“I can SEE!” said the blind boy

A little while back I suspected that Monkey might be having some trouble seeing. (I think this was because he’d developed the habit of reading with the book resting within an inch of the tip of his nose.) I took him to the optometrist for an exam and they said no, his vision was only very slightly off (like, maybe 20/30 instead of 20/20), and he was fine. Probably we should tell him to hold the book a little further away.

I told him to hold the book out further, and he did. End of story.

Except that while Monkey was away on this last trip with his dad, my ex called me up one day and said, “I think Monkey needs glasses. When’s the last time you had his eyes checked?” He may or may not have said it in an accusatory way, but of course all I heard was “DAMN, WOMAN, YOU ARE A TERRIBLE MOTHER. THIS CHILD IS BLIND, YOU NEGLECTFUL WHORE.”

I went ahead and made an appointment for Monkey to have an eye exam a couple of days after he returned.

Naturally, I went back to the same place I’d taken him before, which is not actually where Otto and I go, because my ex has vision insurance for him and the kids and we don’t have that. This is completely unimportant except that it means I am less familiar with the place I took him, and as I was filling out the paperwork, the optician asked me when Monkey had had his last exam.

“Um, I’m not sure,” I admitted. “But it was here, so I’m guessing you have it in the computer. Maybe a year ago? 18 months?”

The optician clicked around for a minute. “2009,” he finally announced, drily. Oh, you know, last year, three years ago, WHO’S COUNTING? Whoops!

Monkey chattered happily through the preliminary put-your-chin-in-this-machine sorts of things, though he did express deep suspicion over the puff-of-air-in-your-eyeball glaucoma test. (I can’t say as I blame him; that’s my least favorite, too.) Finally the optometrist came out to get him, and the actual exam commenced.

Sitting out in the waiting room, I heard a lot of “E! No, wait. B! Hang on. I think it’s a… is it a P? I need a hint!”

I was invited in at the end, and informed that Monkey’s eyes were “just starting to need some help,” and that he should feel free to take this first year in glasses to “get used to them” and wear them only for distance vision. “Take them off at the computer or while you’re reading a book,” the optometrist said. I listened closely to all of this, but Monkey was raring to head back out to the waiting area to pick some frames.

The optician was waiting for us. “Do you have any REALLY NERDY frames?” Monkey asked. “I want to look as nerdy as possible.”

“Too late!” I quipped, leading him over to the children’s frames.

The optician was left there, blinking rapidly, but as Monkey continued asking about which frames were the most nerdy, he recovered and walked over and leaned down to quietly tell my son, “I prefer the term ‘geeky,’ myself.”

I allowed him to try on a thick black-rimmed pair so as to fully indulge his inner nerdling, and then we set about actually finding him some appropriate frames.

About the third frame he tried was quite nice. “Oh, I like those,” I said. “Take a look.” He admired himself in the mirror.

“Me, too,” he said. “I like that they have the… the…” he gestured at the bottom of the frames.

“Those are called semi-rimless,” I said. “You like that? Let me find you a few more like that to try.”

“Why aren’t they called semi-rimmed?” he asked. I shrugged. “They SHOULD be called semi-rimmed. Or semi-rimful.”

“Yes, dear,” I said, handing him another pair.

Eventually we went back to that first semi-rimless pair and decided they were the ones. The optician took some measurements, wrote up our order, and told us to come back in a few days.

“Are my glasses coming today??” was the morning refrain for the next few days. And then one day the heavens opened and the angels sang, because we got the call that YES, his glasses were in!

When the optician put them on his face, Monkey let out a quiet, “Whoa.” We chuckled. He kept whipping his head around, reading every sign in the general vicinity, while the poor optician was trying to make adjustments on the frames. (I am quite certain we’re his very favorite customers.)

The drive home was sort of like the aftermath of Helen Keller finally spelling W-A-T-E-R. Monkey read every single sign to me. He pointed out bumper stickers on cars. He saw a BIRD in a TREE and did I have ANY IDEA there were BIRDS THERE??

Television viewing that night was studded with declarations of “USE PRODUCT ONLY AS DIRECTED!” and other fine print at the bottom of every commercial. It was all totally adorable and did not make me continue my internal self-flagellation over not having noticed the poor child was completely blind for possibly several years AT ALL.

We’re a few days out, now, and the bloom is somewhat off the rose. By this I of course mean that “On your face or in the case” has become my steady mantra, and Monkey is already adept at ignoring me. He regularly plops down on the couch to watch a movie with us and declares, “I can’t SEE!” and I’ll ask him where his glasses are. “I dunno,” is the usual response. Because he takes them off to read and leaves them upstairs. Or he takes them off to play Minecraft and leaves them by the computer. Or he takes them off in the car to read and leaves them on the seat. Or he takes them off to go swimming and leaves them almost anywhere. Etc.

Still, he’s miraculously not yet lost them entirely (give him time), and I have yet to stop being charmed by his delight at, you know, just being able to see stuff.

Not to mention that he looks both all grown up and totally little-boy-playing-professor adorable in his new specs.

We spent part of the day at the hospital with Chickadee yesterday (and that devolved into a disaster of epic proportions I can barely even speak of), but before everything went sideways there was that moment when we walked in and her face lit up and she ran over to hug me. I squeezed her as long as she would allow it, and then she turned to face Monkey and gave him a rather critical once-over.

“You look like a total nerd,” she proclaimed, loosely gesturing towards his glasses.

“I know!” he replied, quite pleased with both himself and her for noticing. She laughed, and then the rest of us followed suit. For that too-brief moment, I think all four of us had a clear view of everything that mattered.

It didn’t last, and I fully expect Monkey to lose his glasses once or twice or ten times, but still. The glee in the seeing is there.

(Not to mention that I am REALLY looking forward to a recitation of “If you have an erection that lasts more than four hours…” the next time one of those commercials come on while Monkey is watching.)

73 Responses to ““I can SEE!” said the blind boy”

  1. 1
    Deb July 5, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    I still remember my amazement that you could see the individual leaves on a tree when the wind was blowing. All I had ever been able to see was a big mass of green blowing too and fro. I sat out on the back porch for hours just watching them move.

  2. 2
    melissa July 5, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    I had my first eye exam at the age of seven. It turned out I was…quite blind. I picked out a pair of powder blue plastic glasses and was in love.

    When we went to pick them up, I remember screaming, “Look at all the LEAVES on the TREES.” I thought trees really looked like the childs’ drawing. A trunk and a squiggly halo of leaves. I was stunned to see individual leaves.

    I never forgot my glasses anywhere ever because I COULD SEE.

    My mom says the “all caps” was on for quite some time when I talked about seeing. She was horrified that I, at 7, had worse vision than both my parents who have worn glasses forever.

    Glad Monkey is enjoying his glasses.

  3. 3
    karen July 5, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    … I gotta say this…. how many men who have had an erection for over four hours because of that drug actually have the courage to go to the emergency room with that particular complaint?….

    AND … jeez I feel sorry for the spouse/date/one-nighter who has to content with THAT erection.

    Love the monkey see, monkey do story :-)

  4. 4
    bonuela July 5, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    how about a nice nerdling chain to hold the glasses around his neck?

  5. 5
    melissa July 5, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    Ha! Deb…It seems you and I had similar childhoods! :)

  6. 6
    Katherine July 5, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    I can remember getting my 2nd pair of glasses and having “the trees have leaves” epiphany. The first pair didn’t make enough difference in my vision for me to bother wearing them and I did NOT like the idea of being the only kid, not only in my class, but virtually in my whole school, wearing glasses. Thus, I didn’t wear them for a year. The next year, I wore those, but they didn’t help much. When I got the second pair, WOW, I could see and I wore the glasses full time.

    Sorry to hear that things went south with Chickie’s visit.

  7. 7
    RuthWells July 5, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    We had the exact same experience with our youngest. The reading of the street signs on the way home was epic. And I hope you purchased the accidental breakage/replacement policy with the glasses store – we learned that lesson the hard way. Did you know that kids’ glasses are toilet-flushable?

  8. 8
    Shannon W. July 5, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Yep – the leaves on the trees! Critical moment in every near-sighted child’s life.

  9. 9
    Michelle July 5, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Given the water that has gone under the bridge over the last 18 months or so I think it’s totally reasonable for you to be the neglectful whore that you are ;).

    I’m so glad though that this event has been so totally manageable and I’m praying for the day when everything is that easy again but also hoping that somehow the fine print on the ED ads escapes his new super geeky vision. . .

  10. 10
    amy July 5, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    My parents had NO IDEA I couldn’t see. Until I mentioned off-hand that since I sat at the back of the class, I had to walk up to the chalkboard, memorize a line off the board, walk back and write it down, lather-rinse-repeat. My mom was suddenly horrified YOU CANT SEE THE BOARD FROM THE BACK ROW?! I needed glasses desperately. Funny how that doesn’t bother me much. Thankfully because of that, I make sure my kids get checked every year.

  11. 11
    Jenn C. July 5, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    Deb, that was my moment of amazement too – holy cow, I can SEE the LEAVES!

    Mir, I feel your pain with the missing glasses – when our eye doctor suggested H take her’s off when she “didn’t need” them, I asked if it was harmful not to do that – because I knew that she’d never keep track of them if she did. Thankfully the doctor said no, so she just wears them all the time. The flip side of that is that sometimes she forgets to take them off when she should, and now, two years running, she’s nearly lost them forever when she’s jumped into the lake on vacation while wearing them. Luckily, we’ve been able to rescue them both times.

  12. 12
    CIndy July 5, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    LMAO about the last sentence. My boy went through a very similar experience with eye exams, etc. Only it was his school with the faintly accusatory comments. See once he finally got the glasses, he kept losing/breaking them. (first pair lasted less than 24 hours, beating my own sad record with glasses by quite a bit) So I kept getting these passive aggressive little notes from the school nurse during each waiting period for the new pair of glasses. Which in turn prompted several conversations, with me getting progressively more annoyed at both the boy for losing/breaking YET ANOTHER pair and the school for missing the fact that he did in fact have an exam and new glasses and new glasses and new glasses and WTH, another exam to go with the latest pair of….NEW GLASSES. I am now the biggest fan of zenni optical and their super cheap, fully functional glasses.

    The only thing that turned the tide of broken/lost glasses for us was that he decided he wants contacts. He’s only 13 so that’s not happening right now but we started with the logic that he will NEVER be ready for contacts if he can’t keep up with glasses. It’s working out great for me so far because he hasn’t lost/broken a pair since that conversation.

  13. 13
    Jen July 5, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    I am a loser of glasses. Like Monkey, I don’t need mine to function – I just can’t see things far away- so I take them off often, and leave them everywhere. Aside from “on your face or in the case” (which still leaves the problem of where I left the case), I’ve ordered several cheapie pairs online that I wear at work (I work in an industrial environment) or out places so I don’t lose my expensive ones. The nice ones are reserved for client meetings and at home. I feel much less bad about losing a $15 pair than my fancy $500 designer ones.

  14. 14
    emily July 5, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    LOL @ Deb, Melissa and Katherine – I had the same experience with the trees!

  15. 15
    JennyA July 5, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Melissa and Deb — the first thing I remember was the leaves, too! And my bea-YOOO-tiful plastic frames were pink. :)

  16. 16
    Connieg July 5, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Has anyone else mentioned “every brick on the building” yet? Our daughter on the ride home after switching from glasses to contacts….. Little did we know she was blind….

  17. 17
    kathy July 5, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    When I first got glasses (and at 51 I can remember so it means I must have been close to high school age) I was SHOCKED that people weren’t making up stuff as they read. I’d always been able to read, but for a short time, then it all turned to blur, so if I had to read out loud I’d just make the rest up. I thought everyone did that. Teachers LOVED me. :)

    See, it could have been worse! :)

  18. 18
    Diane July 5, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Once my eyes were examined (third grade), my mom had me moved to the front of the class at school for the ten days or two weeks it took to have them made.

    I hated it.

    And honestly, did she think her seriously nearsighted daughter was going to see the board any more clearly from ten feet than she did from twenty? The horrible part is that when the glasses came in, they never moved me back.

  19. 19
    Liza July 5, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    I got glasses at 8. What I remember at first was HORRIBLE headaches as my brain adjusted to being able to see instead of overcompensating for not being able to see. And then, about 3 weeks later, taking off the glasses while watching the Flintstones on TV, and realizing that I couldn’t see without them. Unlike Monkey, I had been highly skeptical that I needed glasses.

    Also, the name of my first pair of frames was “gumball” and they were mostly purple with grey and orange specks.

  20. 20
    Liza July 5, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Oh, and my parents? Both blind? Only clued in that I needed glasses when I told them about the cool trick I could do with my eyes where I could make it so that I could see two of something in front of me. Or one. But two of the thing, like a pencil, was cooler.

  21. 21
    Gaylin July 5, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    You could always go for true nerd styling and get him the strap around the neck to hold his glasses.

    I got glasses at 8 (blue plastic cats eye style, 1968), had to get a new set of lenses every 9 months to a year as my vision devolved so quickly. At 38 I had Lasik done and yep, the trees have leaves!

  22. 22
    Ani July 5, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    When our nerdling got glasses, we got him a Croakies band and attached them to his head. Voila…haven’t lost them once. In 5 years. By the child who would lose his HEAD if it were not attached.

    BTW for swimming (when you get to that) they sell “prescription” goggles pretty cheaply. Life-saver for my nerdling. :-)

  23. 23
    Alicia July 5, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    That was my reaction after getting PRK (glasses for over 25 years!!!!). My husband was charmed by my “look, i can see rain on the tree leaves. Oh, there is a speed limit sign there” for about 10 minutes and then he started reminding me that he can see too!

    I also prefer the term “geeky”!

  24. 24
    Scottsdale Girl July 5, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    My parents took me at about 4 years old because I would sit DIRECTLY in front of the tv. Took ’em a little while but mom finally decided since I would not move (Gonna go blind doncha know, OH WAIT TOO LATE MOM) she would take me in. I had the cutest little pair of John Lennon style glasses at 4 years old and YES LEAVES ON TREES HOLY SHIT!

  25. 25
    Randi July 5, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    I gotcha beat on the “bad mom glasses” thing – when Toad was in 2nd grade he complained about headaches fairly frequently. Finally at the end of the year we got eyes checked. Whaddya know – he has an astigmatism, which can cause headaches, and I should know because I HAVE ONE TOO. DUMB MOM MOVE.

    Also, please tell Monkey that I’m OBSESSED with Minecraft – to the point where I’m now co-owner on a server – and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!! LOL

  26. 26
    Therese July 5, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    I am also a loser of glasses, wearing them only to see distances. I don’t like to wear them when I eat, when I do dishes, when I read, so they are always someplace I am not and I CAN NEVER REMEMBER WHERE THAT IS!!!!! Fortunately, I also wear contacts a great deal of the time, and I always remember where those puppies are (in my eyeballs!)

    And I can remember being in the back row of high school and not wanting to tell the teacher I couldn’t read the board. I just had to listen to what she said as she was writing and write it all down very fast. Good thing I had a better memory then.

  27. 27
    eileen July 5, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    I’ll second (or third?) the recommendation to get a cheap pair of backups. I’ve gotten two pairs from greateyeglasses.com and had great success with them. At around $25 for basic frames and prescription lenses with shipping, it’s worth a try.

  28. 28
    g~ July 5, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    zenni optical…SURELY you know about zenni optical. It makes the pain of losing his glasses a little more along the lines of $10 as opposed to $100. I bought a few pair from there (before Lasik) and LOVED them and it.

  29. 29
    Em July 5, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    I got mine at 8 and just remember the colors and how sharp everything was! Yay for Monkey that he gets to enjoy that, maybe everyone should to make you appreciate how cool seeing is! I’m sorry your visit with Chickie didn’t turn out well.

    And to answer Karen (#8) off topic question: One of my favorite nursing stories is having an ER from another hospital that didn’t have a NICU, call asking for a preemie BP cuff for the purposes of a man who showed up (while on a business trip away from his wife. Hmmm) with an erection lasting > 4 hours after using a pharmaceutical aid. Now, I don’t know how they intended to use the baby cuff, though I can guess. In fact, I may have known and blocked it out which leads me to believe it is exactly what I guessed. Also, either the man was standing right there or the ER nurses had no sense of humor because we laughed hard and they stayed all “professional” about it. Maybe they see it a lot?

  30. 30
    Genevieve July 5, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Eye exams for a kid with good vision aren’t necessarily recommended every year or even every couple of years (though I think they usually do a quick eye test as part of the yearly physical?). So definitely not neglectful not to have taken him for one.

    I remember the seeing everything too, though it was fall so the leaves were down. My not being able to see a jack-o-lantern on an apartment balcony was the tip-off to my mom.

  31. 31
    Angela July 5, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    Count me in with the crowd of new glasses = trees with leaves. My mom was also horrified when she found out I couldn’t see at all, but it wasn’t a big deal to me. There were a whole bunch of us in 5th grade that went to the front of the room every time we needed to copy something off the blackboard, so it didn’t signify anything. One time I put on another kid’s glasses and was shocked at how clear everything was, but I still didn’t make the connection that it meant maybe I needed them as well- Doh! I never lost a pair of glasses because I was so happy to see, I never took them off!

    When I started high school, I got contacts and the first time I tried to put them in, I passed out. The nurse said it happens all the time, something about pushing on your eye to get the contact off your finger does it. I just remember one minute I was trying to get the contact in and the next minute the nurse was easing me into a chair!

  32. 32
    Karen R. July 5, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    How wonderful to have some joy in your life right now.

  33. 33
    Kellie July 5, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    When I was Monkey’s age, I got my first pair of glasses, and went through a phase where about 5-6 pair were broken or lost. I highly recommend goggles4u.com for inexpensive ‘backups’ – especially since Monkey’s into the ‘geeky look’ :)

    And yes – leaves on trees – a wonderful thing for a kid to see :)

  34. 34
    HG July 5, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    I skimmed the comments, so forgive me if I repeat, but zennioptical.com are fantastico for cheap glasses (as in under $20 for the whole shebang).

  35. 35
    Toni July 5, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    I, too, had the “Helen Keller Moment” after getting glasses in the 4th grade. The optometrist said to my mother, “Mrs. L., you have a lovely daughter, but she’s nearly legally blind.” My mother was horrified and I was agog at all the things I could SEE!!! I’m glad you’ve had some happy times in the midst of the drama, hang in there!

  36. 36
    Ann July 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    I got my first glasses in the spring, so I had no leaves to admire. However, the sight of all those little twiggy branches way up in the sky was amazing. I still get that feeling, just a little, when I get a new pair of glasses. :)

  37. 37
    Melissa July 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    It’s hilarious how many of us couldn’t see well at ALL in elementary school! Or…not…but I totally had that experience as well. “Look! There are SIGNs on the STREET to tell you the NAME!” I never saw them before.

  38. 38
    Heather July 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    Ok, Em….I am not a medical buff, so how exactly would that work?!?!? Thankful my husband is not in need of such aids, because I’d just have SO many questions about the mechanics behind the potential side effects – like, does it stay erect after climax, or is it the climax that never comes (pardon the pun) and thus they’re doomed with the wonder woody? I know it is a blood flow issue, I got that much out of anatomy, but I don’t get why a cuff would help alleviate the symptom….

    Mir, I love this story, because it really reminds me of my own journey to glasses. My brothers and sisters all had them by 2nd grade. At 8th grade I was all, “Hah! I have beaten the curse!” and then the board got blurry….nothing like starting highschool with the confidence sucking ginormous glasses of the late 80s.

  39. 39
    Tenessa July 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    It’s the little things that make life bearable. Even if it’s the little things over and over and over until you wish the little things would just stop already!

  40. 40
    dad July 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Not only can he see much better but he is one handsome dude.

  41. 41
    Daisy July 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    My mother tells the story of realizing that trees had individual leaves. She had always seen them as a big blob of green on top of a trunk, kind of like a young child’s drawing. Then she got her first pair of glasses, and wow!

    I love that Monkey wants to look like a nerd, er, geek. We have geek vs. nerd discussions at work all the time because we resemble both terms!

  42. 42
    Trish July 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I got my first pair when I was a sophomore in high school. But I’m pretty sure I needed them 2 or 3 years before that. It just didn’t matter enough to me until I wanted to drive, then I actually needed to be able to see farther than the end of my nose. At least you had taken Monkey to get an eye exam at some point.

  43. 43
    TC July 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Good to know you’re not beating yourself up over the whole eyeglasses thing. (Yes, sarcasm.) Not that I wouldn’t do the same thing…

  44. 44
    StephLove July 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    I have the opposite kind of vision. I need reading glasses and only to read some things so they’re off most of the time which means I never have any idea where they are when I need them. Maybe getting started at 12 will be better than starting at 45 when it comes to forming a habit.

    I’m sorry the visit went badly after a promising start. I’m sorry about everything, really. I hope things look up for you soon.

  45. 45
    Dorothy July 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    My son got his first pair of glasses when he was fifteen months old. On the car ride home (in the days before car seats and seat belts) he sat in my lap and kept rubbing and touching my face. I cried the entire trip. My baby didn’t even know what his mother looked like. The Christmas tree was up and he would touch the ornaments with such care. Best Chirstmas we had for a long time.

  46. 46
    Kate July 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    I was blind as a bat and had the “trees have leaves” epiphany, BUT … My fave glasses story is my daughter’s. She wanted glasses SO badly! When she was in 2nd grade I went to have lunch with her teacher, my good friend. The teacher mentioned that she loved my kid’s glasses but she had been concerned that there wasn’t a case, so she brought her one from home. I quizzically said: what the H are you talking about? And she said she was talking about the kid’s new glasses. I calmly explained that the kid didn’t wear glasses!!

    Upon further review, it turns out that the kid had been wearing my reading glasses during class time for over a week!! She dutifully removed them at recess and placed them in the graciously donated case!

    Ah, kids!! She has since been granted REAL glasses and has now opted for contacts. But, my little one’s persistence and her teacher’s gift are not forgotten!!

  47. 47
    Cran July 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    My daughter was only two when she started wearing glasses. When she was 9 or 10 she started complaining of headaches. Finally, after about a month, I thought of her vision. Took her to get checked and her glasses were no longer needed, thus the headaches. Duh!!!

  48. 48
    Jeanie July 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    That’s a great story of Monkey and his glasses. I first needed glasses when I was about his age and mine were — wait for it — red plaid! My mom was adamant that I wouldn’t have red plaid glasses, lo, those so many years ago, but the optometrist convinced her that I should because I was the one who had to wear them. I loved those glasses.

  49. 49
    Jessica July 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    I don’t remember getting my first pair of glasses, strangely enough, even though I was in kindergarten. I do remember the never-ending puff tests, though. I had to go back every three to six months to re-do them, because my pressures were so high. Being in my mid-20s and really worried about glaucoma and macular degeneration (both in my family), I finally went to an ophthalmologist, who numbed my eyes and did all these pokey things to them. Lo and behold, my eyes are shaped very oddly (I have abnormal astigmatism, so that explained not being able to wear any contacts I’d tried). Also? I am colorblind (oops, sorry, mom/dad/then-fiance/etc. I will arguing with you about what colors those things are). Oh, and? My corneas are super-duper thick, which is why puff tests don’t work for me. That one doctor’s appointment was extremely enlightening to me.

    My cousin was legally blind for many years, although she loved to read. She’d wear her glasses but still have to hold the book right up to her face to read. I remember when she was probably around 10 or so, and she had her first transplant in one eye. She stood out in front of my grandma’s house that fall and stared, stared, stared at everything. She never knew that each leaf turned a different color. She always thought they were a big blurry mass of brown and was AMAZED at the oranges and yellows and reds that were mixed in. She’d close the still-blind eye and just turn her head from side to side for hours, looking at each leaf’s color separately and in depth. It was amazing for all of us. OH! And the year she had the second transplant? I thought they’d never get her to go inside again. Everything had color EVERYWHERE! Wonderful memories!

    (I think I have something in my eye, so I should go get that out now. *sniff*)

  50. 50
    Jan July 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    My sister and I still remind each other of the ride home after my niece got glasses: “Oh, look at the trees!”
    And my sister still refers to a certain movie as “the first movie my daughter actually SAW”, after she got her glasses.

  51. 51
    Betsy July 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    I’m still laughing at Monkey wanting a hint on the eye exam? Like hints are totally allowed.
    “Give me a hint?”
    “Ok. It’s a letter in the alphabet.”
    Too funny.

  52. 52
    angie July 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    We have serious vision issues in my family tree so when I had kids I brought them in fairly young (thankfully vision was normal) and figured it would be recommended to bring them in at least once per year to make sure nothing was changing. But no, the recommendation was every other year unless I noticed something was wrong. So to go three years when you don’t even suspect anything? Not a big deal, and hardly neglectful.

    I am just now, for the first time in my life, having to wear glasses (using readers, but am to the point of needing a prescription) and dang, I can’t keep track of them. I just keep a pair everywhere I might need them — in the car, on my desk, next to my bed, in the kitchen. Once I get “real” glasses I guess I’ll have to figure out a better system.

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    Mame July 5, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    At age 11 my son had an eye exam that said his vision was fine. A few months later he complained about his vision and I took him again. The doctor who did the second exam told me that she never did this but in his case I should take him directly to one of those places that did glasses in an hour because he needed them that badly. I asked how his vision could have deteriorated that quickly since the last exam and she said it couldn’t have who ever gave him the last exam was wrong. Off we went to the mall where he guilted me in to very expensive frames. The ride how was as everyone else has described. It was Advent and we passed a church with a live creche. He had seen it before but never well enough to know that it was live. He said, “Please tell me they don’t do a live Crucifixion for Lent!”

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    Deanna July 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    I LOL’ed at the minlet story. My very own chickie got glasses at five. We thought something might be wrong when she started covering one eye to read. Low and behold she was legally blind in one eye. So they patched the good one. Uh. My poor baby ran into walls and tripped down stairs for almost a month until the “bad eye” caught up enough to be of any use. She still teases me about that. :)

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    suburbancorrespondent July 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Oooh, yeah, I can imagine the guilt! Well, at least this way he can APPRECIATE them, right?

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    Sarah July 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Does anyone who doesn’t wear glasses actually get regular eye exams? I know that I had one around age three, because I kept rubbing my eyes (diagnosis: allergies, get rid of the cat!), then casually mentioned part way through grade 9 that I had trouble seeing the board (i.e. I spent all of gr. 8 and 9 copying notes off my friends, and by the way, my other friend’s glasses made things clear) – so I became the proud owner of glasses the summer between 9th and 10th grades.

    My family is even geekier though – when I got a diagnosis of 20/200 vision, my dad used his watch, the spedometer, and various highway signs to check on the way home from the appointment. (so… when i can read the sign, I’ll start timing, then when you can read it – tell me, and if we’re driving 100 km per hour, that is about 30 metres per second … so …..)

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    Reb July 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Yep, I must’ve needed glasses for at least a year before I got them. I was about 11. You’d think my logical reasoning would’ve been advanced enough to figure out that if other kids were copying off the board without sitting right at the front of the room, that meant they could see better.

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    Momma Chaos July 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    My oldest son got his first pair of glasses in 1st grade when he failed the vision screening at school (turns out he was legally blind in one eye- go figure.. oops.. the other eye was fine so he just used it).. Coincidentally, that was also the time that we found out he was tongue tied & had to get it clipped after a year of speech therapy.. Talk about bad mom of the year award! :) Glad Monkey is happy with his new nerd look :)

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    Angela July 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    I love that he wants to look nerdy! I work around a lot of nerds and most are charming in their own quirky ways.
    I just wonder, surely she has some sort of brain infection, have they figured out what’s causing the behavioral changes? I know you’ve been to one million doctors, and I’m definitely not one, but with all the infections she was having it just seems so easy for that to have gone to her head, literally. I’m sure they’ve considered that…I just hate that the poor baby is sick and this is so different from her real self. Anyway, I’m sure I’m not saying anything new… Still praying for y’all though…

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    Sara July 6, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    I got glasses when suddenly the words in books started disappearing (around 1st grade). I was totally perplexed, and mentioned it to my mom. I don’t remember a startling change, but I was much happier because I could read chapter books and they still had words on the pages.

    I do remember, however, my first day with hearing aids. My first thought was that birds are REALLY LOUD. I also called my landlord (I was an adult) to complain about the dishwasher – I had no idea (NO. IDEA.) that they made noise. I thought it was going to explode, but it was just “on.” I did adjust to the birds eventually but every time I get a tune-up, the birds are once again just so damn loud.

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    CJ July 6, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    Yes! Individual tree branches, mortar between the bricks, etc., it’s all very exciting with the first pair of glasses.

    Love that the moment of clarity among you four imprinted so that you could savor it, at least for a time. My eyes involuntarily closed after I read that part; a reminder to be aware of fleeting moments of balance and lightness.

    Fine print…LOL!

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    Kendra July 6, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Don’t flagellate any more, Mir! Who knows if it’s a boy thing, or an Autism Spectrum thing, but my cousin was the same way…he didn’t know what he was missing until he got his glasses.

    Not unlike when Monkey is ill, but can’t tell you he’s ill (my boy does the same…he’s “just tired” until he pukes mid-sentence)…same thing.

    So, no more beating yourself up.


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    SillyMe July 6, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    We have the same “wear them all the time” rule. but my girl takes them off constantly so she gets one “cool, new” pair of glasses and a couple of cheap back-up glasses. Since the prescription changes we just take in the old pairs and have them put the new script in them and use those for backups too.

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    Brigitte July 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    I liked the “gimme a hint” part too, I always feel like it’s some kind of pop quiz that I’m failing miserably. Especially when they ask which side looks better, and I can’t decide!

    I saw perfect all through college, sitting at the back and having no trouble reading the blackboard . . then one year later, had to pull over to read road signs (and the prescription hasn’t changed since). I never have figured out what happened!

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    M&Co. July 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    We bought my BoyChild two pairs, for when he lost the first pair. I think he lost the extra pair but hasn’t yet lost his original pair. Go figure.

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    l July 6, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    I have to join in the chorus of folks talking about finally being able to see the leaves on the trees! My mom was horrified, every time I made such a big deal about being able to see, after I got my glasses (at age 9). The thing is — she *did* suspect that I was blind-ish, and she took me to at least two optometrists when I was younger, but the Dr.’s each told her that I was ok, and I just didn’t know my letters. Which she knew wasn’t right, because I’d been reading since age 4! So she felt awful.

    Like another commenter – I got eye surgery more than 15 years ago – it’s been marvelous. My husband had to put up with many more moments similar to the leaves on the trees things – I could suddenly see stoplights so much earlier than I’d been able to, that I was slowing down entirely too early – eventually my husband let me know in no uncertain terms that I had to re-learn how to drive, as I’d become too dangerous! (Because I could finally see better than I’d ever been able to with glasses!)

    Anyway, hang in there. Thinking of you all.

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    Becky July 7, 2012 at 1:50 am #

    I also prefer “geek.” also? I don’t remember ever NOT having glasses. Got them at age two. Yep, two. I broke my glasses at least once a year when I was a kid. If the lenses weren’t broken, my dad would repair them with wire. Or epoxy. I have completely different prescriptions in each eye and to this day my glasses are ridiculously expensive. Sigh.

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    Sharon July 7, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    glad you got a bit of a cheery moment with chickee in there, too. tuck it in the memory files for later. i had the glasses story, too. my third grade teacher had us draw leaves on trees. mine were all fat, round blobs – and our school was in a pine forest! the worst for my poor mother, though, was my little brother. he had to wear the corrective braces on his feet, with the bar between them. when the doctor finally took him out of them, my mom was cautioned to keep him from sitting on his feet or turning them in. he told her to keep his shoes on the wrong feet, and tape thumbtacks to the backs of his calves. you can imagine the horrified reactions to that! my brother had curly red hair,wide blue eyes, and freckles, so he was particularly good at getting sympathy already.

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    Another Dawn July 7, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    Before you feel like a bad mother, consider this: my mother was so against the idea of her daughter wearing glasses that she would not take me for an eye exam. In grade four, realizing that it was almost impossible to see the board and unable to see the TV unless I sat right in front of it, I took matters into my own hands and lied to my teacher, telling her that my mom had meant to send in a note to have the school nurse examine my eyes. I didn’t need glasses that year but was told it was only a matter of time and that I should see the nurse again next year. I did that on my own until grade six, when I was sent home with a note from the nurse saying I needed to see an eye doctor.

    So. Not so bad after all, are you? :)

    Sorry the visit with Chickadee didn’t end well. Glad you had the nice bit at the beginning, though. Such a tough road you’re all traveling right now.

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    Little Bird July 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    I just got my first pair of prescription SUNglasses, and holy cow what a difference!! I can SEE!! In the SUN!!!
    When I got my first glasses ever, I was more of an “every brick in the wall” person. I must have been in eighth grade at the time. Squarish clear peach colored frames for me. I have a hills riots picture of myself in those glasses with crimped hair, rubber fish earrings, and a sweatshirt dress covered in big sweatshirt material bows. Oh, and braces. I was STYLIN’!!!!

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    The Mommy Therapy July 9, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    Too cute! I love that he wants to look nerdy. I begged my husband to buy nerdy frames when replacing his glasses last week, but he insisted it wasn’t his thing…I beg to differ. I hope his joy of sight continues!

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    Avie July 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    is it worth ordering a backup pair from one of the sites discussed on: http://glassyeyes.blogspot.com/

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    A July 23, 2012 at 9:46 pm #


    I didn’t get my first pair of glasses until two years ago. I was okay through most of school, but did prefer to be close to the front in high school and college. And every picture of me from then involves much squinting.

    Turns out (and I only found out two months ago) that I have keratoconus. Misshapen cornea and cannot be corrected to 20/20 with glasses…

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