Moms of more than one child -- how much do you depend on your hearing? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-01-2003, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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We have been seriously thinking about having a second child. There are many, many variables, but one thing that I just can't quite imagine is dealing with two kids without being able to "keep an ear" on one while dealing with another. I'm deaf.

I have deaf friends with more than one kid, but none of them are AP. They are all very regimented, mainstream, "it's 7:00 PM so off to bed with you, won't see you again until 7:00 AM" types. I'm, um, not.

Obviously, I could deal with whatever if I do decide to have another kid, but I'm really looking for some honest sharing of your experience to help me decide.

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#2 of 9 Old 07-01-2003, 04:58 PM
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Dd is 2, ds is 7 weeks. Honestly at this age DD isn't really out of my sight for more then a few moments at a time she's till a baby kwim? In our house we work hard on making sure the house is safe so that if she is alone for a moment the worse she can do is make a mess she wouldn't get hurt. So yeah when she's out of sight I am listening for her but I would check her after the same amount of time whether I could hear her or not. So I don't really think I depend on my hearing that much. For naps etc ds sleeps in the sling on me so I know how he's doing. Dd sleeps on a bean bag on the floor beside me (just a note we've only been doing this since she was 18months when I felt she is big enough to get out of it easily)
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#3 of 9 Old 07-01-2003, 05:36 PM
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That's a very interesting question, and one that I had never really considered. I'm not sure how much I depend on my hearing; I think at this point I depend more on my older kids to check on the baby.

I can understand your question, though. But I think that there are some technological things that might be able to help you--like the baby monitors that have lights as well as sound output. I used those some when my older children were little--and I preferred the lights because I found them to be more reliable than the sound.

And I think Janessa's right. You'll probably have both of them with you most of the time anyway. It would probably be easier than you fear.
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#4 of 9 Old 07-01-2003, 06:06 PM
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the only problem I could see would be jumping in the baths during naps when they are little.. but they make decent TV Moniters around $100 you could mount in certain key areas

If they both sleep in your room you could use one in your bedroom that you turn on when you take a bath

& when they get older make one play room & put another in there to sit in the kitchen so you could clea..cook.. etc

our house is on the small side & our kitchen & living room open to one another.. so I donr think I have to rely on hearing a large amount..

I do with my son at night because hes disabled & on a moniter at night.. but thats a different situation & one that could be worked around if needed

I think its definetly do abled
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#5 of 9 Old 07-01-2003, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies.

I do have technological stuff -- a video monitor, and a flashing light sound system. The system is of very limited use. It flashes whether dd dropped a toy, is crying, or is singing.

What I haven't seen addressed yet is "keeping an ear on" the OLDER child while dealing with the baby. If I got pregnant now, dd would be about 3.5 when the baby is born... I can think of a lot of trouble a 3.5-yr-old could get into. :

Also, it's NOT just about standing there, listening for the baby's cry. (That's the simplest sort of thing to figure out.) It's more like -- how much time do you spend communicating with your children while you wash dishes, or cook, or do laundry?

I cannot communicate with my daughter unless I am looking at her. This has several implications in terms of doing household things or having time to myself. She is fairly good at playing by herself, but she is a toddler, and wants interaction. I want to provide it. Finding ways to do so is already an enormous challenge with one (I used to read about a book a week, and am now down to a book every 6 months or so -- I cannot look at the page while listening for trouble.)

If a few of you could go through your regular day and kind of keep this question in the back of your mind -- could I do this if I were deaf? What about this? -- that would be excellent.

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#6 of 9 Old 07-01-2003, 08:09 PM
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I am hearing and have been involved in the Deaf community for the past 20+ years. Most of my Deaf friends have plenty of children. I don't know how AP they are though. Basically, I think that what's important with AP is that you listen to your children, not necessarily that you do all they want. Sometimes you have to explain that you're busy and will play with them later. Even, I as a hearing mother, have my children go play by themselves when I'm cooking dinner. I just need that transition time for me.

A 3 1/2 year old is also pretty old if you ask me. She can deal for the time that you will be attending to the baby. Also remember that the "baby" is only a baby for about a year. After that they're a toddler and you'll be running after both of them.

This week I had a 5 year old, 2 year old, 1 year old and a 6 month old. The issue wasn't my hearing, but the number of arms I have (just the standard 2). Everyone wanted to be held at the same time so I mostly just sat and had everyone sit on me. The 6 month old was a child I was doing respite for so he's gone home.

With little ones my hearing is not so much what I use as my eyes and my body. They are just about always in my presence. Then with my 5 year old, the rule is he has to come find me and be face to face with me to talk with me because I don't want the yelling across the house. Soemtimes I misunderstand him if he's not right there.

I think you'll totally do fine. having a second child is just hard because you always have an older one whose life has just changed, but after a year or so everything calms down. Good luck.
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#7 of 9 Old 07-01-2003, 08:27 PM
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Aileen -- we have the same rule about not yelling for each other across the house! Its a great rule. I myself tend to get caught breaking it the most though... :

Sozobe -- I answered your post earlier and just discovered that my post vaporized. Weird.

Anyhow, the gist of my post was that I think it would be a heck of a lot more work (and its already a lot) to take care of my two kids without being able to hear them. (They are also 3.5 years apart.)

After I read your post, I realized that I *do* rely on my hearing a heck of a lot with my kids. In fact, I walked upstairs thinking about your post to pour a drink for my younger son, and had no sooner started when I heard my kids screaming at each other and could tell it was heading toward a volitile fight -- I wondered what would have happened if I had not heard and gone back down to intervene... who knows.

My 6 year old takes a bath by himself while I tend to the younger one. He makes little noises constantly in there, and splashes a bit -- if it gets very quiet for more than 2 mintues -- I go check on him. If I couldn't hear him -- I would feel like I should be in there -- and that would be hard with a younger one to care for, esp. because he now considers himself "too old" to share a bath with the younger one while I'm in there scrubbing them, etc..

There are probably a million situations a day like that -- the kids playing outside while I open a window to keep an ear out, etc..

Let me just say though -- that although it would be more work, I think it would still be doable -- and of course, I wouldn't give up either of my kids whatever challenges presented themselves. I think you probably know best about how hard it will be. Being harder to do does NOT meant that your kids would be at a higher risk. I think you would (and could) keep them safe.
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#8 of 9 Old 07-01-2003, 10:05 PM
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I don't think that I depend on my hearing that much. My hearing is fine, but I have some auditory processing issues so that I can't really understand the kids unles I stop what I am doing and look at them anyway. At age 3 1/2, a child can learn to come and get you if they need help. I rely a lot on my intuition and my other senses, though.
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#9 of 9 Old 07-01-2003, 10:48 PM
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The only real big challenge is what mamaduck mentioned -- when the fighting starts, I can hear it and intervene.

In all honesty, I think that a lot would depend on the layout of your house. In my house, the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and livingroom are on the same level so we are all on the same floor. I never have to go to a different level of the house to do anything when I'm alone with them. In doing my daily activities (dishes, laundry, etc.) I typically have to stop what I'm doing to deal with them. It has nothing to do with hearing, it is more about respect. I'm typically looking at them when I'm talking to them.

I think that APing would make it easier for you. You will be used to stopping what you are doing to deal with them. At first the baby will likely be on you, so that won't be a problem. What you may have to resort to as the kids get a bit older is gates. For example, if I were going to be folding laundry in the livingroom, I could gate the hallway so that the only place the kids would have access to are the living/diningroom and the kitchen which all connect. I wouldn't have to worry about what they were doing back in a bedroom and if anyone was hurt.

The video monitors are also a good idea. You could have them installed in the bedrooms or other areas that are typically out of your siteline. If the monitor is portable so you can take it from room to room and plug it in, that is even better.

It would be more effort for you, but I think it would be doable and worth it.
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