As you noticed in the Thanksgiving post, the Tiny Dark Lord is wearing glasses now, and Bebe McGooch had these questions:
. . . how did you find out he needed to wear them? My husband and I both had terrible vision until we got the laser-eyes, and I keep wondering when it's time to take C in to get his eyes checked (although I keep thinking he needs to talk first in order to communicate acuity, so I was going to wait until he's three).
For about the last 6 months we'd been noticing that the Dark Lord's eyes kept crossing. We asked his pediatrician and she said that was pretty normal. She gave the name of an ophthamologist to call if the eye crossing didn't clear up on its own. It didn't, so we took him in. Actually, I took him in, by myself, and it was awful. The doctor was very nice and patient, but the Dark Lord was having absolutely none of it. They had to bring in extra nurses to help me hold him down and pry his eyes open while he screamed the entire time like he was being dipped in boiling tar.
I was curious about how eye exams work with babies, since it's not like they can read lines of letters or tell you which image is clearer. But the doctor explained that he just dilates the pupils and shines a light in there--the way the light behaves once it gets in the eye tells him what he needs to know. Patient input is more for fine-tuning the prescription at the very end. Which . . . I had no idea.
While waiting for TDL's pupils to dilate, the doctor said he most likely had a very common corrective disorder that he would grow out of--"Or," he tossed in as an afterthought, "he could be farsighted." Which I interpreted to mean that I was just being a first-time parent hypochondriac person. But as soon as he got the light in TDL's eyes he was like, "WOAH, farsighted." Then, to determine the prescription TDL was going to need, he held up various lenses between the light and the baby's eyes until he was satisfied that he'd found the right one. All while TDL bellowed mightily and struggled with the strength of ten water buffalo.
So. Farsighted. By a lot. Which, to me, meant that all this time he hasn't really been able to see my face or the pictures in books or any of the things that are right in front of him. And then I almost started sobbing on account of all the awesome Mommy Guilt (plus all the screaming and flailing from earlier, and then the part where TDL threw up in the car afterward).
I found the Little Four Eyes website later that day, which was really helpful and encouraging, and it made me realize just how many tiny kids are in glasses. It's kind of crazy to think that, unless there is something noticeable happening, we don't check kids' vision until they are about 5 years old, which means they could have spent the last five years wandering around not being able to see well. So my own answer to Bebe would be to just take your kid in now--it can't hurt, and if he does need glasses they'll be able to tell.
Then began the fun time of Glasses Shopping (hint: not actually fun). The first place we took him was Wal-Mart's optical department, because hey, if he doesn't like trying on glasses and starts screaming then that's just one more child screaming in Wal-Mart, amarite? Turns out that was a good choice because oh, the screams. So much of screaming. Like we were trying to pluck his eyes out with a fork. We tried to bribe him with M&Ms, which not only did not help but now means that every time we go back to the store he looks at me and makes the sign for "chocolate," because now he knows they keep such things there. And no, we didn't find anything there. The one pair was small enough for his face was, like, beigey pink and super ugly.
Over the next week, we went to a couple of different optical stores, and it was just discouraging. Not only did we have to pin his arms down at his sides while we put glasses on his face (cue screams) but all the frames I like (the chunky rectangular nerdy frames) were made for older kids and were much too big for the Tiny Dark Lord. For the littles it's all wire frames and dorkiness. And yes, the employees at the optical stores explained that this was because toddlers are really hard on their glasses and the plastic ones don't hold up to that kind of abuse very well, yadda yadda broken expensive glasses facts blah.
Finally borrowed a Sam's Club card and checked out their optical department (which it turns out you DON'T NEED a membership to use!). I'd pretty well begun resigning myself to the idea that cool nerd hipster frames were just not in the cards yet, and then the technician showed me these little metal frames that she recommends for the little ones because . . . and then she twisted those things into a flipping pretzel. And even though my stomach dropped to my knees watching her do it, it was also amazing. So I asked her to do it again--while I flinched.
And then the real miracle happened. I put them on The Tiny Dark Lord and he didn't cry. He just wore them like it was nothing. So when GH got home from work I told him all about it and we decided to go back to check them out together.
We had to rush over after dinner, so please try to ignore how unkempt and homeless we look. (Yes, TDL's shirt is too big and yes, that is chili on the collar. From lunch.) I figured, hey, Sam's is related to Wal-Mart so the same rules apply. For Costco, now, we would have dressed up. Again, TDL wore them. He ran all over the store in them. Taking this as the direct sign from heaven that it was, we ordered the glasses, paid for them, picked them up a few days later, and . . . the Dark Lord wouldn't wear them. At all. For anything. My parents, chatting with me over Skype one night, asked how the glasses were going. Wordlessly, I took the glasses out of the case and held them where TDL (who was on my lap at the computer desk) could see them. He started shrieking, grabbed the glasses out of my hand, threw them on the carpet, and smacked me repeatedly in the chest. Which I think summed up the situation quite well.
But then Spitfire made it her personal mission to turn TDL into a glasses wearer, and I don't know what trickery or magic she used, but it worked. We also went back to Sam's and they re-adjusted the frames so they weren't slipping down the baby's nose, which helped too. And now, for the most part, he wears them. The problem is that when he decides he's done, he yanks them off and chucks them on the floor where one day one of us will step on and break them. I bought one of those straps that is supposed to help keep his glasses around his neck, but he hates the sight of it and won't put the glasses on if the strap is involved. Will have to put Spitfire on the case there, I think.
The chunky rectangular frames will have to wait a few years, but that's fine. He looks so cute that I can't even stand it. Plus he can see, which is a bonus.