Julia has been learning to insert her hearing aids in her own little ears. It was going well. Then without even thinking anything of it, I handed her both hearing aids and went downstairs to make dinner.
Julia had just spent and hour in our big bathtub pretend swimming. Bathing suit, snorkel, diving rings, and goggles; she had the whole deal. Afterward, I had dried her hair and tied it up while she was still naked. When I left her she was diligently working on her right aid.
She was supposed to finish with the hearing aids and then go put on clothing. Thirty minutes passed as I worked on assembling tacos and making some Rice-a-roni. I was enjoying the time as I thought she was entertaining herself.
Then I hear a soft voice, "Mommy, I can't find my magic ear."
I abandoned the Rice-a-roni to find a strangely dressed child wearing one hearing aid. She lost a hearing aid and just wandered off to get dressed. Ever think of looking for it before you go put on your Little Mermaid dress?
"I can't find the other one," she says.
"Where is it?" I wanted to know. I guess that was a dumb question. She didn't know where it was.
I started the sort of frenzied search that never allows a person to find anything. All the while I'm bombarding her with questions in a raised, unhappy voice. She just sat on my cedar chest in the same place I left her when she still had two hearing aids. She seemed unaffected by the drama that was playing out.
All kinds of thoughts went through my mind: toilet, chewing by dog. I wondered if she hid it on purpose. I tried to collect myself and sat down with her.
"Tell me exactly what happened," I told her. "Start with what happened right after you finished putting the first one in."
"I took the other one," she said while taking a deep breath, "and I threw it up in the air. I'm very afraid it's on the ceiling fan."
For crap's sake. If you can imagine, I really do pseudo swear even in my own mind. I headed downstairs to call for reinforcements.
I had to flag the Dad down because he was mowing the lawn. I explained the situation to him and he immediately began searching the bedroom with me. He asked her to explain what had happened. At that moment she began to show emotion. Mom had been flipping out for 15 minutes but suddenly having to tell Dad what happened made her feel all BAD.
"You are not ready for a slumber party," I hissed.
Then I moved the cedar chest and found the hearing aid safe and sound underneath. Lots of deep breathing later we decided as a family that she might still have her slumber party reward if she can demonstrate responsible hearing aid care in the meantime. Not throwing the things at the ceiling fan will be a good start.