Over the last few years I became the parent I never wanted to be. I became a yeller . The more frustrated I became with repeating myself, the more frequently I yelled, the more frustrated I was, the more I yelled. I despised looking in the mirror. I was evaluating myself and my mental and emotional state. Researching postpartum depression, parenting techniques, anxiety and anger connection, etc, etc. I was convinced there was something terribly wrong with me or that I was just a horrid parent. Turns out the main underlying cause was much simpler.
At age 2 my daughter had her first ear infection. We took her to the doctor, put her on antibiotics and situation resolved. Not really, however we did not know that. She is a lovely little girl with an amazing imagination and love of art. Getting her attention has always been difficult. We figured she was wither day dreaming or hyper focused on her tasks as all her wellness checks had always been fine.
As she got older and started school she frequently told us that she didn’t hear us. After rounds of hearing tests and wellness checks with no negative results we simply thought she wasn’t paying attention. Meanwhile, we became louder and louder to get her attention. Frustration was building on all sides and this pattern continued.
During her fifth year ear infections came back with regular frequency picking up into her 6th year. They were not frequent enough to warrant discussing tubes (2-3 times a year) but we were tracking. Her wellness checks still came back fine but we were concerned over lack of focus, difficulty paying attention, constantly saying she cannot hear, continued. Thankfully, we have a fantastic doctor who doesn’t dismiss us and make us fight to be heard. We kept the lines of communication open and were exploring options as to potential causes because these childhood symptoms can be anything from maturity to mental health to physical. Meanwhile, during one of our frustration sessions she had a breakdown and cried asking why she couldn’t hear like other kids. Insert heartbreak here.
Finally she failed a hearing test! Off to the ENT. With our doctor as an advocate we were in within two weeks. Turns out that her growth spurts were the problem. Our daughter’s adenoids needed removed and tubes in her ears. Within three weeks she was able to get her surgery. The center was amazing and the tour had her excited for this surgery. She was excited to resolve the issue and be able to hear.
We are two weeks post-surgery and I have a different child. Within hours of her surgery we noticed she wasn’t whispering and saying what all the time. Her dad hid his mouth and whispered “can you hear me?”. Her response was “what did you say?”, slightly louder he repeated himself and she was like “yes”. We explained to her that daddy was whispering, not yelling and she heard him!
Over the last two weeks the frustration has been disappearing from all of us. She can hear us, we don’t have to yell. I don’t constantly have to research, study and evaluate trying to figure out what is going on with my frustrated, upset child and my parenting. The lack of yelling has changed all of us, including her two small siblings. We are still working on the overall loud, as that has become a habit, but the frustration is gone. There is joy again and we look forward to the continued changes that will come from her being able to hear.
I am glad that I kept searching to understand. That I kept advocating for my family. I knew something wasn’t right. I knew this wasn’t who I was or who my family was. It didn’t feel right. Trust yourself, advocate, fight, research, don’t give up on your kids or yourself ever.