‘So Shannon,’ the doctor said leaning back in his chair. ‘How can I help you today?’
I gestured towards my youngest daughter, sitting on the floor playing with a toy. ‘I’m worried about her speech,’ I told him. ‘No one understands her.’
‘I’m not sure how much of it is just being the youngest child and the fact everyone speaks for her, but she is significantly less articulate than any other three year old I know.’
My daughter was smiling wildly at the doctor who then produced an otoscope. Her smile dropped and she moved behind my chair. After watching the ‘let’s look in Mummy’s ears’ charade, and having succumbed to her own ear examination, she then started to explore the room.
‘I asked the teachers at day-care, and they said they had actually been discussing it and think it needs to be checked out. And if they think there’s a problem, then I am very happy to take their advice.’
My daughter climbed up onto the examination table and proceeded to throw the pillows and sheets on the floor. I stood up and manhandled her back onto the chair, replacing the pillows and attempting to straighten the sheets.
‘Cwacker mummy,’ my daughter said beelining towards my bag. I hastily unwrapped a rice cracker, which she licked and then handed back to me.
The doctor had turned to his computer to find the details of a local speech pathologist, and when he turned back, she had closed the curtains that shielded the examination table, and was doing ‘ta-das’ very loudly as she threw them open.
‘I think it’s good to get these things started,’ he said as we watched her twist herself into the curtains, nothing but a pair of little yellow sandals visible, and hysterical giggling from within.
‘It’s good to get these things looked at,’ he said. ‘No harm done.’
‘Yeah,’ I agreed, watching her throw the pillows back on the floor. ‘If there’s nothing wrong with her speech and hearing maybe they’ll just diagnose her with being obnoxious.’
He smiled wryly.
‘I don’t think you’re overreacting,’ he said before closing the door gently behind us.