Thursday, March 29, 2012

Moms Always Know

It started when she was 18 months old.  She just had her 18-month-well-visit and was lagging behind a bit in her speech development.


Then she got an ear infection.  And then another. And then another

By twenty-one months she hadn’t gained any new words since that 18-month-well-visit.  Not one.

“Husband,” I said, “I think there’s something wrong with her hearing.”

“No there’s not, watch,” he said. “Toddler!  Come here!”

And Toddler toddled towards him.

“See? No problem.”


Three more months and three more ear infections, and Toddler and I find ourselves at the audiologist and ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor.)  The audiology test shows she is at the line between normal hearing and hearing loss.  The ENT notices she has had a series of reoccurring ear infections.  I notice that her speech is delayed enough that she now qualifies for speech-therapy, and explain it’s because she’s not hearing properly.  But, the test says she’s technically normal.

“Let’s wait on it,” recommends the ENT.  “Lots of times the ear infections die down during the spring and summer months.  Then, if she doesn’t get more of them in the fall, we may be in the clear.”


Fall comes, and following that, winter.  Toddler continues with speech-therapy, and while she progresses, she still struggles with beginning and ending sounds of words.  I have her in to the doctor’s office at least six times, suspecting ear infections.  Two were ear infections.  The others?  “Wow, there’s a lot of fluid behind her ears!” the doctor would exclaim. “But it’s not infected.”


Speech-therapy continues. About a month ago, the therapist asks, “Have you had her hearing tested?”

“Yeah, like a year ago.” I replied.

“Maybe you should have her retested,” she replies.  I set up an appointment.

Finally, I bring her back the pediatrician a couple weeks ago with yet another suspected ear infection.  And this time we see a different pediatrician.  “Woah!” she says. “There’s A LOT of fluid behind her ear.”  The pediatrician flips through her chart, noting she’s in speech therapy.  “There’s no way she is hearing properly,” the pediatrician said.  “She needs her hearing tested.” 

Good thing I have that appointment set up.

A week ago I take her back to the audiologist.  Again, she tests on the border line of normal hearing and hearing loss.  But the tests for a toddler are limited.  She responded to her name, and to white noise, but there’s no way to test what speech sounds she’s hearing and what she’s not.  You might test an older child or an adult by asking them to repeat what you say.  “Chair” you say, and then maybe they say “hair” or “where” if they’re not hearing the “ch” sound properly.  But you can’t perform such a test on a two-year-old.

I talk to the ENT.  “Woah!” he says.  “There’s A LOT of fluid back there!”

So I’ve heard.

So we start to talk about ear tubes.  We agree that, infection or no infection, she needs tubes in her ears to drain all that fluid.  It will probably help with her hearing, and hopefully her speech.

And then, almost as an afterthought, he adds, “What about her adenoids? I noticed she’s very congested.”

“Yes,” I reply, “She always has a stuffy nose, always has a bunch of dried-up boogers up there.”

“Does she snore?”

“Yup!  That’s how we know she’s really asleep, and not just up in bed biding her time.”

“I think we should take her adenoids out too, while we do the ear tubes.”

Apparently adenoids can also get in the way of ear fluid draining properly.  Or so I’m told. 

So we set up the procedure for today.  We’re to arrive at the hospital at 9:00 am for ear tubes and an adenoidectomy.  That means that when she wakes up there’s no sippy cup of milk.  And no breakfast.  And that means that the first hour of her day was one epic temper tantrum.  After that first hour, she seemed to be resigned to the fact that we weren’t feeding her this morning, but she was still pissed.

But once we got to the hospital, SHE. WAS. A. CHAMP.

She played with the toys in the waiting room.  When we were sent back to an exam room, she accepted the trade of her monkey jammies for the astronaut-themed hospital gown with no compunctions whatsoever.

She spent the next 45 minutes, while we waited for the anesthesiologist, playing peek-a-boo with the room’s curtain and generally entertaining herself.

She lets the nurses take her vital signs without blinking an eye.

The only time we had tears?  When we parted ways as they wheeled her towards the operating room and we went to the waiting room.  But were those her tears, or mine?  I’m still not sure.  Even though getting ear tubes put in is one of the most common surgical procedures in the country, no one likes to see their baby have surgery.

And what did we hear from the doctor when all was said and done?  “She had A LOT of fluid drain from both ears.  And her adenoids were HUGE.  She’ll definitely start hearing better after this.”

She wasn’t hearing properly?  WHO KNEW?

Lesson learned?  Trust your instincts. Moms always know.

Good job, my little trouper! Hope you’ll be talking up an (understandable) storm, soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

30 Million Day Blog Challenge #10: Some One or Something You're Proud Of

I don't write about him often, although he has given me explicit permission to write whatever I want about him, good or bad.

I'm going with good.

We were friends before we were a couple, and I admired him so much.  He was so easy-going, able to make friends with pretty much any one, outgoing, all things I was not.  I felt honored just to be able to tag along with him.

And then one day he felt rather honored just to be a part of my life.  And we started dating.

And for the first time in my life, I had a boyfriend who was respectful, who accepted me exactly as I was, who didn't abuse me.  He was nothing but wonderful.

And then one day, we got married.

He supported me through my grueling law school experience, never complaining when I had to ignore him while committing to my studies and giving me a shoulder to cry on when things just got too hard.

He nursed me after the birth of my first child, through a failed breastfeeding experience, a recovery that took weeks, mastitis, and postpartum depression.

In fact, he supported me through all my crazy, my bipolar depression, my anxiety, never once questioning a diagnosis, or my need for medication.  He was nothing but understanding and loving, and he was always there during my darkest days.

From the very beginning of our relationship I knew he'd be a wonderful father, and that proved to be true. He takes a fully equal role in raising our kids, and I couldn't ask for a better father to my children.

He worked his tail off to earn a PhD, something few people do.  And then he worked his tail off at his first job, so that I may stay at home with my kids, at least for a little while.

So this one's for you, Husband.  I love you with all my heart.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bad Blogger, Bad

It has come to my attention that I do not post as regularly as I used to.

I'm not leaving the blogging world.

I'm just distracted.

Husband's job search is taking longer than expected.  Although he's guaranteed to stay in his post-doc position for another year while he continues looking for permanent work, he won't make enough money to allow me to stay at home with the kids.  We've made it through the past two years relying on his income and our savings.  But it's gotten to the point where I have to get either a part-time or full-time job, lest our savings run out completely.

And I'm conflicted.

I have no doubt that the kids would love being in preschool for a full day if I went back to work full time.  In fact, it would probably be good for Toddler, who still refuses to use a "big girl" cup or use the potty.  She'll bring the cup to her mouth to drink, but won't actually swallow anything.  She loves sitting on her potty, but refuses to actually pee or poop in the potty.  Being in daycare/preschool and watching all the other kids do these activities may be the push she needs to start doing them herself. It would be an adjustment for Preschooler and Toddler, but once they got used to it they'd have so much fun they wouldn't think twice about missing me.

But I'd miss them.

When we lived in Ohio, I worked full time for three years.  Both my kids were placed in full time daycare when they were just infants.  And they thrived.  I had no doubt that they were receiving good care.  But I missed them with all my heart.  You know how some people love being with their kids all weekend, but secretly feel good come Monday when they get to return to work and the adult world?

I never felt like that.

For three years, I never felt like that.

And the activities we already do during daytime?  Speech therapy for Toddler?  Gymnastics for both girls?  Play-dates?  Not to mention that I wanted Preschooler to try out soccer and swimming lessons this summer? They'd all have to be moved to nights or weekends, or dropped all together.

And working part time?  It would mean working nights and weekends, and not earning that much. So I'd be at home with my kids during the day, but not with my family at night.  And it would make taking time off for long-weekend visits to my parents' or elsewhere a bit trickier.

So, it's complicated.

Add to that the conundrum of where I'd look for a job.  Husband is best off staying where we are in Wisconsin, completing the research he's been working on for the past two years.  But for me, there are few jobs here that would allow me to utilize the skills I earned in law school without actually practicing law, which I don't particularly want to do.  I worked crazy late hours while living in Ohio and have no wish to return to such an intense working schedule.  For me, the best place to be where I can find work related to my degree without actually practicing law lies in Minnesota.  But this would involve Husband leaving his research here in Wisconsin unfinished, and taking up a whole new post-doc position in Minnesota while he continued looking for more permanent work.

So what do I do?  Work part-time in retail or something similar?  Find a full time job in Wisconsin totally unrelated to my degree and my previous work?  Move my family to Minnesota?

It's really complicated.

Add to that the fact that the baby we've been trying for, for well over a year, hasn't happened.  I know that God is in charge of this and he's saying, "Not yet." And it's probably for the best, even though I don't fully understand why.  But it still hurts.

So with all this crap floating around in my brain on a daily basis, it makes it hard to be wry or witty, or to write about the funny things that happen in my day-to-day life.

So I'm not giving up on blogging.

I'm just distracted

Saturday, March 10, 2012

There's No Holding Hands In Zumba!

I don't like strangers touching me.  Therefore, I'm the only person in the world who doesn't like professional massages. And hands-on prayer weirds me out.  And don't even get me started on so-called "trust falls."


I've also started taking Zumba classes twice a week.  It harkens back to my days as a dancer, although with much more jiggling.

My normal Zumba instructor is a dude who kicks my butt with some fun routines for an hour.  But last Tuesday?  HE. WASN'T. THERE.

There was a substitute Zumba instructor.  And she had her heart set on bonding with me.

Every few minutes she would make eye-contact with a class member, head their way and give them a high-five or a pat on the back or simply jammed with them.  Ok.  She's friendly.  I'm sure that comes in handy sometimes.

I was one of the first people she singled out.  About 15 minutes into the class she headed my way and jammed with me.  Okaaaaaaaay.

But apparently our jam-session was so mind-blowing that about half an hour later she approached me once more and held my hand while we zumba-ed together. DOESN'T SHE KNOW I HAVE THE WORLD'S LARGEST PERSONAL BUBBLE?????

I was so weirded out that I immediately excused myself for a drink from the bubbler and then slunk to the very back of the room where she would hopefully leave me alone for the rest of the class.

It's called a bubbler.  Not a drinking fountain.  Not a water fountain.  Bubbler.

Fortunately I was able to get through the rest of the class without any touching or eye-contact or any other weirdness.

But dear-almighty-god-in-heaven let my normal Zumba instructor be there next Tuesday.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sisterly Love

My two girls get along like champs, at least at this young age.  There's way more playing together than fighting; they're each other's best friends.  And, like friends, they share.


Even gross things.

Case in point.  The other night my family went out to a local brewpub with my mom and dad for dinner.  The kids ate macaroni and cheese with a side of apples and mandrin oranges.  Near the end of the meal, Toddler starts choking and sputtering on a piece of orange.  After a moment or two, she coughs up the offending orange onto her plate.  She then places the spit-out orange into her sister's fruit bowl, and then Preschooler promptly eats that very same orange.


Still, I know this sisterly love will only last for so long.  Pretty soon they'll be old enough to annoy each other, and then it may not be until they're grown up that they can say they are best friends again.

But I bet by then they'll be over the whole "ABC gum" thing.  At least, I hope they will.