Like many families, the Hoffners celebrate a number of holiday traditions.
And like many Cochlear families, they might think about these (sound-infused) holiday traditions a little differently.
Holiday Hearing Traditions
“We always listen to holiday music, and Patrick enjoys the music and continues to sing the songs well after the holiday season is over,” Jen laughs.
Though Patrick enjoys music now, it has only been through a great deal of listening practice that he has been able to enjoy more complex music.
“We started with simple music first, simple children’s tunes with just one voice and one or two instruments, and then we added different kinds of music as he progressed.”
And now, like A LOT of young kids, Patrick loves the music from the movie Frozen. Jen says she has a very different perspective on that than other parents might. Many parents might think, “Ugh, my child has listened to this soundtrack 100 times.” Conversely, Jen thinks, “Oh my gosh! My child is listening to this 100 times!” When Patrick got his implants, Jen wasn’t sure he would ever really get to enjoy music, since their audiologist had prepared them and they knew enjoying music can sometimes be a challenge for those with hearing loss.
“One thing that I have always done around the holidays is to sing Christmas carols to Patrick as he falls asleep (he leaves one processor on as he falls asleep and Jen removes it after he has fallen asleep)[i]. It is sweet to hear him ask me to sing them. I have fond memories of rocking him to sleep when he was younger while singing Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”
Hoffner Family Traditions
“We have Thanksgiving dinner with the extended family. There are usually 15 of us all together, and Patrick has a great time socializing and playing with his cousins at his grandparents’ house. It is loud, it is chaotic, it is FUN! Patrick doesn’t miss a beat!”
“At Christmas, we do the road trip/ flying combo. We drive to see one extended family in Ohio, then fly from Ohio to NY to see the other family. We alternate which year we are with each family for Christmas morning.”
“That week of seeing both families is chaotic but fun. There is never a dull moment. All of the cousins spend lots of time with Patrick. We always pack our schedule with lots of fun activities, whether it’s taking the train into New York City to see Rockefeller Center and 5th Avenue, visiting museums or the zoo, swimming or going to the bounce house. Every year, we try to have a snowball fight and build a snowman with Patrick and his cousins.”
Special Advice from Jen to other Parents
“There are some areas that he has done better than we thought he would, so don’t be afraid to try things.”
Jen also recommends urging your child to share their challenges with you and be willing to be flexible and try different things to fit the needs of your child in different situations.
“Patrick was in a new school, with a new teacher and new kids, and he didn’t always feel comfortable advocating for himself with his FM system, so we switched over to the school’s Soundfield System, and it just worked better for everyone. It may not be the best fit for every student, school or classroom, but for Patrick, it was the right fit. So don’t be afraid to try different things.”
[i] Sound processors should not be left on your child overnight.