When Littles are Sick

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When your kids are older, and you look back, you can see different their personalities that were poking through as they were tiny babies.  Aubrey was a good sleeper early on.  She didn’t like cuddling much, and loved food.  She’s almost 6 years old now, and she is still a great sleeper (she still naps people – I LOVE THAT!) and still isn’t a huge fan of cuddling, and loves food (specifically, sweets. She’s the only one of my kids that lives and dies for dessert).  Luke was NOT the sleeper.  He was a cuddler (maybe that’s why he hated sleeping?) and fiesty. Always seemed upset about something.  At 4 years old, he’s still very much the same.  He still loves to cuddle (and says he will be staying with me forever) and has a temper. I swear it’s the red hair.

Then there’s Ryan.  Ryan was pretty mellow – went with the flow.  Slept ok, was ok if his naps got moved around a bit.  He brought awareness to us with his Plagiocephaly helmet (read about our journey here), and has maintained that awesome third kid chill that he had so early on.

This past winter, though, I started to notice something.  It seemed as though we were ALWAYS at the doctor with ear infections for him.  Aubrey & Luke would average one a season.  By the end of February I think Ryan had 3.  I asked his doctor early on about Tubes and she said to wait until after the winter season to see if he would still have the infections.

Mamas, trust your gut.  I noticed the pattern with Ryan wasn’t that he was screaming in pain from his ears like it was typical with the other kids (or me. Yes, I had one in january as well. oh joy).  He would have a mild fever a day, then a few days later be slightly congested, and after a few days of coughing, I’d take him in and ear infection.  Only one time did he seem to express actual pain in his ears.  I asked his pediatrician and she offered the response that the buildup of fluid was probably more slow than normal so he didn’t feel the increased pressure.

After his 5th ear infection (which happened while we were on vacation in San Diego) I was done.  We contacted a local ENT and he said that Ryan was the ideal candidate as not only did he have such an extreme amount of infections, but he also was showing signs of delayed speech.

ent ear tubes for toddlers

(Ryan on the eve of his surgery)

Ryan is currently 21 months old and does not have a single word.  He does say Mama, but it is not specifically for me.  He understands us, can follow instructions, but his speech has been affected.

Back to my story.  So we had the appointment scheduled for the beginning of August.  Before the appointment, he ended up with another ear infection, just about 12 days before the procedure.  That was number 7 for the year.

The morning of we got him up at and out of the house by 6:15 and we arrived at 6:30.  The night before I loaded up some of his favorite shows in the iPad from Netflix since I wasn’t sure if there was wifi there to kill some time for the 1 hour before the procedure.

download tv shows on netflix

The shows came in handy as there was a whole lot of fun things Ryan wanted to touch in the waiting room.  I kept him on my lap and had the iPad going the whole time to keep him from taking all the coffee stirrers and cups and tossing them all over the waiting room 🙂

ent ear tubes for toddlers

We were taken back into the pre-op room and we were given a little toddler hospital gown to wear and we had some fun with taking Selfies.

ent ear tubes for toddlers

We knew the tubes procedure itself would be super quick (about 15 minutes) and it was.  Ryan was given gas to put him under anesthesia and as soon as it wore off he was ANGRY.  He was crying hysterically, super strong, and did not want to be held.  We knew all of these symptoms were completely normal but it was still super exhausting and emotional.  After we got home, he got a bottle and we both took a long nap.

It took a few days for him to go back to his normal self.  It’s hard to know how much his hearing has improved and if he’s more sensitive to noise. It is always very loud at home.  His post-op appointment for the tubes went well and we’ll be heading back in 4 months for another hearing test.

In the meantime, I’ve contacted our local Regional Center to start the process for some early intervention with speech delay.  I can tell he’s trying to copy our sounds more, but I want to make sure we can also learn the best way to have him close the gap on the speech.  He’s starting to get extremely frustrated due to us not knowing what he wants, and him not being able to tell us.

I wish I could share with you how amazing he is with sign language to tell us he wants more, or wants milk, water, or is all done.  I only learned a few signs when Aubrey was a baby but all that has been forgotten.  I guess another case for the Third Child Syndrome.

Just wanted to share another update with our family.  I’ll keep you posted on this new journey we’re starting because I know it’ll be quite an experience!

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