I am disappointed to report that my children are experiencing Late Onset Selective Deafness - a malady affecting millions of children around the world, and now it has struck the Berend household. It is tragic and painful only to those who the children cannot seem to hear.
It has been progressing slowly over the last few months to a full case of Selective deafness. At first I only had to repeat things once or twice to get their attention, but now I have to screech unattractively at the top of my lungs to get anything done. For example, this morning I tell Luke, "Luke, please go put on your shoes." He continues to play with his car as I finish making his lunch - the deafness is clearly affecting his ability to hear my request. So, again, I say, "Luke, I asked to you put on your shoes." This time I watched him continue to play without a flinch or reaction to my voice - and I decide he really has lost his hearing. Otherwise, wouldn't he have at least looked at me and then decided to ignore me as he continued to play with his toys? Again, but a little louder this time as I stretch my head forward and look at him intently as if my laser-mom vision will spark his attention, "Luke, I'm only going to ask you one more time to put your shoes on." This time, he slightly reacts by pausing with his car, yet he continues to play as he makes his quiet vvroom-vroom noises. I wait only a half minute and then realize that the deafness is no longer partial but complete, and I screech in frustration at an escalated pitch and fervor: "LUKE! PUT YOUR SHOES ON NOW!!!" I expect him to jump and start crying because he is in trouble for not having heard me the first few times, but instead he looks up and says in a whine, "I've just got to finish playing with my car." Now, I realize he is not only deaf but quite possibly mentally challenged because there can be no doubt to anyone ages 1 to 101 that I am beyond the patience of asking him to put on his shoes. It was crystal clear that my last statement was a COMMAND - one that a 5 star general would utter resulting in chaotic running in the barracks as the troops rush to get their shoes on. Instead, my slow child decides to respond as if I had merely suggested that now would be a good time to put his shoes on. To my frustration I have to actually respond since he hasn't taken his hand off his car even though he has now heard me, looked at me, and responded. So make the evilest eyes I can manage by squinting, I lean my head forward, clench my teeth together and growl each word succinctly, "Get - your - shoes - on - nowwwwwww!" Usually this elicits Luke to throw down his car and run toward his shoes sobbing that "You're not being very nice to me!" But instead, this morning, he stops in his tracks still holding the car, and looks at me as he asks curiously, as if he is perplexed, "Why are you talking like that, Mommy?" Obviously, he now thinks I'm the mentally challenged individual in the room.
I couldn't help it but I turned my head and giggled because I realized how stupid I must have looked and clearly I wasn't creating the menacing, strict effect I was looking for. So instead, now having gotten his attention, I say in a calm voice (still stern of course) "Luke, you need to get your shoes on now or I'm leaving without you." He hops over to his shoes as he says cheerfully, "Okay!" I grit my teeth, take a deep breath, and chuckle to myself in frustration. Little did I know, I was about to repeat the entire thing with both of them as I hustled them to the front door (my arms full of lunches, brief case, purse, blankets and keys) and told them to get into the car.
So, I've decided my children are without a doubt suffering from Late Onset Selective Deafness. Now I'm trying to decide who needs to see a doctor: Should Evie and Luke see and audiologist or should I see a therapist?