Monday, April 20, 2009

Her Ears are on My Heart

I thought it was funny (and developmental) when Meric couldn't figure out to look "up" to find me at the top of the stairs. I also thought she was sort of funny when she would blurt out a phrase REALLY loud every now and then--especially in the car. But when Meric had difficulty locating me on the same floor of our house, that raised my suspicions and because she's now three, I know it's not "developmental". She didn't start talking as early as I thought she would. BUT, she has an older brother who can talk for her and she's a second child and the kids in her daycare class (many) speak English as a second language. I was told over and over not to worry. But I worried. Meric runs with her head down and falls easily. Almost once a week I get a call from the daycare that she has fallen or run into something and knocked a goober knot on her head. At her well child visit I talked with the pediatrician about my concerns. She said, too, not to worry. But I worried. We enrolled Meric in soccer which has been a godsend. She's a young three and our expectations are not high. But I began to notice things at games and practices...the coaches give an instruction and all the kids get up and leave. Meric stays on her ball. They repeat the instruction making eye contact and she follows their directions. When the coaches physically show her what to do, she's eager, but until then she's clueless. When they throw her ball out on the field for her to dribble back, she gets lost. When they call her name, she can't find them. That's was enough for me. I got her an appointment with an audiologist. Meric sat in my lap in the sound booth with her "helmet" (headphones) on and I could hear the doctor getting louder and louder, "Meric, what color are your shoes?" Nothing. "Meric, can you tell me what color your shoes are?" When the sound was so loud I could hear it plainly, Meric turned to me and said, "Lali, I not hear it." My stomach knotted as it was confirmed on Friday that Meric has almost total hearing loss in her left ear. I'm still in shock. I know more about hearing loss now than I ever thought I would need to know. But here's the thing...I show up Saturday to tell Meric's soccer coaches that Meric won't be able to find their voices and that I need them to look out for my little girl only to learn that three of the five coaches teach soccer at the local school for the deaf and they have already instructed the other coaches on how best to deal with her. What are the chances?! They made me feel like my little girl was going to be just fine...and she is. She is absolutely perfect. I placed a bright barrette in her hair over her good ear so that it's easier for her coaches to know which direction to talk to her. We've swapped sides of the car that the kids sit on so that her good ear is inside the car and not towards the window so she can be included in our conversations. I will be her advocate forever and I will never yell at her again when she can't find me in the house. I have held her more in the past two days than I have in a long time. I do not want her to feel sorry for herself, but until we have more answers, I am so sad for her. We are so lucky to have detected this early and that she has one perfectly good hearing ear.

Monday, April 13, 2009