Every six months, Sydney and I take a drive up to Portland to see our dear ophthalmologist Dr. Landon for an eye appointment. That first appointment was kind of traumatic for us, just in learning that Sydney needed glasses, that she was far-sighted, that her eye crossing inward wasn't a temporary phase. Since then, however, Sydney wearing glasses has become pretty normal for us. Each time we have an appointment, we go in with fewer fears and worries. Sydney wears glasses. No big deal.
Although for as much as it's "no big deal," it has certainly had no small effect on her personality. We're pretty sure that she was born with poor vision, which explains a lot of the kinds of personality quirks she had as a baby. She always cried if we were very far away from her...probably because she couldn't see us. She never wandered away from us in public places...probably because she didn't know where to go. She rarely smiled at strangers...probably because she couldn't recognize the expressions on their face. I'm sure plenty of kids are like this--even with perfectly good vision--but it makes sense why she was like this, considering.
Although she is a typical kid at home--silly, energetic, smiling, ready to laugh at anything--out in public she can be very shy, reserved, even sullen at times. I'm guessing those first twenty months of not being able to see very well are responsible for this. I used to worry about this because sullenness is, well, not endearing. She's gotten better though, through a lot of role playing and coaching at home.
"What do you say if someone says you have pretty hair?" (the comment she receives the most)
"And why do you say thank you?"
"Because it's polite." Yes, indeed, good manners matter.
Even at random intervals during the day I'll say, "What pretty hair you have, little girl." To which she smiles and says, "Thank you, Momma." Nevermind that we might be creating pint-sized vanity; she has to learn to be polite.
On the upside, having glasses has given her opportunities to develop positive character traits. She's learned responsibility through taking care of her glasses. She's learned to be careful, knowing not to put her glasses away with the lenses down, or to call for help if someone (including her sister) grabs for her glasses (which resulted in the only time I have publicly scolded a kid in Spanish for taking Sydney's glasses). She's very detailed oriented with a keen eye for puzzles, a trait she's learned from having to memorize where things are when she doesn't have her glasses on to see.
I have to keep all these positive things in mind as I process the newest development in Sydney's vision. Last Sunday, I had planned to write about how we've adjusted so well since the initial diagnosis. I remember reading through the first post and thinking, "Wow. We don't even worry anymore about Sydney's eyes." I recalled with understanding Gretchen's comment about how glasses are just part of who her son is. I didn't think I'd ever get to that point, but I did. I am. Sydney wear glasses, and for the most part the only thing we worry about is Jules breaking them (again) or when we'll be able to teach Sydney to clean her glasses without our aid.
Then I heard Dr. Landon say, "Since her eyes are still crossing, then I think she should wear bifocals." She went on to explain how this would work, and I nodded and kept my face free from emotion. "Of course," I said when she was done. "We'll get the prescription filled this week." I haven't filled it yet.
Truthfully, I'm doubting myself a little, knowing that Dr. Landon made the prescription based on my comment that Sydney's eyes still cross when she's looking at something up close. It's a true observation, but maybe I've overreacted.
I don't know why I'm feeling the way I am. In a matter of seconds, I went from patting myself on the back for my fabulous adjustment, to wishing that Jason was there to hold my hand on the drive back from Portland. Jess's comment last week helped me realize that bifocals aren't the end of the world; Sarah's comment has me considering getting a second opinion, which I had been thinking about anyway. Both comments helped me take a deep breath and clear my head a little.
So, here, a week later, I'm feeling a little less bravado. And here, a week later, I'm feeling a little less worried.
Welcome to this marvelous world we call parenting.
(c) 2008 Creature Bug. All rights reserved.