I returned to my part-time job in Waikiki from June 1st. And just like that, now it's July and I'm not really sure how that happened.
My work routine isn't that hard. I wake up at 2:30AM or so, come out of the bedroom once to get ready for work, change clothes, have a little something to eat/drink if I need to, sometimes I pump an extra couple ounces of milk to leave, then I pack a bottle and a little extra in the mini cooler that came with our bottle warmer and put the ice pack in, and go back into the bedroom to change and feed Kairu again before I go down and get my bicycle. I ride my bike to work, and am back home by 9AM so Yasushi can take a nap before he has to leave for his long day starting at 10AM.
I take care of the kids and clean the house and cook and our day ends around 8PM, hopefully. It's harder on my husband than it is on me to deal with the 5AM feeding, especially when Kairu doesn't want to drink from a bottle. But I'm thankful that I have his support, so I can go out and at least contribute a little bit to our household by making sure we have health insurance, and earn a little towards the mortgage and my 401K.
The past month we have been in and out of various doctors. The family had our routine teeth cleaning and dentist check-ups, Kairu had his 2 month check up, heel prick, and newborn hearing screening done, and the 3 month check up too. Chinami had some shots, her yearly blood screening, and ear and eye tests.
We needed to have her vision and hearing tested because they had general screenings at her preschool and I got a call that there were some concerns about her vision and her right ear. They wouldn't tell me anything specific, just to bring the results paper to her doctor. I called our pediatrician and explained, and made an appointment for her and for Kairu's 2 month checkup. The pediatrician didn't see any problems externally when he looked in her ears, and he gave me the name and number of the audiologist at Kapiolani Hospital. I made an appointment for the second week of June, which was pushed back until the last week of June, for Chinami and Kairu to get a screening. Kairu was awake but quiet, and his results were fine. Chinami did a few types of tests and confirmed that she is pretty much deaf in her right ear.
At this point, I wasn't shocked. Yasushi, Chinami and I had all had enough time to get through our shock and figure things out by this point. At home, I used earbuds to test her hearing the day after I got the call from her school. I played music she liked and put the earbud in one ear, asking her what song it was. When I put it in her left ear, she would name it and sing along, but when I put it in her right, she would not sing or react. I asked her if she could hear, and she told me she couldn't.
Until I did this simple thing, I never noticed she had any problems. She doesn't speak as much as her peers, that is true, however she is bilingual and was meeting minimum milestones for both languages at every stage of her development...and plus she is more of a visual, creative and kinetic type rather than talkative. She never made any actions that would lead me to believe she was having trouble hearing, so my guess is that she wasn't. She hears just fine in her left ear, and so it never slowed her down. In fact, until Yasushi and I found out and made a fuss about it, she probably didn't notice anything was different herself, and felt that her hearing was normal.
Now that we brought it to her attention, she acknowledges it herself from time to time as well. Like now when she thinks something is too loud, she will put a hand over her left ear. When I whisper something in her left ear, she giggles and points to her right ear, and I whisper in that one and she giggles again and says "nope, can't hear" When she ignores me I go "I know you heard that, I said it to your left ear" and she laughs. And when we watched America's Got Talent and the hearing-impaired comedian had his audition, and they showed his backstory and his hearing aids, Chinami got a concerned look on her face. When I asked her what was wrong, she pointed and said "He can't hear..." and then she pointed to her right ear. I was stunned by the connection she had just made, and reassured her that she still has another ear that hears just fine and she smiled again.
From what the audiologist said, the next step is to have her checked at an ENT to rule out anything structural, and there is the option of a special hearing aid and surgery when she gets older to basically put a microphone by her left year and connect it to the right side, so when someone talks to her left side it will be like she is hearing it with her right. The doctor showed us the pre-surgery hearing aid and Chinami made the most epic not impressed face, so we might pass on that. There are lots of people that live long and full lives with the sound turned off in one ear. Plus, at the eye doctor her right eye tested at 0.5 so she will need glasses eventually....and glasses can be a much cooler fashion accessory.
Plus as I said before, she is a visual learner anyway. She knew her ABCs and hiragana before she was 2, and now she is learning to sight read words in English. I point to words on signs and labels and books and she knows words for fruits, colors, etc. I am trying to get her into phonics but I have heard that some kids just learn words by sight and learn how to read that way as well, so whatever works for her.
Kairu, as always, is a fat and happy little ball of marshmallow fluff. Amazing how from that, Chinami has grown into a crazy, wild, left-handed, deaf in one side princess. I love watching them grow and am always looking forward to the future.