Four eyes

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Our four-year-old has glasses.

Our four-year-old. Has glasses.

This all came about rather unexpectedly. A local Lions Club offered free vision screenings at Ollie’s daycare and I signed off that he could be tested. Thinking, you know, cool! That’s very nice of them, thinking of the children and all.

Ollie’s results came back “refer,” meaning they recommended we take him for a full eye exam. And I put it off. And off. We had zero indication that anything was wrong . . . aside from the occasional squinting. He never complained about his eyesight or acted strangely. Of course, why would he have? Ollie didn’t know what “normal” vision was. Apparently he never has.

Our guy has a major focusing problem, and these new glasses — big things, with thick lenses … much thicker than I was expecting — are to be worn full-time. Hearing those words filled me with dread. This is a kid who never, ever stops moving. Who plays “the floor is lava” anywhere and everywhere, scaling furniture like an agile squirrel. I had immediate visions of a pair of glasses smashed to smithereens beneath a sneaker, trike, or toy tractor.

Mama got that insurance plan, I’ll tell you that.

After a week of daily “Are my glasses ready yet?” questions, we finally picked them up on Saturday. I’m writing this late on Sunday with a surprising amount of glasses-related relief coursing through my veins.

I know it is very early days … we can’t get all excited about victory yet. But Ollie has already taken to them much quicker and easier than I would have dared to guess. I’d asked his optometrist for tips about what to do if/when a kid refuses to wear their specs, and he’d explained that — after the initial break-in period, tough with any new prescription — most kids realize they are seeing through a new lens (literally), and wear them willingly.

Ollie is not “most kids,” however. He’s spirited. “Persistent” is an understatement. And when he decides he is not doing something, he is not doing it. No incentive in the world can make a dent toward progress. (See: potty-training. For years.)

But we’ve been pleasantly surprised so far. From the moment he slipped them on, his eyes as dark and wide as I’ve ever seen them, it was obvious that he was experiencing the world in a new way. Ollie was positively giddy, awestruck. I was reminded of getting my first pair of contacts after refusing to wear my own glasses for years: the world in sudden technicolor, each blade of grass alive.

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Ollie kept them on through most of today, even through some pretty active stretches. The only time he asked to take them off was when he was eating pizza, so he “wouldn’t get sauce on them.”

I know we’re not in the clear yet on the journey to Glasses Acceptance. Tomorrow is Monday, a preschool day, and I feel flutters of anxiety thinking about the classroom reaction to our big-hearted boy. My mama instincts twitch at the idea of my kids being marked as “different,” though I know we are all different and that is perfectly OK. Great, even!

Will four-year-olds agree? I don’t know. But if anyone calls him “four eyes,” here’s what I hope Ollie will still be able to see:

  1. Goodness in himself and others.
  2. Beauty in life’s little moments.
  3. The value of wisdom over simple textbook knowledge.
  4. How much it matters to be kind.

That we can’t always protect our children from the world is a painful parenting moment. How do we get used to that? Can we get used to it?

I realize that, in typical Meg fashion, I am worrying about something before it has happened. It might not happen. I didn’t think Ollie would agree to even wear the glasses, and look! Maybe it will be fine. Maybe everyone will love Ollie’s specs the way he does.

And if not? Well … we’ll be there.

In my own glasses, too.

 

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15 thoughts on “Four eyes

  1. They look so cute – I hope he’ll just take wearing them in his stride. He’s probably not alone having glasses so young – I was actually at my optician’s recently and mentioned to the staff that there were so many childrens’ glasses on display and that it was unusual when I was young. Their response was very positive, not saying eyes are getting worse, just that we are testing kids earlier and recognising sight can be improved. I hope your son continues to wonder at all that he’s been missing. My own son was told yesterday he needs glasses – and he’s 22 – he hadn’t said anything to us but he’d recognised he possibly needed them. I wonder how long he’s been missing out on things!

  2. I probably needed glasses much younger than when I first got them. But I had no idea that the way I saw the world wasn’t the way other people saw it. And when I did get glasses (aged 8), I refused to wear them. Stubborn child! A couple of decades later, I’m a happy glasses and contacts wearer.

    Oliver’s glasses look very sweet!

    • Same! I got them at 6, but probably needed them earlier. I used to only wear them to school until my parents took me to the circus and I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I couldn’t see anything! From then on I wore them full time until I got contact lenses in middle school. I’m sure he will do great!

    • I was similar, Grace — I got them in second grade but don’t remember wearing them consistently until I was 15, when I desperately wanted my driver’s permit … and obviously couldn’t (and shouldn’t!) be driving without my glasses/contacts. I felt so awkward in them, but thankfully the stigma definitely doesn’t seem to be there as much these days. ❤

  3. Believe it or not, Meg, the days of kids calling one another “four eyes” have almost disappeared. If you look carefully or talk to the other parents at Ollie’s daycare about their other kids, you’ll notice that way more kids are wearing glasses than maybe you first realized (I know, because my older daughter got her glasses pretty early too.)

    And I hear you on having a, um, determined child. My younger daughter is like that. When she was little, if she didn’t want to do something, I could have offered her anything under the sun and she refused. So I feel ya! Just hang in there, and don’t be afraid to put your foot down on the important stuff.

    Happy Monday to Ollie (and all of you :>!)

    • Thanks so much! I think you’re right — Oliver’s first week in glasses has gone very smoothly, and everyone at school made a big (happy) fuss when we walked in last week. I’m so relieved.

  4. Glasses are a fashion statement these days! My son got them in the second grade and, if anyone ever teased him about them, I never heard about it. I became VERY good friends with a man who repaired glasses for those first few years.

    • You’re right, Kathy! Ollie has been so excited to wear them and, to my knowledge, everyone thought his glasses were “cool” this week. 🙂 He’s the only one in class with them, but so far I think he feels special and not singled-out. Only hope that will continue!

    • Thanks, Steph! Ollie has had a good first week with his glasses — much better than I would have dared to hope. I don’t think anyone has given him a hard time … and I talked to his teachers a lot about the issue, too, and feel they have his back if anything comes up. Let’s hope!

  5. My daughter got glasses in April. She was 13 months old at that point. We knew that at that age it’d be tough for her to keep them on. But the first time she put them on, she had a huge smile on her face. She’s near sighted, and then also has an astigmatism in one eye. The past week or so she’s been doing really good with keeping them on, but before that it was hit or miss. I think it helps when they are put on very first thing in the morning.

    • That is awesome, and so sweet! Ollie also gave us a crazy-big smile when he put his on, so we knew we were on the right track. So glad they are helping your daughter so much. Agree that first thing in the morning seems to be helping … and thankfully, we haven’t had to ask him too often — he’s been reaching for them on his own.

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