Here is the next section of my diary entries....
But over time he got worse, he would rarely listen to us. We would end up yelling. He would get angry in return. He would yell back at us. We would then take away some of his privileges. He would just “take” them back. (E.g. tell him no more TV for the rest of the day, and then he would just say no and turn it straight back on) We would then send him to time out. He would retaliate by kicking and screaming the door down. He broke the lock on numerous doors. We all would end up exhausted and crying in utter frustration. We were at our wits end. We even tried smacking. We knew in our hearts this was not productive discipline, but we felt trapped in a corner. We had no answers and didn’t know what else to do. He became more aggressive in his general playing and in his approach to us and other children. He would smack us and Hunter. So we stopped that.
I used to cry a lot. Almost every day. Warren would come home from work and I would sob to him- “He’s (Indi) only 2 years old!! What has a 2yo got to be so angry about? What am I doing so terribly wrong?”
I read books on behavior. I researched the internet. They gave me some ideas to work with. I would discuss all these ideas with Warren. We would get a renewed sense of possibility, of hope. We tried these ideas for a week or so. They seemed to work. No yelling. No aggressive behavior. Then slowly but surely things would slip back to the old ways. I’m not sure if Indiana instigated this change or we did, unintentionally. He just had this perfect way of pushing both of us to our extremes.
Then I decided to get another hearing test. What prompted me this time was a book by Kaz Cooke called “Kid Wrangling”. I discovered a section about Glue Ear. Kaz listed a variety of symptoms for this condition. To our surprise, Indi had ALL of these! He always asked for the music/TV to be turned up. He didn’t always turn around when we call his name. (I always thought he was ignoring us or simply not listening). He got ratty and irritable in situations with lots of people everywhere. I asked Warren to read this Glue Ear section of the book. Shocked, he agreed with me, this must be what Indi had. So I took him to the GP.
No, He does not have glue ear. I was actually disappointed. I think I really wanted a reason for this behaviour. I needed to know it was not just poor parenting. Then I started to think more about the symptoms of Glue Ear. Why does Indi have all the symptoms of this hearing problem? So I booked the hearing test.
Oddly, I felt quite optimistic about the test. I was reasonably sure he would pass it. He passed the last 2 tests. Indi and I arrived at Audiology, Geelong Hospital. He was in a good mood, and very co-operative. He was very excited by the game he could play when he heard the noises. He started off really well. Then, as the noises became softer I could see he started to struggle, but still hearing them, just. Then he missed one. Then another. I felt unsettled. I started urging him with all my heart, willing him in my mind- “There it is mate, that’s the noise, c’mon; you can do it, put the block in the bucket”. My mind was desperately screaming at him. But he continued playing obliviously. The feeling in my body was very disturbing. I had to force myself stay on the seat and do nothing to help him. I vaguely hoped that maybe he was just ignoring it!
But, for some absurd reason, I was still absolutely shocked when the Audiologist said that he has some hearing loss. I thought that it can’t be very serious. Maybe it’s just a minor infection that needs antibiotics. At worst, maybe he needs an operation to fix the problem. But no, that was not the case. Indiana was permanently hearing impaired. He had nerve damage in both ears. It was a forever thing. It could never be fixed. He had a moderate hearing loss in both ears. They had very reliable and conclusive results. But it still hadn’t hit me. The audiologist went on to say that Indi would need help, in the form of hearing aids in both ears. Clunk! There it was. It suddenly hit me. It hit me so damn hard I stopped breathing. Nothing more went into my head, although she continued talking for a while longer. I could only burst into tears. I was absolutely devastated.