeks time. but please pray along with us for complete healing of her hearing.
Lydia today attended the wedding of Kerry, her 1st cousin once removed. She looked gorgeous in her first real clothes and slept through nearly all of the wedding and reception. She was duly admired my many relatives but is now very tired and grumpy.
Today Lydia had her PKU test and violently objected to being stabbed in the ankle and having blood taken out of it. She showed her disgust by filling her nappy in a hurry.
She was also weighed for the first time since leaving hospital. She weighed 7lbs 12oz which seems as if she has dropped a lot but in hospital she was weighed with her clothes on and today she was desperate for a feed. Now that she is eating properly and regularly we expect her to gain weight as usual although she still doesn't understand breast feeding and can be hard to wake up for feed when fast asleep.
Mum and Dad are celebrating their 3rd wedding anniversary today although not exactly in style!
I had my first shopping trip to Reading this morning, visiting both Tesco and Mothercare. Mummy and Daddy spent lots of money on nappies and other baby things whilst I spent all the time sleeping and looking cute.
Later on today I tried out the Baby Bjorn carrier and slept some more whilst Daddy washed up.
Love from Lydia
Lydia celebrated her 1st week birthday with a trip in her pram to the new Sainsbury's local. She cried all the way back which was an improvement over her first trip out to the chemist where she cried all the way there and back!
First threw up - Sat 9th July (Birthday)
First discovered how meconium can coat an entire nappy, front and back - Sun 10th July (Day 1)
First outing into the garden - Tues 12th July (Day 3)
First sucked her thumb - Tues 12th July (Day 3)
First turned onto her side - Tues 12th July (Day 3)
First hiccups - Wed 13th July (Day 4)
First body part to fall off (cord stump) - Weds 13th July (Day 4)
First wet her bed and her parents bed - Thurs 14th July (Day 5)
First bath - Thurs 14th July (Day 5)
First projectile poo whilst nappy off - Thurs 14th July (Day 5)
So far Lydia has been sleeping really well. She has enjoyed meeting her grandparents over the last couple of days and looking forward to meeting her uncles and aunt.
We are learning to eat with one hand and sleep in 2 hour chunks.
Lydia has very strong arms and legs and wriggles a lot - no wonder Elizabeth thought she was giving birth to an octopus!
She has had her first trip into the garden to inspect her Dad's courgettes.
At last we are parents - hurray!
Labour started at 7:30pm on Friday night. Elizabeth laboured through the night, most of the time in the pool at home.
Difficulties right at the end necessitated a hair-raising ride in the back of an ambulance to Wexham Park Hospital whilst David tagged along in the car. Lydia was born 30 minutes after arrival at hospital with a little help from the ventouse but mostly due to pushing by Elizabeth.
She is only minutes old in some of the birth day photos.
Nothing is happening yet ...
Baby is lined up ready to come out and is 4/5 engaged, so now we wait ...