I'm dealing with ds's first ear infection also - it's tough, isn't it?!
I had tried to read what I could online and I *thought* I read that ibuprophen (motrin) was better for an earache.... but then maybe age was a consideration.... It is hard to see them so uncomfortable though, but I hate even giving ds motrin (he's 4.5). But it really works. I would try the numbing drops first - if J is comfortable then you don't have to worry about anything else.
Also to try is some garlic oil - either warm some olive oil w/crushed garlic cloves in it (strained, of course!) or use a garlic oil capsule and then use a bit of cotton ball to "seal" it in the ear. Also a hot water bottle or heating pad is supposed to help. I say all this, but we've still been dealing with this for over 4 days now!
It's interesting - they didn't try to push antibiotics then?