Let battle commence!

It’s a war, isn’t it? Parenting. A constant battle of wills. ‘Choose your battles’ people say. They mean that some things don’t matter. They mean it’s OK to let them say, not wear socks if they eat their greens. Or not flush the loo as long as they wash their hands.

I have bigger battles than those though. I have the ‘wear a giant lump of metal on the side of your head’ battle. And I don’t have a choice other than to choose it. I hate it when people say to me ‘it’s just like her wearing her socks / coat / *insert inane actually not important thing here’. Because you see the thing is, it DOESN’T MATTER if she (or he) doesn’t wear socks or a coat. It doesn’t matter if they don’t flush the toilet or wash their hands. It doesn’t matter if they don’t line up or eat green veg or sleep through the night.

What’s the worst that could happen? They get poorly? They get in trouble? They are tired? They are spoiled and bratty?

But if they don’t wear their hearing aids / processors, they can’t hear and they won’t develop speech. That’s HUGE.

And if they get poorly from not wearing a coat. Or are too tired from staying up late. There is an element of responsibility and consequences. That’ll teach ’em.

But if they grow up and can’t talk; can’t communicate well enough to order a coffee or ask the bus driver where a stop is, that’s different. I can’t teach them that that’s their responsibility now. It’s not. It’s mine.

There is no way for me to explain to Harriet that what she’s been given is a gift. An opportunity. An amazing miracle of hearing when profoundly deaf. She doesn’t understand and she doesn’t care. She just has annoying things on the side of her head that she wants to take off.

So it’s a battle of wills. Because it’s not about hearing or not hearing. Or speech development. Or ling sounds. Or mapping or graphs.

It’s about ON or OFF.

I’ve won before. Twice actually. And I’ll win again. She’ll wear these bloody processors. Even if she does it eating sweets for breakfast. Because my battle has been chosen for me. And I intend to win it.


Guilt (again)

The past few days have been particularly hard. Harriet’s operation was not as straightforward as one would have liked, and her recovery hasn’t been straightforward either.  Which, really, is typical of how our lives seem to pan out and probably not even worth complaining about.  But still, what a crock. 

The implantation itself went well. Hurrah! You would think wouldn’t you? But no, because she had a dormant chest infection (who even knew that was a thing?!) that caused all kinds of problems with the anaesthetic. Her breathing had to be closely monitored during a 24 hour stay in hospital.

Then there’s her balance.  The nurse said ‘as soon as she’s toddling around like normal you can go home’. We’ve been home since Saturday evening.  She’s still not toddling.  Or crawling. Or sitting unaided. She does, however,  have the strength in her neck to support her own head.  She didn’t for 2 days after the op. They tell me this isn’t a cause for concern because every day she is getting better.  But is also not typical.  Or even heard of by our local deaf team. It could only happen to our Harri. 

It’s shit.  It’s unexpected and it’s shit.  And you know what? It is bloody typical. Everything seems to be that little bit harder for us.

I’ve been having serious doubts about whether or not this was the right thing to do. She was fine. Better than fine.  She was awesome.  She was happy. What have I done?  It feels like such a selfish decision.  She wasn’t ill, she was deaf. She could have grown up deaf and been just fine.  I could have gotten better at sign language.  Everyone else could have learned sign language; should have learned sign language. 

I have butchered her ears and her lungs and her balance. Why?  Because I can’t be bothered to accept and embrace how she’s different from me?

She’ll get better.  And maybe when she does I’ll retract all of this.  Maybe in a week, a month, a year,  I’ll be pleased she has cochlear implants despite all of this. 

But right now I’m not sure.  And the guilt is suffocating.