children, eyesight, gratitude, health, kids, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Walking the Walk

A typical Snellen chart. Originally developed ...
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I had my annual eye exam yesterday.  I figured if I volunteer for Vision is Priceless and I expect my boys to go through all the machinations of maintaining their vision and eye health, then I should be first in line at to get my own eyes tested.  It was painless, quick and I finally ordered a pair of prescription sunglasses.  Trust me, daily driving in the Floridian sun demands dark shades.

During the appointment I felt disproportionately anxious and emotional to what was actually happening.  Here is why:

1.  I was awake.  Folks, that’s pretty much all it takes for me to feel disproportionately anxious and emotional.

2.  Having to go through some of the necessary and slightly uncomfortable steps of my eye exam, like the pressure check with puffs of air and dilation drops, made me sad that my boys have had to do so much of this stuff at such an early age.  I don’t like having to stand by and watch them cry as they get dilation drops or the doc struggles to keep them still to get a photograph of the inside of their eyes. 

The woman that had walked me through the first steps of testing leading up to my actual exam asked me if it was all going alright.  I confessed that I was thinking of my boys and their eye history.  Since they are very well known at the optometrist, she understood my meaning.

She said that actually I’m quite lucky that my boys  have been to exposed so much to doctors.  She said she has fifteen year olds that refuse some parts of the eye testing because they are scared, defiant and/or crying. 

So, my concern will no longer be feeling bad about their familiarity with all things medical and optical.  I will be thankful they are learning to respect doctors and any tests that are required of them.  My real concern is that soon, T.Puzzle and Full Speed will attempt to usurp the testers and run the show, equipment and the eye testing all on their own.

It’s a fine line for sure.

vision has never held these boys back, not one minute, not one second. We are very fortunate.

 

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Glasses. Wear Them. Love Them.

T.Puzzle’s new glasses had finally arrived.  There was only one minor problem.

He refused to wear them.

As I sat facing him in the optometrist’s office with his new glasses neatly folded in my palm, I ran through possible actions or threats to get him to comply.

I could validate his sense of injustice at having to wear glasses that actually fit snug on his head (as opposed to his very old, very stretched out former pair).  Maybe if he felt ‘heard’ he’d be open to reason.

Or

I could square up my shoulders, look him dead in they eye and say, ‘Put the glasses on.  If you don’t, you will go to your room when you get home and you won’t come out until you decide to where them.”

I assessed the people milling about the waiting room.

Yep.

They looked like the judgmental lot that we mothers are so used to encountering.

I knew I was going to look like a Mom-with-no-soul (T.Puzzle’s baby face and dimples make him look like an innocent lamb) but I went for the second option anyway.

As my threat of being sent to his room reverberated through the office and T.Puzzle wailed, a ripple of compassion went through the air.

I heard things like, ‘bless his heart,’ and ‘he doesn’t like how they feel, poor thing.’

The technician who adjusts the glasses swooped into the room with his pliers at the ready.  “I’ll loosen them for him.  Maybe that will help.”

Since I already had long surpassed the coddling route I decided to go all the way with it.

“Nope.  They fit just fine (they honestly did).  I have dealt with stubborn boys for years.  He will wear them as is.  Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but he WILL wear them.”

I took the glasses and dramatically placed them in my purse.

“Well, T.Puzzle, we better get home so you can go to your room.”

“Nooooooo, Mommy!  I do wear them!  I do wear them!”

And simple as that, he did.

Not five minutes later away from prying eyes, he was perfectly content and proud to wear his new ‘big boy’ glasses.

T.Puzzle sporting his new glasses just minutes after his adamant refusal.

So at this point, Mom sent herself to her room and will be refusing to come out until further notice.

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Eye(mazing)

boys play matchbox cars to pass the time at the ophthalmologist's

We are seated in the tiny eye exam room.  I am so beyond stressed that I actually feel kind of calm.

These visits to the pediatric ophthalmologist are not without uncertainty.

Will Full Speed test well?

Is T.Puzzle in a cooperative mood?

I try to convince myself it’s no big deal.  I mean only the future of my children’s vision is at stake here.

We wait for the eye doctor.

She breezes into the room with grace and confidence.

She clearly adores my boys.

This helps.

Full Speed is an unexpected rock star of vision testing.

He tests 20/40 in his right eye and 20/30 in his left.

I almost faint.

He then proceeds to read a line of print so teeny-tiny, I’m positive that only someone with superhuman eyesight could read it (no, it’s not that I’m old in the least and had to squint to read the line myself).

I almost faint again.

I get goosebumps on top of my goosebumps.  My heart fills with immeasurable gratitude.

It hardly phases me that T.Puzzle is mostly uncooperative.  He holds steady at 20/50 and 20/70.

I’ll take it.

During this arduous process of eye surgeries, doctor’s appointments and visits to the ophthalmologist, I have learned that I cannot control the level of vision that each of my boys will attain.

All I can control is how I feel about it.

And today for the first time in my life, I feel absolutely amazing about their vision.

This is one of the best days ever.

children, eyesight, kids, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Hold My Hand

This week’s beautiful weather has afforded me the use of a bike to pick up Full Speed from kindergarten.  Mad Dog’s bike has a nifty trailer attachment that turns any regular bike into a tandem.  Full Speed loves it and so do I.  Whenever I greet him outside the school the first thing he says to me is, “Bike, today?”   His face lights up when the answer is yes.

As I grabbed his hand he shared some about his day as we headed to our bike.  He loops his hand through mine out of habit.  He doesn’t need to because we only cross through a crowd of people to reach our bike.  I don’t tell him not to.  I know my days of holding his hand are numbered.  I do my best to memorize the weight of his hand in mine and note that it feels fantastic.  Oh, how I will miss this.

“Mom, I had a vision and hearing test at school today.  I think I did really good for the hearing and I did just okay for the vision.  There’s a paper in my backpack that tells you all about it.”

I can’t help it.  My stomach lurches a little at the thought of reading his vision test results.  Just because I think his vision functioning is more than sufficient for school, doesn’t mean that the school nurse will agree.

When we get home I open his bag with trepidation and read the results.

20/50 for both eyes.  There’s a note attached that he needs an eye exam pronto.

Now my job will be to delicately explain to the school nurse that Full Speed’s had regular eye exams since the tender age of 20 months old and 20/50 vision is downright spectacular for him.

When I speak with the school nurse later I tell her only a slice of Full Speed’s vision history.   Over time I’ve learned that once you have a label, especially one with a medical diagnosis attached, it is hard for people to classify you as anything other than that.

So far I think I’ve been able to strike a balance for Full Speed.  I send him into new situations without disclosing any of his vision issues, and let everything unfold in its own time.  Right now, all he is to the world is an inquisitive and bright kindergartener.

And I’m the lucky lady who gets to hold his hand.

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Bad to Worse

I had the delusion that I would take T.Puzzle out for a lovely lunch (his choice) on his last day before returning to preschool.

Instead, this is how he behaved at the eye doctor’s:

Then, it went from bad to worse on the ride home…

We are clearly tired of going to the eye doctor.

Lucky for us we get to go back in three weeks.

Rock. On.