Toddler Hearing Test

E&L had tubes placed in their ears earlier this year after a series of ear infections and constant fluid in their ears. In addition to the effect so many courses of antibiotics would have on them, we were also worried about their hearing and speech development — if they couldn’t hear, how could they learn to talk?

So we had the tubes placed and it was relatively quick and easy (as far as surgery goes — it’s still not great to hand your baby off to a nurse and know they’re going to be put under general anesthesia) and afterward they could hear! And they started to talk! But part of the Ear Nose and Throat doctor’s follow-up care involves tests to make sure that they’re hearing well. L passed his right away, but E has never passed her tests.

The audiologist has to place an instrument in the outer ear that makes sounds and measures the ear’s response to it (an Otoacoustic Emissions test, or OAE). They get best results when the child is still and quiet, so, you know. Difficult for a toddler to achieve. Plus, frankly, the audiologists at the ENT’s office never seemed willing to try very hard to make it work. They wound up referring us to a hearing specialist to do more and different tests to see if they could get a passing result for her. She was so cooperative and good! Her left ear got a passing result right away, but then she wanted to move and talk a bit while the doctor was testing her right ear. She was able to measure the response she wanted, but not at a high enough level for a pass.

The next step was to let her respond to stimuli in the booth. This was kind of fun to experience. E got to sit in my lap inside the sound proof booth while the doctor was outside observing. The doctor made sounds at different levels on E’s right and left side to watch her look for the source. My job was to be so quiet and still and not consciously or subconsciously cue E to look in any particular direction — just keep her comfortable and calm. She passed this test at normal levels and did great. Then, while we were still in the booth, the doctor tested her speech comprehension by asking her to touch her nose. At first, E didn’t seem to want to respond. I know she knows this because she has been playing touch-your-nose forever, but she can be a contrary little soul. So when she didn’t touch her nose after several requests, I kind of shrugged at the doctor through the window, like, enh, you win some, you lose some. But then E decided to get on board with the game and proudly showed off her nose, eyes, and ears while also waving and grinning at the doctor. Yay!

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So the upshot today was that the left ear is totally fine. The right ear may have failed the OAE due to noise/movement, or she may have failed because sometimes tubes cause them not to see the desired OAE response. But she’s doing great with her hearing and speech development and the doctor had zero concerns right now. If we start to have concerns in the future, we can go back, but otherwise we’re good to wait until her next six-month follow-up at the ENT. I wish we could have just gotten a straight pass on the OAE for both ears, but I guess this is still fine so I’ll take it.

Use Your Words

Do you ever just feel like making some inarticulate screaming noises? Yes? I do. And so I have total sympathy for my toddlers when their feelings well up and they have to just let it out: low-key whining, flailing, screaming, or full-on wet-noodle tantrumming.

A lot of the time, I can cut off the crying loop if I interject to remind them that I would be very happy to help them but I can’t understand what they need if they’re whining; could they please use their words instead? It’s impressive how often this works. They can stop and say, “MAH CHOO-CHOO” or “NO-NO DOGGIE” or “MO DJOOSE” or “HEP PEEZ.” Of course, they’re at a stage where this trick only goes so far — a lot of the time, the source of their turmoil is as yet inexpressible to them. Still happens to me on the regular, honestly, so I get it.

There are a lot of things they can’t say yet — their own/each other’s names, for example. the names of some of their toys and books and of some of the foods they like. Usually, pointing and asking for “dat” is what helps. “Dat” book on the high shelf, “dat” box of crackers, etc.¬†Several times recently, E&L have been playing together in the playroom when all of a sudden L bursts into tearful wails. When I ask him to try to tell me what’s wrong or what he needs, he just turns to his sister with angry tears in his eyes and points at her emphatically, “DAT.”

And that’s when I see that she has taken the structure he’s been painstakingly building out of his Mega Bloks and threw it on the floor and smashed it. “All my hard work!” “Why does she like to annoy me?!” “Now I have to re-build!” L isn’t able to express that all just yet, so an accusing point and an emphatic “DAT” are the best he can do. I would be lying if I said it doesn’t crack me up every time.

Quickie

I don’t want to break my November streak but we’ve been out and now we have a friend coming over, so here’s a quick entry for NaBloPoMo purposes.

We went on an outdoor outing today and found a little free library in a treehouse. How perfect is that?

I was going to write a whole funny post about what L does when E somehow upsets him, but that amusing (to me, at least) anecdote can wait.

Perfect Little Convergence

Thanksgiving weekend is a perfect little convergence: you have Thanksgiving leftovers commingling with new Christmas trees and decorations, Christmas music, etc. I had a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich for lunch (cranberry sauce is key) and later a slice of pumpkin pie while admiring our newly lit and decorated tree. What a life!

By Late November, we finally get some colder weather and colorful leaves, so it was a lovely day to go to the park with the kids and hike the trails, slide the slide, and ride the bee.

This afternoon, we put up Christmas decorations! I’ve been so looking forward to it.

Because the kids are basically two tornadoes of destruction, we used only non-glass ornaments this year and let them “help” us decorate the tree. It was so much fun. And also really difficult and short lived. (Is that how life is now?)

Never mind. The look on their faces when we lit up the tree is worth everything. I also hung up all my magical paper snowflake garlands* after they went to bed– they’re all over the house and I can’t wait to see what E&L think of them tomorrow morning.

*ICYMI I basically am Buddy the Elf.

Giving Thanks

For my family — my amazing and exhausting and beautiful kiddos and my kind and funny and patient husband. And for our wider family, too.

For my programmable coffee maker and the bounty of food we have to enjoy (today and every day).

For my sweet and gentle old doggo.

For my job and my home.

For this moment of quiet while the little people are napping and the food is cooking in the oven.

For my friends far and wide.

Thanksgiving Eve

I don’t want to miss my daily blog post, but the kids came home from a half day at school and absolutely would not nap (preferred screaming) so it’s been all hands on deck.

I was planning to make my apple and pumpkin pies and the cranberry sauce tonight but I felt like I got run over by a truck (and by “a truck” I mean “endless toddler screaming x2”) and I told CW I might have to just make one pie and wait until Friday to make the other one. He was like, “OK, that’s fine! Whatever you need! Let me know how I can help!”

But then after the kids went to bed he immediately put on his apron and got me a drink and we made a game plan together to get all our prep done. He had already been planning to do the green bean casserole and then he jumped in and made the pumpkin pie filling and decorated it and did the cranberry sauce. All I had to do was the apple pie filling and the dough rolling (and I latticed and decorated the apple pie, which I’d been ready to forego, but I had the energy to do it with some of the other tasks taken off my list).

We always share the workload, but today was a real gold star for the team. Everything got done and we had a good time doing it. Phew.

Thanksgiving Prep

Let’s chat about Thanksgiving! I love getting prepared for the holiday and planning and making all of the food. So cozy! So festive! So much opportunity to drink coffee or wine or whatever and hang out in the kitchen.¬† It’s just the four of us on the day, but we’ll have friends over Saturday for pie and drinks. So far, we have planned our menu and done the shopping and made a plan for executing everything. Here’s what we’re doing:

Breakfast: cinnamon rolls, bacon, mimosas and/or Bloody Marys.

Turkey: CW is fully in charge of this. Will do Thursday, obviously.

Mashed Potatoes: also CW’s domain. He will probably make these on Thursday, but may do them ahead of time.

Roasted Root Vegetables: This one is mine. I’m doing sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions with some simple olive oil, salt, and herbs, roasted until they start to caramelize. So good. Will do these on Thursday.

Green Bean Casserole: CW does this one. Will assemble Wednesday night and bake on Thursday.

Cranberry Sauce: Mine. Do you have a favorite recipe for this? I seem to remember not loving the one I did last year (too runny). Will do this Wednesday and chill overnight.

Apple Pie: Mine. I do a double crust with lattice and/or braiding of some kind. Crust recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Pumpkin Pie: I do a single (traditional pastry) crust with some ornamentation on top. Filling recipe from the Libby’s can but I add more spices.

I’ve made the dough for the pie crusts already (did this tonight after the kids went to bed and enjoyed a glass of wine while working on it — perfect example of the spirit of Thanksgiving) and will make fillings and bake them both tomorrow evening.

In the past, I have also done a Tofurky or Celebration Roast for a vegetarian option, but this year, I think I will just stick to sides as vegetarian options. (I am the only person who cares and I just have limited resources and don’t want to make an additional protein if I’m the only one eating it.)

We don’t generally do stuffing, so I should probably pick up some bread or rolls or something, right? I forgot about that. I also need to buy some sugar, which I just realized we are almost out of.¬† Hmmm. Am I forgetting anything else?