As part of getting to know who I am, it’s only polite that I introduce myself in a less formal space.
I’m Jessica Tiefenbach! I married the love of my life in 2011, and together we have 2 beautiful children earthside, with another expected to join us in May 2018. I love playing board games, camping, DIY projects, playing the flute, and art.
I started teaching preschool back in 2014, and have recently made a business shift after seeing that a lot of parents are struggling with their parenting journey. Every year, I have numerous parents ask how can I improve this, what can I do to stop this behaviour, etc. I’ve also had several children enter preschool with a language delay, and saw the frustrations of lack of communication that brought with it. I also saw the frustrations with my own daughter, who I’ll introduce further down. My hope for Stay’n’Play Parenting is to help parents become more confident in parenting, and help them improve the early years at home.
We welcomed our firstborn, Em, back in 2012. She is full of spunk, character, compassion, and everything in between! She loves learning, animals, art, and playing games.
In April 2014 we noticed that Em wasn’t meeting some of the language development milestones typical for her age group. We also a lot of communication frustration as she knew what she wanted but had no way to tell us. We discovered that she has a severe-profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. A fancy term for significant hearing loss that affects both her ears.
Our world was turned upside down, and right away we started looking for solutions to help her catch up. Having a child with a communication delay, is hard as a parent. It was often a guessing game for what she wanted, and if we guessed wrong she would often have a meltdown, banging the floor with her head for at least half an hour. It was exhausting for both of us.
We accidentally stumbled upon ASL when we contacted Saskatchewan Deaf and Hard of Hearing regarding hearing aids, and we haven’t looked back since! Since her diagnosis we have gone through weekly speech appointments, bi-weekly home visits with her Deaf Mentor, quarterly audiograms, 3 ASL classes, 2 pairs of hearing aids, and a whole lot of trials! She started life with a huge disadvantage and without ASL she would not be where she is today. Upon entering Kindergarten, she was significantly ahead for a Deaf child in Saskatchewan. She still has some catching up to do socially, but her improvement and eagerness to learn is astounding!
In 2015 we welcomed our second child, L. He is a big mama’s boy, and always looks for a cuddle. He’s also a huge flirt, and loves to make all the old ladies smile at the supermarket. He loves books, getting dirty, cars, and playing outside.
After our experience with Em, we started signing with L right away. Any opportunity we got, we used sign. E was right on board, and often helped to teach him signs. At around 7 months he made his first sign, and continues to sign now. There are times he’ll be trying to talk to Em, realize she doesn’t have her hearing aids in, and switch to sign. It’s amazing to see him flip between the two languages easily and confidently to address his needs.