This is what I keep telling myself.
Tanika, don't worry about things until there's actually something to worry about.
But it's difficult when that "thing" you're trying not to worry about is your son, who for the past couple months, has been exhibiting signs that he is having trouble hearing.
It started around Christmas, the troubling signs. And we eventually discovered he had a double ear infection and a popped eardrum. Strong antibiotics and ear drops seemed to have done the trick, though, because at his follow-up, our doctor said everything looked perfect.
But since then the signs persist.
The most obvious one is that he tells us directly, "I can't hear you," when we're talking in our normal voices. His little brow furrows and his voice sounds small. "Mommy, what'd you say? I can't hear you."
I can see him sometimes trying to decipher what I've said by watching my lips. "Do you want macaroni and cheese?" I asked him once, looking directly at him on the changing table. "Hmmm?" he said, studying my mouth. "You said, 'music class?'"
In the past week, it's gotten worse, and Lester and I have tried all the "tricks" to see if he's exaggerating a bit, or working us to avoid having to pick up the Legos. All the experiments turn out the same: He can sometimes hear me, especially if I speak in an elevated voice and he's expecting the conversation. He has less trouble hearing Lester, but there are times when even his Dad's booming voice seems lost to him.
Lester picked Cary up on Sunday and kissed his face. "Why do you keep
saying you can't hear us, buddy?" he asked Cary in a gentle voice.
"Because," Cary responded, smiling. "Because you all keep talking softly."
Tears stung the backs of my eyes. I felt like I swallowed an apple. We're not "talking softly" in our house -- almost ever. This is one of the loudest houses on Earth.
The final straw was this experiment -- one of many, many similar ones I've tried: I stood behind him, about 3 feet away, and asked, in a somewhat quiet, but not a whispering, tone, "Cary, how about we go downstairs and get some ice cream?" He didn't respond. I tried again in a normal tone. He didn't respond. So I added in "cookies" to the treats he could have if he would just turn around and answer. He just played with his train, whirring it along my bed. Still in a normal tone, I upped the ante:
"Cary! Cookie Hood is here! He's downstairs eating cookies! Let's go see him and get some cookies!" (He is obsessed with Cookie Hood, so I just knew he'd hear that).
From the next room, Dean said, "Cookies?!" Cary still didn't move.
I went in the bathroom, put my head on Lester's chest, and cried.
The thought that my smart, silly, sweet little boy seems to have trouble hearing -- especially hearing me -- breaks my heart so much I can't even tell you.
I'm not sure what exactly is going on, and I've spent FAR too much time on the Internet reading about all sorts of scary things I wish I never knew. But we're going to get to the bottom of it. I wanted to just get a referral to take him to the audiology center where his hearing was tested as a baby, but our doctor said he should see him first. I think this is a waste of time, as he's already seen him -- declared his ears "perfect" -- and sent us home. Something isn't right and I know it. And I am not good at being patient when it comes to things like this.
But we will take him back to the doctor tomorrow afternoon and see what he says.
Until then, I will try not to worry about things until there's actually something to worry about. :-(
My little Cary, doing his favorite thing (listen to that sweet little cartoon voice):