My mum always said as we were all growing up that if you have 3 or more children, someone is AWLAYS ill. That is certainly how it’s been for the last month or so. The children seem to have become a very efficient tag team that has been working to slowly destroy all ideas I have of sleeping, eating anything that involves using 2 hands or generally staying on top of the housework! The moment I realised how effective this had been was when I opened the boys reading records and discovered I have not actually listened to either of them read for over 3 weeks and for someone who usually does that every night, it’s not a good feeling!
It all started with Mr 6 and his ears about a month ago.
To give you a bit of background, Mr 6 suffers with glue ear. I’m sure many of you have heard of the condition and as a teacher I had certainly come across it during both my training and with pupils in my class, but I have to say I had been guilty of not feeling it was that serious. That was until I had a child who suffered with it! Glue ear is a condition in which fluid builds up behind the ear drum and because it can’t go anywhere, it solidifies and creates a barrier that sound can not travel through. Some children who suffer with it have no problems with infection but others (like Mr 6) end up in a constant cycle of ear infections and ruptured ear drums. The main treatment for the condition is the insertion of grommets (little plastic tubes) into the ear drum that allow air to flow through and fluid to drain away. If there are no infection issues often hearing aids are fitted and it is believed children grow out of the condition by the age of about 6. (Ummmm or not!)
Mr 6 was completely non verbal until he was 2.5yrs old and during the time between when he first started wanting to communicate and when he had his operation at 2.5yrs, his only form of communication was the Makaton I had done with him as part of baby signing. I had taken Mr 8 to baby sing and sign classes when he was little and found it really helped with not only the language development but also the frustration levels, so naturally I did it again when Mr 6 came along, and Thank God I did. It became his only form of communication and as his need and vocabulary developed so did my signing skills!
Trying to get doctors to take my suspicions seriously was a challenge and even R at one point actually told me he thought I wanted something to be wrong with my little man, but I knew my son and I knew something was stopping him from talking. So many people tried to say it was because he had a big brother to talk for him but I spent every day with them and in my heart I knew there was something wrong. It took months of phone calls, doctors appointments, tests and consultants appointments (including a brain scan during which at 20 months he woke up alone in the scanner screaming and it had to be rescheduled) to get to a point where I was completely miserable. He passed hearing tests but had constant ear infections and still wasn’t talking. I’d get people glaring at us in supermarkets because he was screaming, but sad as it was, I used to see the facial expressions change to ones of pity once we started signing.
Finally a chance conversation with my lovely health visitor who had been a great support all the way through, was the breakthrough I’d been praying for. She asked if he’d been checked for tongue tie. I knew he had been as it’s one of the only things I do remember from my time in hospital with him, but she suggested it might be worth getting him checked again. She sent us over to the only doctor in our county that does tongue tie cuts. Although he was too old for her to do anything about it she agreed to see us and sure enough he had an 80% posterior tie that was stopping him being able to form any of the shapes required for speech, they had missed it when he was born. Add to that the fact we finally got a glue ear diagnoses and things started happening.
In August 2010 Mr 6 had an operation to cut his tongue tie and insert bilateral grommets and within 48 hours he was completely verbal! The relief was overwhelming as many of you know….
The only problem with grommets is that the body doesn’t like having them in and over a period of time the ear drum rejects them and they fall out. This starts up the cycle of ear infections and hearing loss until they are replaced. Over the last 4 years Mr 6 has had 3 sets fitted and has had more ear infections and ruptured ear drums than I can count once they fall out.
This is where we found ourselves a month ago. 3 weeks after his grommets ended up in my wallet rather than his ears (he likes to keep them to show people what they are) the ear infections started and he ended up with an ear drum perforation. So we are back into the endless ENT (ear, nose and throat) fight to get them to put grommets back in, but because he has had his recommended amount of 3 sets they really don’t want to put anymore in as they worry about the scaring to the ear drum. This means every time he complains of ear ache we have to trudge off to the doctors and get it noted on his record and once there is ‘significant trauma’ they will re look at the possibility of a 4th set!
So that was how my month of tag team children started! Once Mr 6 was on the mend it was the turn of Miss 2! Goodness only knows what’s been going on with her but she seems to have had one thing after another and obviously when your 2 and poorly the ONLY place you can sleep is on mummy’s head…. Not sharing a bed or even a pillow, but actually on my head! It’s a good thing she’s so sweet…. I have to say though the one thing that really made me smile, and probably shouldn’t have done, was when they came back from a weekend with their father and his girlfriend and I was informed that they had indeed stayed at the girlfriend’s house over night and Miss 2 had projectile vomited all over her nice new living room carpet!!!!! Hee hee 😉
Obviously having had the other 2 poorly, Mr 8 had to join in and although his wasn’t anything particularly serious my sister and I have decided he has ‘man flu’ down to a fine art already and has well and truly perfected his ‘dying swan face’ as his aunt put it!
Reading this you would think it’s been all doom and gloom in our house for weeks but through it all the laughter has remained and so has the fun. Yes that fun is slightly different when someone is not 100% but i am firmly of the opinion that you can find fun and enjoyment in any situation as long as you look for it and don’t just look at the negative. I have 3 wonderful children of which I am Very very proud and that is what is important. I have to admit when I am completely sleep deprived and things get overwhelming, all I wanted to do was pick up the phone and shout at their father telling him that this wasn’t what I signed up for and we were meant to be doing this together, but in the end I have learnt he isn’t actually that interested and shouting wouldn’t achieve anything apart from raising my blood pressure. The thing that keeps me going and keeps me from curling up in a ball and crying when I’m running on caffeine and no sleep is the knowledge that when the children are older I will have provided them with ‘roots and wings’. They will have roots they are confident and secure in and the wings to fly in the direction that God has planned for them. (I love that expression… Thank you to a very talented writer for that and you know who you are xx).
We have had a lovely half term spending time with family and friends, exciting new projects beginning for me that I will share more about at another point, My beautiful friend was baptised and life is pretty good…. Can’t ask for much more than that.
God bless xx