One thing I noticed early on was that we recognized our child's smaller accomplishments more than our friends who have hearing children.
The things we took delight in were things they took for granted. We never took it for granted when our child learned a new word. We never took it for granted when she walked up to the counter at McDonalds and ordered her own Happy Meal.
Things that are often taken for granted with hearing children were things that we had to work on very hard with our child to achieve.
While friends and relatives sometimes felt sorry for what our child could not do, we knew that it is something she just could not do YET. We knew that with time and effort she would do it. And when she did, we celebrated what would be an everyday occurrence to parents who have a hearing child.
When I stopped comparing her to other children, I began to enjoy the smaller, everyday accomplishments.
In many ways, we have been given a gift. We've learned not to take things for granted, and we have learned to take notice of even the little things that many parents overlook. We get to celebrate successes that they don't even notice.
I think I struggled with the "success" issue more when my daughter was very young. When you have a child who has to work harder to achieve the same things as other children their age, you appreciate the little things that much more.
I am so proud of who my daughter is today. I know for a fact that I have enjoyed and celebrated even the little successes along the way much more because I know the effort it took to get where she is today.
One time, our daughter forgot to bring her Valentine list home from pre-school. She proceeded to write down everyone's name in her pre-school classes without help! That little success let us know she was going to be a good reader. She ended up being an honor student and is now succeeding in a selective college. Little successes add up to big ones!
When you first discover that your child is deaf or hard of hearing, you also discover that you have much to learn, too. It is easy to look at all of the things that still need to be done and forget to celebrate the daily accomplishments that take place in the lives of your children and yourselves.
It is common to feel like you are never doing enough to help your child, and it is good to be reminded of how far you have come when you are going through a rough period.
Most parents who have been in a group of mothers, dads, and babies have found themselves taking note of which babies are already smiling, which ones are starting to walk, or which are starting to say their first words. Even when your children are very young, you tend to equate success with being "typical," or being the one who is ahead of other children when it comes to developmental milestones.
For a child who is deaf or hard of hearing,
Success is not measured in how quickly your child smiles, walks, talks, hears, signs. It's the end result that matters -- not how fast they get there.