Friday, May 14, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?

I live in a house with three men--one of the full grown variety and two men in training. Aside from the fact that I feel the need to buy Chlorox wipes at Costco by the case--as any mother of newly potty trained and not so newly potty trained boys will understand--my main complaint is that no one answers me. I used to joke that, after a decade of marriage, Michael does not listen to me anymore. After his three ear surgeries, Andrew does not hear me and David hears me, but cannot answer me. Maybe they all hear me, but no one answers me the first time I say something, or the second time, or the third time until my shrieking has risen to such a level that someone is sure to ask, "Why are you YELLING?"

Recently, we took David for repeat hearing tests because he had not tolerated the full battery of tests on our first two visits to the audiologist. One of these new tests seemed to indicate that David could have a high frequency hearing loss, a type of hearing loss the affects the ability to hear consonants. I made an appointment with the ENT.

Of course, my mind was already racing ahead. Could that be why David has such problems with articulation? What if he needs a hearing aide? Or a surgical procedure? Was there some sort of hearing intervention that would allow him to make giant strides in the progress of his speech? Why hadn't we discovered this sooner so we didn't lose so much time?

David did not really have any language until age four and since that time I have become a sort of word sleuth and personal interpreter for him. For a long time, David would say the word "a-naa-naa" which could mean, depending upon the context, banana, pajamas or the numbers seven or eleven. Or perhaps the complete thought, "I want to go to the 7-Eleven in my pajamas to buy a banana." Maybe not. Anyway, David almost always has the number of syllables in the word correct, but sometimes the word starts in David's language with very little resemblance to the same word in the English language. The words "hi" and "bye" used to be "aiyah" and "da." The word "tummy"started as "caha." Aside from the problems that this causes with people outside of our immediate family being able to understand what he is saying, it is also mildly embarrassing when David lifts his shirt toward the end of the church service and demands, "Kisses caha."

So, I tried to prepare David for his visit to the ENT. We talked about going to the ear doctor, but because he had never seen an ear doctor before, I wasn't sure if he understood what I was saying until I discovered David in the kitchen with the filter holder from my seldom used Mr. Coffee Steam Espresso/Cappuccino Maker firmly placed in his ear like a makeshift otoscope.

Well, the doctor said that David's ears are perfectly healthy with no evidence of any hearing loss. So, I guess I can put him back in the category of men in my life who can hear me, but still do not answer. I came home from the doctor's appointment and cried, both in relief and in disappointment. I need a mocha and I think I'll go to Starbucks. For some reason I can't find the filter holder for my cappuccino machine.

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