Jacob, my four year old, needs glasses.
I noticed about six months ago that one of his eyes was drifting in. Hmm. Has it always done that? Dan, have you noticed . . .? Yes, my husband Dan noticed too. Jacob has always been a bit clumsy. I just assumed this was because he chose to ignore the objects in his path. A lifestyle choice, really. But it suddenly occurred to me that maybe Jacob isn’t seeing things clearly. Jacob’s eye began to drift more often. So, we did what any parents without a shred of medical expertise would do. We did our own eye exam.
Dan: Jacob, how many fingers am I holding up?
Dan: Okay, how many now?
Dan: Okay how many . . .
Jacob: STOP ASKING ME, DADDY. YOU KNOW HOW MANY.
Dan covered one of Jacob’s eyes.
Dan: Okay, Jacob look at my finger. Does it look blurry?
Me: First you should probably explain what “blurry” means.
Dan and I spent the next three minutes trying to find a way to explain the concept of blurry in four-year-old vocabulary. By the time we found the right words, Jacob was in the other room. Completely absorbed in something else.
Having (rather quickly) exhausted our ability to determine what was wrong, we called our beloved pediatrician, Dr. F. He recommended two pediatric ophthalmologists. (Let me pause for a moment to say that typing the word ‘ophthalmologist’ takes me about five minutes: three to type out most of the letters and another two to figure out where all the “h”s go. So, from here on, I will simply refer to them as ‘eye doctors’.) I called both. The soonest appointment I could get was two months later. With the colleague of one of these doctors. Whatever. Of course, in the two months that followed, the wandering eye seemed to finally find some direction. And wasn’t as noticeable. I decided to take Jacob to the appointment anyway.
The appointment happened to be on a Friday. The day that I am home with Emma, my one-year-old. About that . . . a year ago, I decided to reduce my work schedule and stay home with Emma on Fridays. A chance to give her a bit of extra attention while her delightful, but rather attention-demanding, older brother is not around. But, I never found quite the right way to tell Jacob about this. (OOPS.) So, as far as he knows, his baby sister goes off to daycare on Fridays just like any other day of the week. Honestly, I never thought I’d be able to keep up the charade this long. But somehow Jacob just never noticed. He’s never wondered why I have SO much to report to Dan about Emma’s day on Friday evenings. Or why we always drop him off at preschool “first” on Friday mornings (but drop Emma off at daycare first every other day of the week). Actually, Jacob LOVES getting to preschool earlier on Fridays. Why question it?
But would he question my illogical decision to “get Emma from daycare” (ahem) and bring her with us to that Friday morning eye doctor appointment? Not so much. Nope. It never even occurred to him. Bless that child for his complete lack of observation. (This might also explain why Jacob will occasionally ask me, straight-faced, “Where is Emma?!?” no more than two minutes after we have dropped her off at daycare. I always just assumed he was joking . . . Not so much. Nope.)
Jacob, Emma and I spent a good hour or so in the eye doctor’s waiting room. Funny thing. Despite the fact that this was the waiting room for a PEDIATRIC eye doctor, the room contained exactly ONE toy. To be fair, it also had a television set playing a DVD on a continuous loop. Which I imagine is super fun for kids to watch. ONCE THEY ARE GIVEN EYE DROPS. Anyway, they finally called Jacob’s name. He was run through a gamut of tests by a lovely assistant. And then, at long last, the eye doctor came in. NOT a woman who should be working with children. (Someone needs to have a serious talk with her high school guidance counselor.) She shot through that appointment like her white coat was on fire. And when it was time to put eye drops in my (suddenly timid) child’s eyes, she practically wrestled him down. Lovely. As you can imagine this left Jacob just THRILLED about the prospect of any future eye doctor appointments.
The verdict: Jacob is slightly far sighted in one eye. And will probably need glasses so that he doesn’t start ignoring his weaker eye. The doctor left it up to me whether to get the glasses then or hold off for a while and reevaluate. I talked to Dan and we decided to hold off. And then schedule a follow-up appointment. With a different doctor.
The four months passed. And last week we finally saw the other pediatric eye doctor in town. A friend of mine described this doctor as Mr. Rogers. And, yes, yes he was. Minus the sweater. And the trolley. Sweet, gentle, calm. But, he came to essentially the same conclusion. Glasses needed. At least for the next three or four years.
Okay. No big deal. In the scope of kids’ medical issues, this is nothing. But, as it turned out, a slightly thorny and rather expensive nothing.
The next day, I brought Jacob to one of the (very few) shops in town that sell children’s glasses. He immediately gravitated toward one particular set of frames. In HOT PINK. Yes, pink. Pink is currently Jacob’s favorite color. Now let me just say that, if Disneyland is the “happiest place on earth”, I grew up in the “liberalist place on earth” (if liberalist were actually, y’know, a word.) So, I have no problem with boys wearing pink. But now we’re talking about a VERY EXPENSIVE item that Jacob needs to wear. EVERY. DAY. For months, if not years. (Until he accidentally stomps on them while pretending to be a horse, dog, cow, robot, or character from “Wonder Pets”.) Am I willing to chance that Jacob won’t suddenly lose his love for pink over time? Or refuse to wear his glasses because another (less progressive) preschooler gives him a hard time about wearing pink? Not so much. Nope. Could we maybe go with something a little bit more neutral?
Cue child meltdown.
MOMMY. YOU. ARE. NOT. GIVING. ME. WHAT. I. WANT.
How about something in a nice cobalt blue?
About this time, one of the optometrists in the shop sauntered over. And asked if he could help. To which I replied that I wasn’t sure anything was going to help at that point. We left the shop. And I proceeded to call every other glasses store in town to determine whether: 1. they sold children’s glasses. (The answer was usually ‘no’.) and 2. they happened to have any hot pink frames prominently displayed.
So here’s something a bit ironical-like. The most helpful person I spoke with was at the optical shop connected to . . . the first eye doctor Jacob went to. I took Jacob there after preschool on Friday. The optometrist presented him with four frames in a variety of colors. He tried on some adorable wire frames that made him look like a little professor. But the ones he liked best were these.
They have a strap in back. But he liked them. I made him try them on about four times. And he still liked them.
They are virtually indestructible.