When I was pregnant with Christian, I couldn't stop reading. I got my hands on every book that I possibly could regarding child care. Nursing, Attachment Parenting, Baby-Wearing, Sleep Habits, Sleep Scheduling, Baby Massage, Organic Baby-Food...you name it, I read it. Then, the monkey arrived. The books were put away, and I pretty much forgot everything that I read anyway (other than my sleeping advice from Dr. Marc Weissbluth)
Well, I'm back to reading (AND NO, WE'RE NOT PREGNANT). These days, I'm concentrating more on discipline, dealing with temper tantrums, and general toddlerisms. I picked up this great book a couple of months ago. Christian is a full-on toddler these days. Along with the adorable little aspects of his sweet little personality (like waving to everyone and saying "Hi" to complete strangers), he is also a temper-tantrum, kicking and screaming little monster at times. One of the main points of this book is that we should speak "toddlerease" with our toddlers, which is in essence, cavemen speak. For example, instead of me saying "Christian, would you please stop flinging plates across the kitchen for Mommy?", I should say "Christian, No Throw Plates".
Ok. I get it. It totally makes sense...if you have a "typically hearing" child.
This "caveman" speak totally goes against everything that I try to do with Christian regarding his spoken language and listening skills. I'm supposed to be the positive language model in his life. And now, especially in these crucial weeks after implantation, I want to enrich his little world with as much language as possible. I certainly don't think "No eat socks" is a good way to communicate with him.
So, how am I supposed to discipline him? How do you get across to a deaf kid that you're not happy with his actions? I've tried over-exaggerating my facial expressions, aggressively signing "Stop!" and "No!". And I'm not just concerned about telling him that I don't like it when he grabs things off of the grocery store shelves, I'm concerned about his safety. Will he ever get to a point with his CI when he'll be able to understand my yells to him telling him to look for cars crossing the street?
My good friend Jenny and I talked about this a couple of nights ago while we were having cocktails. She's always rethinking "the norm" when it comes to parenting a toddler. Jenny is a parapalegic, uses a wheelchair, and she happens to have one the spunkiest and sweetest little girls as a daughter I've ever met. Her little girl is almost 2, and it has been such a joy experiencing Mommyhood with her. I asked her how she has figured out her world with her little girl. Jenny put it very simply. She told me it's all just been trial and error.
I decided that I really need to take Jenny's approach and experiment. See what works for us. I'm still going to worry about the safety issues associated with a child with hearing loss. I'm definitely going to continue to work on trying to break through these temper tantrums and outbursts. Most importantly, I'm going to only do what is good for our family.