Eloïse had her annual weigh and measure appointment at school on Wednesday. They also did vision and hearing tests. The hearing test was the type where you wear headphones and raise your hand when you hear a beep.
Over the last few weeks I have found myself saying “are you deaf?” to her enough times that it had occurred to me that it was a good thing that she was having a hearing test. So when Ian came home and immediately asked me if she’s ever had her ears checked my heart sunk. She never had the newborn test because she was born at home in America and the complete lack of infrastructure surrounding home birth means that there’s nothing in place to facilitate hearing tests for babies who aren’t born in the hospital. When we moved here we asked for a hearing test when we first went to the consultatiebureau, but they only have the machinery sitting around for 2-week old ears. She was 3 months and in order to arrange a hearing test we were going to have to jump through some hoops. We eventually decided not to jump through those hoops because we could see clearly that she could hear.
Apparently at the test at school Eloïse only raised her hand for one beep. The woman turned it up to 60 dB and she still didn’t hear the beep. Shit.
I told Ian that my suspicion was that she was confused by the directions somehow. He assured me that he had questioned her at length and she had definitely heard only one beep. At school pick-up time Ian questioned Eloïse’s teacher. She had also never noticed her having a hearing problem. But she told us that one boy in her class is extremely hard of hearing and no one would ever know it because he compensates so well with lip-reading. But it’s pretty hard to get Eloïse to look at your when you’re talking and she always responds verbally so I didn’t see how that could be the case with her.
When she got home I questioned her about the test. She told me that she only heard one beep on the first test and no beeps at all on the second test. I said “didn’t you hear anything at all?” and she said “I heard oo-oo, but not ee-ee.” Ah ha. “How many times did you hear oo-oo?” “Lots, but that wasn’t what I was supposed to listen for!”
She went back for a repeat test the next day and passed the test. Case closed. It’s funny because at the parent evening the teacher was going on and on about how the current group of kids is really attentive to detail (read: anal) such that she can’t get away with anything. If she promises that a certain book will be read four days later and a different book is read, they will point it out. If she tells a story differently, they correct her. If she moves something from its usual spot, even something that they don’t play with, they ask where it has gone. When I heard about this class make-up I certainly recognized Eloïse’s personality in it. I guess it’s no surprise that she took the directions to listen for the “beep” very literally.
In unrelated news, this is a picture of Eloïse’s latest school craft project. It’s a spiderweb that she made all by herself. She is very proud.