ANSD baby Cochlear implant cyborgs deafness English hearing impaired robots Special Needs

The smell of a Cochlear Implant

My baby’s head smells like plastic. Slightly burnt plastic, at that. Not always, of course. When he wakes up in the morning, he still has that milky, almost cheesy (olor a quesito, in Spanish) nursing baby smell. After he takes a bath, he smells great, like whatever bathing soap we are using at the time. When he is in Spain he smells like cologne, usually my Dad’s. But when he doesn’t smell like anything else, his head around the Cochlear Implant smells like plastic. At the beginning I thought that it would go away, that the smell was caused by the surgery. But it has been almost five months since he was implanted, and the smell is still there. And I don’t think it’s going anywhere. I have gotten used to it, but it was certainly an unexpected effect. Not very relevant, I know, but moms are like that, we have the ability to focus on the anecdotal, the mundane, what to others seems silly or even unbelievable. But for me it’s a daily remainder that my baby now is a little bit of a robot. And I don’t want to hear anyone tell me, with a horrified tone, how I can say that. It’s just a fact, he now has a robotic ear, which technically makes him a cyborg. It is part of who he is, and at the same time doesn’t change a bit of who my absolutely cute always happy and lovely clementine eater (he has downed four as I write this) is.
There is a children’s Spanish song which lyrics say:
El niño robot

le dijo a su abuela
que le diera cuerda para ir a la escuela
la abuela le dijo que estuviera quieto
la abuela le hacía cosquillas al nieto.
It is longer than that, and it talks about a robot grandma getting her robot grandson ready for school. The kid in the song needs oil for his wired hair. My “robot” baby needs battery changes, and also has some wires, even an antenna. Since they don’t bother him, they don’t bother me either.

Before the surgery, I was very scared thinking that maybe the implant would change who he is. Luckily, the change in the smell of his scalp is the only one I can report. Other than that, he is the same baby with whom I walked into an OR five months ago. My same baby.

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