Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy lab rat

Amelia's whining in her crib right now and I'm sure it's because she's over-tired.  Here's her normal schedule (there's a reason I'm posting this - I'll get to that later):

Around 9am :  Up for the day
Nurses, then a bowl of oatmeal with whatever pureed fruit I'm feelin' that day.
Top her off before her nap (the girl won't sleep without a full stomach)
10:30-11am :  Naptime (usually she'll sleep for an hour)
Nurses again, gets a veggie of my choosing
1:30-2pm : Naptime (usually she'll sleep for at least an hour and a half, sometimes two and a half hours)
Nurses then a bowl of oatmeal with, again, a fruit puree mixed in
7:15-7:30pm : Wipe down, jammies on
Kiss from daddy, story read by mommy
Kiss & cuddle with mommy then bed

So, for the last couple of days I've been taking her for appointments at the University of Washington Infant Hearing Lab.  Shortly after she was born, we were mailed something that asked if we'd be interested in her participating in research studies.  David and I both thought it might be interesting, so we signed her up.  David's a UW Alum and knows his way around the campus but no matter how he tried to explain to me how to get there, and no matter what the Garmin said, I still got hopelessly turned around.  Fortunately I made it with time to spare.  Time I spent driving around aimlessly looking for the designated parking lot.

The first day, I opted to carry Amelia the 2 blocks to the Hearing Lab.  If we lived in a normal city, that wouldn't have been such a problem.  But in Seattle, it's hills, hills everywhere.  It's downhill getting there, but wow, lugging 15 lbs of a baby back to the car, up hill, is not an easy task.  Not for me, at least.  I need to get in shape.  Luckily I could still keep at least some composure and not pant with my mouth gaping the entire way.  I get embarassed about that - the cars driving by and the numerous college students walking the streets could see me struggling to lug my baby up the hill and, you know, talk.  That's how narcissistic I am - everyone must be looking at me.

(If you want to skip my explanation, scroll down to the italicized font where I've put links you can follow to hear the process explained by people who know what they're talking about.)

Anyway, we're talking about the hearing study.  So we got there and, as usual, Amelia gets a lot of attention.  Babies usually do - especially when they're as cute as Amelia.  Friends of ours gave us an adorable outfit the night before so I put her in it then realized I didn't have a bow or headband to match.  So, I made one, put a piece of velcro on it so it didn't slip out of her fine hair, and clipped it to her head, right on top of that place on some babies' heads that pulses.  So, not only did she have a fancy bow.  She had a fancy bow that moved

Here's how the hearing study worked.  We walked in to a room that is kind of a "staging" area.  I signed a consent form and also a receipt of my check ($15 each visit which will go into Amelia's savings account -she earned it!).  Then I chose a CD from a very minimal selection of CDs.  The best I could do was Billy Joel's Greatest Hits.  I actually like Billy Joel so I didn't mind.  Since it's a "blind" study, the parent holds the child on his/her lap but must have headphones on so they can't hear what the child hears.

Then we walked to a room next door where there are two large sound-proof booths.  The person running the study sits on one side of a one-sided window and then her assistant comes into the other side with Amelia and me.  They place a foam-tipped earplug-lookin'-thing in her right ear and tape it there.  There are a lot of wires connected to it which they clip to her shirt in the back.  The entire time the test is happening, the assistant is holding up toys for Amelia to look at so she stays distracted. 

Apparently, the earplug Amelia is wearing plays a continuous beeping tone that is obviously there and she can hear it but it's not annoying or loud at all.  Then, every once in a while, the tone changes or another beep comes in.  The person running the study who is sitting on the other side of the mirror is looking for signs that Amelia recognized the tone change.  When she sees that Amelia heard it, she lights up toys in a glass box in the corner or turns the TV on in the corner for a couple of seconds as a "reward".  I was encouraged to bounce Amelia on my lap or clap to reward her when I saw the toys light up or the TV go on.  Amelia didn't give two flips about the TV or the toys lighting up - we couldn't even get her to look at them. 

The first day, Amelia was tired.  The appointment was at 2:15 so I didn't have time to lay her down for her second nap before we had to go.  Our time in the booth was, maybe, 5-10 minutes because Amelia would cloud up and rain every time she heard the noise.  If you know my daughter, you know she's not a crier, especially in public.  At the very least she'll just go quiet and straight-faced, but generally she's a really easy-going kid.  Apparently, she did not like the noise because she would turn toward me and try to grab onto my shirt to pull herself to me and cry when the noise happened.  I felt bad that we were botching it, but I really wanted to let her cuddle me even though I resisted the urge and tried to get her to face forward and keep going.

Today was much better. I think we must have been in the booth for 20 minutes.  All I know is that the first day I barely made it to "You May Be Right" on Disc 2 of Billy Joel's Greatest Hits, whereas today I got all the way through "Allentown".  Our appointment today was at 12:15, so Amelia was fresh off her first nap and wasn't quite tired enough for her second.  She was pretty solemn, but not grouchy.

After each test, we go back to the staging area and they stick a little rubber thing (I know, I'm so technical) in her ear that blows tiny puffs of air to make sure she doesn't have fluid in her ear.  Then, we're done!  The whole process, start to finish, lasts less than an hour.

(Okay - seriously I just wrote this entire blog then was able to find the actual lab's website explaining why they're doing what they're doing.  In about 2-3 sentences.  Ha.  Here's the link.

Also, here's the link for explaining the entire process.  In 3 very short paragraphs.)

Today, I wised up and brought the stroller.  It was actually sunny and almost 60° today which is about 10° above normal for western Washington for this time of year.  I had to break out the sunglasses for Amelia and for me. 

So, anyway, yesterday we picked David up from work on our way home since we drove right by Bellevue City Hall then rushed to eat dinner and head to Bible class.  We didn't get home until close to 9:30 and Amelia didn't fall asleep until 10.  Then, today she slept on the way home from the UW but didn't want to sleep once we actually got home.  She slept for half an hour and was done.  I put her back down around 5, though, and she slept for an hour and a half.  Then we ran some errands tonight after dinner and didn't get her in bed until 9 which she wasn't too thrilled about since she whined until 9:30 then fell asleep.  The poor child isn't used to being out and about.  I really should do it more - it was fun.

So, as usual my post is long and boring and I don't even have pictures.  I'm going to ask on Tuesday when I go back if they mind me taking some photos.  For posterity.  I don't know if they will let me, though.

Have a wonderful weekend!

1 comments commented:

Micah said...

Bless her heart. Hope she finally went to sleep for you.

Is it the weekend already? Where does the time go?? Did I accomplish anything this week???