|photo credit: Ear via photopin (license)|
The boy failed his hearing screening at school. Remember those? It's where you and your classmates line up outside of the nurse's office and then put on a pair of lice-infested earphones just so you can listen to a bunch of muted beeps while raising your hand, up down, up down, like Jerry Lewis on speed? It was recommended that I take Liam to get a 'real' test done at a 'real' doctor's office for a price of $50. It's not the money I care about, it's the whole idea of having to take him when I know this is all the result of a mere head cold. Okay, it's a little bit about the money.
Anyway, we go and I'm praying hard that his ears are fine, because we've already been through this before. The whole burrito: hearing test after hearing test, ear tubes, recovery, can't get water in his ears and then three layers of scalp builds up because the kid can't wash his wild monkey fringe. When he finally does wash it, a million fleas are jumping off flakes. Okay, no fleas, but you should have seen the dandruff that kid built up! The thought of going through all that again is no bueno.
But as a mother, you know. You have to.
Not sure if you've ever been to a real ear doctor before, but there are some scary a$$ tools in the examination room. Skinny metal thingys and sharp pokey objects, syringes, priers and drills, and then the dreaded poster of the inside of some poor kid's bursting cochlea. It's frightening! I have PTSD now. But of course as the parental unit I have to be the one to say, oh, there's nothing to worry about, the doctor won't use any of those instruments on you (looks frantically for cotton balls to stick in child's ears).
When the doctor comes in spouting light chatter and geniality, and tells Liam to lean back for the exam, I take stock of all the work I've done over the years. The nice clothes that fit and don't have any holes, the brand new pair of sneakers, the fillings and capped teeth because he was too wiggly to brush when little, the voids because the baby teeth didn't come out on their own and the dentist recommended they get pulled, the eyeglasses that make him look like Harry Potter, and the nice hair cut that's already growing out two days later. If I wasn't around, who would do all of this? I'm the silent worker, the unpaid, yet always ready for action myriad. My work is never finished, and yet I must carry on to the end. Kids would walk around looking like a mini-Sasquatch, if not for their mother.
All turns out well: his hearing is fine. It was just the cold. But then I knew that. I'd already done a test in the car, windows open, radio at full blast. From the back seat Liam listened for me to whisper a certain color, or a food item, or the name of his favorite game character. He heard each and repeated all. It's similar to the mommy temperature test: a hug, or a kiss on the forehead. Never fails.
Someone told me recently that their school kept sending their child home because of a fever, but the child wasn't actually sick. Turns out, it was the school thermostat. It needed fixing. A group of parents formed a coup to get it fixed.
That solved the problem.