Nathan’s audiologist appointment was not at all as terrifying as I had imagined.
I had been waking up several times a night, partly because The Late Talker says that if you delay intervention, your child will eventually kill you. Though there’s no direct speech-development and matricide connection, the first few chapters discuss how late talkers can’t communicate and therefore will become juvenile delinquents which will result in my inevitable death. Nathan will probably give me a fatal heart attack by saying, “I don’t think The Office is all that funny,” or worse, “I’ve decided to go to Washington State University.”
This is why I don’t read parenting books.
I also haven’t been sleeping well because Nathan’s teething again. Whenever I asked him, “Nathan, how long are you going to cry tonight,” he’d get all Lionel Ritchie on me, saying, “ALL NIGHT LONG! I’LL CRY! ALL NIGHT!” Hello insomnia, indeed.
But the audiologist and her assistant were very sweet with Nathan and played with him, cooing in high-pitched voices. Nathan flirted with the women, flashing them a deep-dimpled smile.
We sat in a small sound booth, a smaller version of the one Lionel Ritchie probably used to record that godawful song. They checked his ear for fluids and then stuck earbuds in to test his reflexes. He began wriggling and screaming while I held him down. He shot me a red-faced look, like, “Et tu, mother?” These are the times I’d rather be doing anything else other than restraining my child, like chewing tin foil or using YouTube to show everyone how I always play air guitar at the beginning of CSI Miami.
I tried to nurse him, but it was more like I was plugging up his mouth with my saggy boob and instead of latching on, he cried around my boob, like, “Why on earth would you think that this meat sock would make a difference?”
Once they were done with the earbud testing, they left the sound booth and sat on the other side of the glass window. Two corners of the room had a speaker and a black tinted box. The audiologist spoke into the microphone and Nathan’s head turned towards the speaker. Then the black box lit up and inside a teddy bear played the drums and Nathan’s head turned again. I was so glad it was a teddy bear with drums and not that evil monkey with the cymbals, though that would have been much more exciting. This continued for a few minutes, with the audiologist varying the volumes, practically whispering toward the end.
The two women walked back into the room and the audiologist told me that Nathan’s hearing was sufficient for speech development. Meaning, it’s not his hearing.
But I already knew this. So this is where we are now. My son, babbling mama and dada and me, waiting and waiting.