I have an acoustic neuroma in my left auditory canal. This is a non-cancerous tumor growing on or around the nerve that carries sound from my ear into the brain. The tumor interferes with the nerve, which means I can barely hear anything on my left side. This is sometimes merely annoying and sometimes a big problem, depending on the situation. And I'm trying to deal with the fact that I may need to have *brain* surgery while also facing the prospect of being permanently deaf on the left side at the ripe old age of 33. While also realizing that I have had a mild hearing loss on the right side, completely unrelated, since the age of 6.
Today I discovered how this may affect my children, and I'm now feeling incredibly guilty even though there's nothing I did to cause the AN in the first place. But I'm a mother, and guilt is one of the mantras of motherhood.
This morning, Brett got up when the baby did at 6am. He changed the baby and brought him to me in our room to nurse. Brett then went to his workshop in the basement since it's the only time of the day he can get uninterrupted time alone and h's desperately trying to finish our new dining room chairs. I lay down in bed to nurse Jonah and dozed off while he ate. When he was done we both went back to sleep, nestled together. It was quite cozy. There's nothing like snuggling with a 4-month-old baby. However, I was sleeping with my right side on the pillow, so only my bad left ear was open for hearing anything. (Bad Mommy!)
At 9:15, Jonah woke up and starting cooing and grinning at me. We played for a few minutes, then I picked him up and we went down the hall so I could change him. Once there, I discovered the door to Elliot's room open; Elliot was lying on his floor, kinda listlessly playing with some of his toys. And there were tears in his eyes and running down his little rosy cheeks. (God, I'm crying myself as I write this!) Apparently, he'd woken up and come running down to our room as he always does. Elliot found me curled up asleep with Jonah and completely ignoring him - since I couldn't hear him talking to me! Brett, in the basement, couldn't hear anything going on up on the second floor. So Elliot, after giving up on me, went back to his room to cry because there was no one around to pay attention to him and help him get dressed. And I have no idea how long he'd been up by the time I found him.
It breaks my heart that he would think him Mommy and Daddy weren't there for him when he wanted us. No 3-year-old should feel like that.
We're now teaching Elliot to tap my shoulder if he needs my attention. And I just know I'll cry everytime he does it, remembering why he has to.