Can you hear me now?

We received a letter from the health department today. RE: "your child." It turns out she failed the hearing exam at school. Twice. The letter says that "your child may have a hearing loss that is medically and educationally significant." We're supposed to take our daughter for a more formal auditory evaluation.

This notification from the health department, while slightly alarming, is at least marginally better than the one my sister received: "your child may have head lice." My niece did, indeed, have lice. At this point I can't even call my sister's house without itching and scratching all the while. I may have to unfriend her on Facebook just to be on the safe side. Those little nits are pretty tenacious, you know.

So, it looks like I'll be making the kid an appointment with the pediatrician on Monday. Then I guess we'll see where we go from there. Her pediatrician (well, an assistant) did attempt to carry out a hearing test at A's four-year exam back in May. She didn't fail the test, but she also didn't pass. The evaluator filled out the report to say she was unable to properly assess my daughter. The problem was that the kid couldn't seem to remember to put her hand up when she heard the beeps. The tester could see that A's expression changed slightly every time a beep came through her headphones, but the little goober couldn't seem to coordinate the two (hearing + hand-raising). I was told that it's not uncommon for a four-year-old not to fully comprehend the test so I didn't give it a second thought. Until I got the letter.

I don't want to be in denial, but honestly, I think my daughter can hear just fine. The problem is that she doesn't listen. Two totally different issues, I'd say. She can hear perfectly well when you use words like santa, candy, park, or chocolate milk. Phrases like "brush your teeth" and "it's time for bed" are mostly met with silence.

In other news, Gretchen and I were in the local holiday parade today (with the kennel club where we train). I was going to bring Gideon, but he started limping at the last second. I wanted to take him, because he is better with other dogs than she is. Gretchen actually did fine, with the exception of punching a Dachshund in the head and doing the "You wanna a piece of this?" routine with a black Lab. I don't know why, but something about black Labs just seems to chap her ass. She always wants to take them down.

After the parade, I stopped at a craft fair. Guess what I bought? No, not a "snowmen fall from heaven unassembled" plaque, but good guess. The other little witticism often spotted at craft shows that makes me spit up is "don't drive faster than your angels can fly." Why, oh why, must I be so cynical? I blame my parents. This afternoon I made vegetarian chili using a handwritten recipe my mother gave me years ago. Here is what she wrote for me: "add a little of the cayenne. Most people are not as candy-assed as you when it comes to spicy food, so keep this in mind." It is a wonder I am not in therapy.

Anyway, in case you haven't guessed, I bought a hula hoop. One of my web clients conducts hooping classes and somewhere along the way she convinced me that this is a legitimate form of exercise. The hoops are weighted and you can immediately feel the impact on your torso. I figure that when the snow is hip-high this winter, maybe I can spend 15 minutes a day in the basement hooping. Apparently one can burn something like 600 calories an hour this way. Mary was selling the decorated hoops at the craft fair and when I spotted her, I heard myself saying "What size hoop do I need?" and then shortly thereafter I was writing a check.