Am I OK?

I can’t hear too well. I read lips a lot (which is why I can’t hear people in the dark and have trouble watching Grey’s Anatomy sometimes). “What?” is a very common response from me. But more often than not, I simply try and fill in the blanks. And I’ve become quite good at it. Let’s say I hear three words of what someone says. Based on context and the words I did hear, I try and figure out the ones I did not hear. Basically, I replay sentences over and over again my head until I figure it out.

But sometimes this doesn’t take place as quickly as it should.

We have a schedule here now. I deal with Em during the day. I put him down for his daily naps and Tobyjoe usually takes the bedtime ritual. Whenever TJ puts Em down for the night, I run around frantically trying to clean up that day’s mess readying the apartment for tomorrow’s. It’s all about routine. I feel that about 75% of what goes into being a decent parent (and by “decent” I mean one who isn’t repeatedly smacking his or her head against the wall while puddles of drool form at their feet) is nailing down a schedule.

We finally tamed that beast. We finally have a schedule. And it’s finally working.

Granted, we broke a rule in order to get this to work. I hear it’s the Great Dental Rule. The funny thing is, I had no idea about this rule until after we started giving Em his nightly bottle. I had no idea it wasn’t a good idea to give a baby a bottle in his or her crib because of tooth decay. No clue whatsoever. We did it because it worked for us. We give him a bottle before bed, in his crib. He feeds it to himself and he falls asleep almost immediately.


I figure it this way, you’re given two chances with teeth, right? Hopefully the kid ends up with my genetic makeup where teeth are concerned. Here I am, 34-years-old and I haven’t ever had a cavity. (Knock on wood.) I never even had one when I had my baby teeth. Let’s hope he gets lucky. And let’s hope he doesn’t need a nighttime bottle whenever his new teeth are coming in.

Every night, Toby and Em play. After they play, Toby will get him dressed for bed, read to him, whatever, as I prepare his evening bottle. I drop it off and they do their thing. Occasionally Tobyjoe and I will text back and forth between rooms.




“Want relief? He’s fussy tonight. I will step in!”

You get the picture.

But then we had the great text-communication breakdown of 2008. (Damn ATT and iPhone over-saturation). Since that night (a story for another day) we’ve been practicing more reliable means of communicating—like picking up the phone and calling one another. (I know. Crazy concept. Even crazier? Walking from one room to the next to speak in person.)

On Thursday night while I was running around trying to clean up, the phone rang. It was Toby calling. I thought, Well, that’s weird. Why is he calling from the other room?

“Hello?” I asked.

He spoke deliberately and slowly in a creepy, hushed whisper. “AM. I. OK?”

Is he OK? I thought. Where is he? Why is he calling me to ask me if he’s OK? He has the baby! He better be OK! They both better be OK! Why is he whispering? HOLY SHIT! Who is in the house with us? Who is he avoiding?

“What?” I asked again? “What do you mean? Are you OK?” I tried to sound calm. But it was too late. The line was dead.



And then I remembered my hearing disability. Maybe I heard him wrong. I started to try and to figure out what he really said. I hadn’t heard anything—no big sound, nothing—so he must be OK. But what had he said?

I played it back again in my head.





“Oh!” I gasped. “M-I-L-K! He wants milk!”


  1. I have trouble hearing too. My husband has fantasies about the day he can buy me some hearing aids!


  2. you are a fantastic story teller:), Have you ever considered writing a children’s book, or a book of any kind, cause I would buy it:)
    I can’t hear either, ever since I had my daughter I feel like my brain has given up on me and anything that came naturally before her is a struggle now. Like speaking…I often come up with 2 words molded into one, I forget what I am saying in the middle of saying it…and at least once a day I replace a word in a sentence with a word that doesn’t belong there, like paper for blanket…etc. I get alot of strange looks from my hubby in those instances..I just hope it will gradually come back to me:(


  3. LOL omg that is just to funny!!!!


  4. Hilarious! That was today’s smile.


  5. Thanks, I needed that! So funny.


  6. Mihow!
    We have more in common than our deodorant brands.

    Most kids have fluid buildup when they are babies and grow out of it. My two sisters had it, but I grew into it, not out of it.

    I had my first set of tubes in 7th grade because a teacher was talking to me and I ignored her for about 5 minutes. Adnoids removed, and another set of tubes somewhere around 9th grade. Another set of tubes and turbinettes trimmed sometime around freshman year of college. A “T-tube” put it after one of my regular tubes fell out. I think the “T-tubes” are more permanent. Tonsils removed when I started graduate school (worst pain ever). And I’ve been on allergy shots for the past 4.5 years.

    I feel your pain, and I think I’ve missed a set of tubes somewhere. So now I have one set of tubes in my right ear, and knock on wood things are going ok. Not great, but livable. When doctors look at my ears all they see is white.

    How are Toby’s ears? Maybe Em got your teeth and Toby’s ears.


  7. Josh! Yes, the long saga of my ears. It’s never-ending. I am done with the operations, however. I can’t take another one. I am hoping they last me into my 50s. :] The ringing sucks, tho.

    Toby had great hearing but he destroyed his due to loud music and the like. (ALthough, he may try and say otherwise, it’s true.) So, let’s hope Em got my teeth, his ears, and his nerdiness.


  8. Dear Michele,

    Delurking to tell you you’re not alone in the hearing loss sector. I’ve had the tubes, the adnoid removal etc., but despite all that, my right eardrum collapsed due to several ear infections over my freshman year at college. As a result, I’ve had two tympanoplasty surgeries to repair my right eardrum—I even have a prosthetic ear bone in that ear as my collapsed ear drum rotted away my original. Today, my hearing in my right ear is diminished but my inner ear functions correctly (my ears pop on a plane.)

    So this long winded explanation to tell you my surgeon’s name: Sujana Chandrasekhar, MD. She is based in Manhattan and is AWESOME. If you feel live revisiting your ear situation, I recommend her highly.

    I know you don’t know me from Adam but I wanted to share this with you. If you have any questions, please send me an e-mail.



  9. LOL!!!! That is very funny hon. Except the part where you were freaked out wondering if he was ok.

    I have to say that I have a similar problem, but it’s self inflicted. I wear ear plugs to tone down and tune out well, the hubby. Yes, it’s true! He’s a chatty cathy, a chat-a-holic, a non-stop chatterbox, the never ending commercial from hell.

    Ok, ok, maybe I exaggerate a WEE bit. But not really. He does have a deep booming voice and tends to talk over everything and everyone. So, ear plugs it is. I can hear him perfectly fine. When I want to evil cackle

    I do admit to the “occassional” misunderstanding. Make up silly things that I think he may have said, just to get him to repeat himself.

    But I swear it’s in self defense. Really! He’s a regular Mike Meyers (same age too). If he’s awake, he’s talkin about something, saying something funny, or teasing me. Zing or be zinged! My blog has a section dedicated to him, it’s called “Shts” aka Stupid Husband Tricks :D

    Thanks for the story and the chuckle!


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