Saturday, January 07, 2012

Hot pink makes everything better

Today my baby girl picked out her first pair of glasses. 

With a little help from us and the extremely knowledgable folks at Woodlawn Optical in Redmond, she picked a pair that are hot pink on the outside, and bright orange inside. I wish they made them in my size.

We took her to the eye doctor last month because I had noticed one of her eyes crossing inward occasionally.  I wasn't sure if I was making it up, or if eyes were supposed to do that, because really, how often do you look that close at someone's eyes?   But the doc confirmed what he saw at her exam a year ago - her eyes are farsighted, with one significantly worse than the other.

She could read the letters and numbers on the standard eye chart to the 20/30 line so she's not having trouble seeing, but the good eye is REALLY overcompensating for the other one.  So in order to train the muscles in the weaker one, the doc recommended glasses. 

My heart sank.  My gorgeous girl, in glasses at age 2?  I've had horrible vision since I was 9 so I'm no stranger to glasses.  But I wasn't ready to hear that my baby needed them already. 

Not because I thought her toddler friends would make fun of her.  They don't talk much, yet.  At least not to each other.

I just don't want her to become "the little girl with the glasses".  I don't want her to have to worry about wearing them when she's running, jumping, climbing or throwing balls around.  I'm not looking forward to that first couple of weeks when she doesn't want to wear them and we can't make her understand *why* she has to keep them on all the time.

It's not that different from managing her dairy allergy, but it's so much more visible.  I don't want people making assumptions about her - that she must be very careful, that she shouldn't get dirty, that she is quiet and studious, that they need to talk loudly and slowly, or any number of other things that adults think when they see a tiny girl with glasses.

For me, this is one of the harder parts of being a parent. Making your child do something she doesn't like, because you know it's the best thing for her long-term. Pretending to be excited about it, in the hope that she will get excited too.  Feeling like I can't protect her from people who are going to say stupid or hurtful things.

Maybe I'm overthinking this.  I hope that when the world sees her rockin' her supercute hot pink frames, they see my smart, funny, serious BabyT.  Not as I see her, because I've got my mama-goggles on.  But as an interesting little person just like any other 2 year old.  


  1. I got glasses when I was 2.5 to correct my eye-crossing farsightedness. When we went back for the 6 month checkup, the doctor seemed incredulous that I'd been wearing them, but he could tell that I had been. Seems it made it easier to do stuff, when I could see it and there was only one of things (when I cross my eyes, I see double, but they're both sharp images, rather than e fuzzy I get when I don't cross my eyes). After that, the doctor learned to order a half-dozen spare bows for any glasses I was given, because I'd break them what with wearing them while I climbed trees and wrestled and stuff. Nowadays they can make less fragile frames, so I usually get those... ;)

    I suspect she'll take it better than you did. Getting them when you're 2 is easier an getting them when you're a tween, from what I saw...

  2. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think many people stigmatize kids with glasses anymore. I could check with Adam, but I don't think he even has an association between glasses and nerdiness or reserve. (And seeing as how his dad and I both happened to be among the very few people at Caltech who didn't need corrective lenses, it's a minor miracle that he, as a Caltech x Caltech kid, has perfectly normal vision.) If you're totally confident about the glasses, I bet she will be too and it will rub off on the people she meets. When I was 2, I had to get caps on my four upper front teeth, so I had a big ol' shiny silver smile. I never thought twice about it. My mom was really worried that kids would tease me when I went to school, but the only thing I ever heard about them was that other kids were jealous and wished THEY could have shiny teeth too. (And now they probably do, maybe even with diamonds.) I guess maybe I was so completely unembarrassed about them that no one thought they were freakish? Anyway, she looks totally cute in the glasses--they suit her. :)

  3. I think she looks adorable in those glasses!

    My two year old would think it was really cool to have glasses, I think. She's always going to get her sunglasses when she sees me in my glasses (I wear them at night, after I take my contacts out).

    But I can understand your worries. I hope it all works out great for you. There was another blog I came across once written by a mom whose toddler had glasses. I wish I could remember which one it was! It wasn't the focus of the blog, but it did come up from time to time. If I remember, I'll come back and leave you a link.

    Incidentally, I'm debating the merits of ditching contacts and wearing my glasses all the time now. The styles are so nice these days. If it weren't for the fact that I have an unnatural love for my Maui Jim sunglasses, I might already have done it....

  4. I am actually surprised the doctor went with glasses, but that's only based on my experience with Sam. We discovered he needed vision correction at his 4-yr check up, but they said he was too young for glasses. They wanted more time for his eye muscles to develop. It wasn't until he started complaining of headaches that they let him get glasses. Maybe it is because while he has wildly different problems in his eyes (one has 20/20, but an astigmatism and the other, well he couldn't read the big E), he didn't have any eye crossing.

    I have heard from a lot of parents of young ones with glasses that once they realized how much better life was when they could properly see, they had no problems keeping the glasses on the little ones.

    Sam hasn't really had any problems being told to be careful, etc. He was only "teased" once, and that was a kid telling him he looked different when he took his glasses off. Not a big deal, really. We have the most problem with other kids wanting to touch the glasses.

    I do understand your concerns, though. You are already doing a great job instilling confidence in who she is, and you just have to keep that up. Her glasses will just be a part of her, and a part of what makes her T.

  5. One thing that occurred to me as far as making sure she keeps on kicking a** and taking names is to be sure to have extra glasses around. So she won't be worried about getting them dirty or breaking them. I know you don't *want* her to break them, but I think you also don't want her to know that you're worried about the glasses getting broken, you know? You and TJ are by far the most influential people on her, so how *you* react when she starts getting messy / rowdy etc will have the most influence. And so she will continue to be perfect in every way. :)

  6. She looks adorable! I've worn glasses since I was 6 and I know, it's a pain, pain, pain. But on the plus side, I was the coolest kid in school for about 10 minutes because I was the only one with glasses, and also, did I mention that your daughter is ADORABLE? Seriously.

  7. Hey I promised a long comment! Here is a post I wrote to Alex the night before he got his helmet:

    There is something so hard about having people SEE that your child is different, you know? We did get some weird and rude questions, but mostly it was a non-issue. In fact, it helped ME be more outgoing and just directly talk to people about Alex's head and why he had it. And it made me SO empathetic to kids who look different. SO GOOD.

    Anyway I agree with others, glasses are so common in kids now that I think it will be a non-issue. There are at least a couple of kids in both the boys' classrooms who have glasses and it is really not a big deal.

  8. Thanks to every one of you for your lovely comments - that really means a lot to me. I know it's small in the grand scheme of things.

    @riffraff814 not sure if you're someone I know in person, but thanks for letting me know your own experience with glasses! Seems most kids' opticians have all kinds of warranty programs, which is good!

    @Rachel - thanks. I hope you're right re: glasses - I definitely see littler kids with them now.

    @Cloud - if you can figure out the right frame size, you can get really cool glasses online for REALLY cheap. I have a couple of funky pairs that I love and will likely start wearing them more often when T gets hers.

    @adrianne - this wasn't for her vision, but to strengthen the eye muscle, and it was specifically because she's crossing her eye to compensate. Fingers crossed, she'll only have to wear them for a couple of years.

    @Stephanie - yes to extra glasses. Our optician has a special deal for the second pair, so we'll go back for those pretty soon, probably.

    @Lynn - thank you! we think she's pretty cute :)

    @LauraC - thanks *so* much. I read your post a long time ago, but needed to see it again now. Hugs.

  9. My siblings and I (there are 4 of us) were all sitting around the other night after a family dinner at my parents when one sister pulled out my brother's baby photo album to show off to his girlfriend. (because, y'know, we're family and as his three older sisters we think it is hilarious to show his girlfriend photos of him in a dress/with his hair in pigtails/as a seriously chubby baby etc) - and we started laughing about how 1980's our glasses all were. Yes, all four of us had glasses.

    My next-younger sister had the wonkiest eyes (surgery at under 1 year! and glasses + eye patches etc at 1!) Her eyesight is still terrible, but the pay off is that they tested my eyes much earlier than they would have otherwise, and instead of getting glasses when I was older, I had them at 4. By the time I was 13, my eyes had been re-trained and my vision is now fine without glasses. My brother was the same (glasses not required in high school) but both my sisters still wear glasses.

    Anyway, my sisters best effort as a toddler was ripping her glasses off and throwing them under a bus. Followed by burying them in the garden... Good luck!

  10. @zenmoo - thanks for sharing your experiences as well! So good to know about people who had glasses really young!


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