As I lay here incapacitated from a stomach bug, (yep, I’m the mom that gets everything and I mean everything whenever any of my children get sick), I was thinking about my kiddos last week of school and all the conversations I had with other parents out on the playground. One in particular stuck in my mind and I decided it might be worth a blog post. So here goes….
This is the tale of how John and I clued into our oldest minion Colton needing glasses. More than a handful of parents, friends, and family have asked or are just plain curious as to what the tell tale signs are for eye problems for a young child. I wish I had a profound list of things you should be looking for but that would be a lie. `
Well, I would tell you that the first thing to look for is running into things such as walls. No, I am not kidding. I know from other parent’s whose children have glasses they watched in horror as their kiddos bounced off a wall here and there. Kiddos that need glasses also have a hard time with distance perception and sometimes identifying objects both close up and far away. Did we have these issues? Nope.
What did happen was Colton’s eye test at his 5 year old physical. The nurse was quick to note that he was having some difficulty with his right eye. She said it could be his age since they get nervous or quiet but she noted in his chart he had a hard time at his 4 year old appointment. Of course, they told us at his 4 year old check up to take him to the eye doc. Did we? No. Parent fail. Being the great parents we are, we said ok and pushed it to the back of our to-do list and it never surfaced. Honestly, Colton never seemed to have any problems at all with his eyes. So after his 5 year appointment and being slightly embarrassed, we vowed to move it to the front of our to-do list.
So a week goes by and the weekend begins, no appointment made for the eye doc but we head down to the pumpkin patch (an annual event). One of the activities at the pumpkin patch includes shooting paint balls at various sizes of pumpkins at different depths and heights. No judgement, please. I’m from North Carolina and what can I say, we enjoy shooting things! Yes, we let Colton shoot guns. He and his brother have more Nerf guns then we can count. Colton also has his on BB gun courtesy of his Papaw. He loves it! Do we believe in gun control and gun safety? Absolutely. His parents and papaw have lectured him and showed him the proper way to handle guns and we will continue to teach him as he ages. But I digress….
Colton wanted to shoot at the pumpkins and we obliged. Once the paint balls were loaded and John helped Colton into position, he aimed to take his first shot and both John and I noticed that he was sighting with his left eye. Well that is just plain weird and awkward looking. It happened again and again. John and I just stood back and watched and then looked over at each other. No words were spoken but we knew we had a problem. We covered his eye and he stated clearly, “I can’t see, Mom. It’s blurry.” Once again, John and I figured we deserved a large trophy for parents of the year! But you hear these stories all the time, right?! We all love our children and want what is best for them but they tend to milk us like cows more so than their teachers, caregivers and grandparents. They push our buttons like no one else and they know they can. So sometimes we think they are crying wolf. Well, not in Colton’s case. It was a complete fluke that we figured out he needed glasses but we should have listened to the medical professionals first thing.
Yep, I would say this isn’t the usual story of figuring out how your kid might need glasses but it is our story and personally, I thought it was a bit funny. We quickly went to the eye doc and he needed glasses for just his right eye. To help combat the problem, he wears a pirate patch on his good eye to strengthen the bad eye every day. He has been a super trooper about the whole thing although sometimes I get the whiny why do I have to wear a pirate patch. The alternative is dilating his eye with eye drops so that the weak eye has to work longer. Unfortunately, the dilation lasts a long time and Colton isn’t fond of going to school with a fish eye. Other than that little problems, the glasses were a big hit at school. I was worried that it would be a pain for him to keep up with and he wouldn’t like being different from the other kids. Neither was a problem. Most of his friends wanted glasses too and even wore sunglasses to look like him.
I can even tell you he has only broken one pair. I was surprised because he and his brother are a bit rough…and so are his friends. There is a great deal of wrestling everywhere! The glasses have survived and over time his eye is improving. We shall see what the future holds for Colton and his glasses!