Once upon a time, not long ago, all was well with me and the batteries. I picked them up from a satellite campus of Children's Hospital each calendar month. I stashed them in my purse. I handed them out as needed. I had a responsible little girl. Julia was the model hearing aid user.
Occasional mishaps interrupted our orderly life: a battery lost and quickly recovered, a hearing aid worn for a few minutes with its battery compartment empty. It was only enough to cause occasional irritation, especially since I was the one most apt to open the aid and lose the tiny battery in my daughter's bed.
Things are a bit different now.
On a quick stop at my parent's house, Julia was enjoying some time on the swing. I couldn't get her attention to call her back to the house, but I didn't think much of it. I walked across the yard and retrieved her.
Fifteen minutes into our car ride home she says, "I need a new hearing aid battery."
"Okay," I say. "Give me the old battery and I'll hand you a new one." This is the standard procedure for battery swaps while driving. It keeps the size 13's from ending up under the seats.
"I don't have it," Julia replies.
"What happened to it?"
"Well, I was swinging and my hearing aid was squealing and it was annoying me and I turned it off and the battery fell out in Nana's yard."
Julia speaks exclusively in run-on sentence form when delivering bad news.
"So you have had one dead hearing aid for the past hour?"
This conversation was continued at home. It included Daddy and I figured it for a pretty good call to action for my now seven-year-old to get back on the responsible train.
A few days later, right after school....
"Mommy, I need a new hearing aid battery."
"Did it just start beeping?"
"No. It was beeping during math and I raised my hand and my teacher didn't see me or maybe she saw me but she didn't call on me and I was going to have to hold my hand up forever so I decided just to wait."
"Okay, I'll get you one, but I'm sure your teacher wouldn't mind if you just got up and changed your batteries during class. It is important."
I decided for unknown reasons to get batteries from the extra pack kept in Julia's own book bag. I pulled out the pack and found only two batteries left in the four pack. Closer inspection revealed they weren't seated in the pack correctly. They had stickers but the stickers were crooked. Julia put old dead batteries in back in the pack.
Dialogue ensued over this discovery, but it was fruitless. She had no reason for doing it. She knew it wasn't the right thing to do. "Sometimes I just like to do my own thing," she said.
It's an honest answer and the reason I will quite likely always have a pack of size 13 batteries in my purse.