I have diagnosed myself with an auditory processing disorder. Symptoms include the inability to hear more than one child at a time, an increase in blood pressure while receiving input into each ear from different children and mood swings directly related to the volume level in the house.
It’s amazing to me that I manged to graduate highschool and get a college degree with this disorder. The trouble I faced trying to study chemistry while someone’s radio blared is nothing compared to mediating an argument with three screaming kids over a never-ending chorus of mama, mama, mama, mama from the 3-year-old. My brain, obviously overwhelmed and overstimulated, short circuits and instead of thinking up ways to address the needs of the children, it directs me to the fridge for an iced coffee or glass of wine.
I mean, I love them all and I love talking to them about how hilarious Jar Jar Binks is ( real conversation I had today people) and the new outfit Barbie is wearing to Mass and then the Golden Corral buffet. I just can’t have all these conversations at the same time or it’s like listening to the adults in a Peanuts cartoon “Wwah, wwah, wwah, wwah wwah” coupled with a high-pitched yell in the back ground. When both the 3-year-old and 18 month old start yelling at the table, I’ve had to stop what I’m doing and check to make sure my ears aren’t bleeding.
And don’t even try to get me on the phone during the hours of 8 am and 8 p.m. because as soon as I put the phone to my ear, somebody will be at my knee explaining why another child is screaming in pain outside. Even the automated phone system is flustered. “Please give your ID number after the tone, beep” “One, zero-Mama, I didn’t mean to push her off the swing but, Yes you did WAAAHHHHHH…..” “I’m sorry, I couldn’t understand that number. To try again please say yes, or representative to speak with a representative.” “REPRE—- WAAAAHHHHHH…you did that on purpose…no I didn’t…(sound of wrestling take down move onto the dining room floor)….AAAAAAA!!!”
(That last one is me screaming. I would love to know if they were monitoring that call for quality purposes.)
I once met a lovely couple who had the quietest four kids I’d ever met. This was back when I only had two kids, one of whom only screamed or used the syllable ‘buh’ for the first two and a half years of his life. My husband and I were both amazed and asked their secret. They said they never yelled or talked loudly at their kids or each other so then, consequently, the children never got loud with them or each other. So we tried that for like, three hours the next day and haven’t gotten around to trying it since. I do know when I had laryngitis, and couldn’t say anything for a week no one else around here stopped talking. I actually resorted to wearing a whistle around my neck to get their attention; inside, outside, at church, every where. It was pretty awesome. I don’t recall why I stopped that.
I’m also afraid my condition my be contagious. As my husband and I were trying to hold a conversation, two children started talking to me at the same time. I, because of my underlying condition, snapped that they were interrupting and I couldn’t hear anyone talk when they all talk at once, which immediately launched them into passionate cries over who was talking first and a bunch of other nonsense which I couldn’t hear. My husband’s response was just to start saying repeatedly, “The noise! The noise!” and immediately end all conversations and walk off. But he’s still in denial because he thinks it’s a problem with the kids. I’m trying to be proactive, accept my disorder and find ways to better myself.
It’s to the point where I’m considering seeing a specialist to formally diagnosis, treat and beat this disorder. Perhaps, medication is in order, but I’d also consider alternative therapies. If it requires a week-long in-patient stay at a secluded spa somewhere, I would do that for my family. They deserve to have their mama at 110%. And you can’t put a price on your health right? And if my husband ever admits he has a problem, we can hopefully get a two for one deal.