Photo: Augh, I look a mess. But… yay! First train ride selfie!


Ursa Minor had a doctor’s appointment in town yesterday and, because it was with a specialist, I could only take him and not bring his brother. The Husband stayed home with Major and I decided to Minor a treat: A ride on “The Purple Train,” also known as the commuter rail.

Major has taken this trip before. As a special birthday treat last year, he got to take a weekend ride with daddy while Minor and I stayed home. Minor, pretty cool about such things, didn’t fuss too much at the time and hadn’t really asked after it, though it was clear he really wanted to take a ride someday too. I knew he could handle it and I didn’t feel like fighting with traffic anyway, so off we went.

Childhood is magic. I swear it is. Or maybe the commuter rail staff are especially friendly…? Anyway, it just felt like the folk on the train went out of their way to be friendly to my littlest bear. I also think that I am a little romantic about the train in general: the sound of the bells, the handsome young conductor who welcomed us on… I loved how he diligently checked his big golden watch at each and every station, making sure we were on time. And have you ever noticed the crazy-fast way they punch the holes on the tickets? There is also something about the way the world passes by as you go. Scenes seem to come up and then flash away as if aberrations from another space of time.

Then you transfer to the Red Line and allllllll of that romance goes away.

Ok, not all of it. But you come out of the fantasy and get smacked real hard with reality. The first thing Minor did was squirm in my lap and tell me that it smelled funny. I chuckled and held him close. I miss the city. Even the T. The different faces and bodies and behaviors are all interesting. So different from how I’m living. Variety matters, you know?

Anyway, Minor loved it the way a child would. He held my hand tight as the gigantic marvel pulled into the station, sat in my lap and held on tight as we pulled away… his eyes never left the window. It was all so very sweet.

Of course, the journey had to end. At the doctor. The Audiologist, to be specific.

Minor’s ears tested funky during his well-baby birthday check-up in April. The doctor saw flu in his ears (he’d been sick) and she asked us to come back in a month. He had a pretty protracted illness that was only exacerbated by  seasonal allergies, so when we saw her again, I didn’t expect much improvement. We went back in May and, though she couldn’t see any fluid at the time, the computer came back with another “refer.” Thus, the appointment with the audiologist.

The Husband and I have never been concerned about the boys’ hearing. Vision? Yeah. We’re both sportin’ eyewear (The Husband has been wearing glasses since elementary school). But hearing? Nope. Minor has seemed to acquire language at a normal rate, and he speaks very well and seems to understand everything that we say to him (within reason). So all of this has been a surprise. I told my mom on Sunday that I expected everything to come back normal this time around (He’s not sick anymore).


The audiologist hooked him up to the fancy machine and did a bunch of measurements. When she took the headphones off after the tests were over, she said something along the lines of, “His ear drum and ear muscles are not effectively responding to the full range of sound.”

Furthermore, though the computer at the pediatrician’s office stated that the right ear was the problem, at the audiologists’s lab, it was concluded that the left ear is the one with the biggest problem.

So…I’m a bit befuddled.

And she didn’t really explain. She went into more tests. This time performed by her. She put another set of headphones on Minor, went into another room, asked him to point to objects in different ranges (loud to soft). He responded to the full range.

She did another test where she asked him to put a peg in a styrofoam mat whenever he heard a sound (different pitches and volume). He responded just about every time.

“Has he found a way to compensate?” I asked her.

She seemed annoyed. “Nope.”


She concluded that he needs to see an actual ear doctor, but that his hearing is fine, as far as she can tell. She said that if he is very far away from me and I’m yelling, he might not hear me. But otherwise, up close and normal volume, that child can hear just fine.

So… what? And why are you annoyed that I’m asking questions as if that’s not a normal thing to do? Isn’t it your job to make this make sense for me, this child’s mother?

I want to say that I’m relieved, but really, I’m confused. The computer says his ears aren’t working properly. He doesn’t seem to have a problem at home. He didn’t have a problem in the booth. You say he’s hearing just fine. But, you want me to see the Ear doctor (who is different, I’m assuming)? What… why doesn’t two plus two equal four here?

So I have a bunch of data with little interpretation beyond what I already knew: Computers don’t like my kid’s ears, but my kid seems to be just fine. I have to wait a month to see this Ear guy. I have no idea what he’s going to tell me. I’ve decided to pester my pediatrician’s office tomorrow to see if they can give me the information about his ears that makes sense. I hate it when the medical professionals act as though something is hella obvious when it’s clearly not.

The boy got a butterfly sticker and some french fries at the food court out of it. And a day on the train… and I got the memories, which is always something. But I also have another month of worries. Hopefully, those will subside. It’s always something with this child, I swear!

It’s a beautiful June night, Dear Reader. Get off your device and read a book in the twilight. 🙂

See you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.


4 thoughts on “A Little Trip, A Little News

  1. I had to go and see an audiologist once, after a double ear infection damaged something inside my ears. They, too, said I had perfect hearing according to their tests, but I’m pretty sure that’s not true. I find it hard to ‘filter’ sounds (so I always watch TV with subtitles and find busy places very stressful). Not sure how much of that is my ears and how much is my brain, though!

    Audiologists are a funny bunch. Kind of hard to tell what their test results mean except some numbers on a bit of paper.

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