Things haven’t been going so well, over here at the Eyeball Corral.
Oh, it’s true that Chickadee remains a champion contact lens WEARER. I don’t know if lenses are different now or her eyes are just a lot hardier than mine or what, but back in my contact lens days I remember a lot of “AHHHHH! There’s something trapped under the lens! AN EYELASH! THE PAIN!!” and such. She’s headed off to school every day with a lens case and a pair of glasses, just in case, and she hasn’t had a single issue. That part is great.
The part that’s not so great is that she’s now had her contacts for two months and was still showing absolutely zero interest in learning how to put them in for herself. And neither the “You’ll have to take me with you to college” jokes nor my peppy rendition of “L! A! Z! Y! You ain’t go no alibi!” were persuading her to change her ways.
(I considered adding pom-poms to my cheer routine, but that just seemed unnecessarily onerous.)
The original deal was that I would put her lenses in for her on school days—when time is at a premium—but she would be responsible for practicing on the weekends. Chickadee’s solution to this set of rules was simply to wear her glasses all weekend. Which… you know, it’s fine to wear glasses, but then there is no PRACTICING happening, which brings us back to me potentially putting in her lenses for her for forever. Not good.
There was also the small matter of an extended vacation with her father wherein she had AMPLE time to practice her lens-wrangling skills. As her father is a fellow contact lens wearer I figured this would be perfect—she’d not only have the time to work on it, she’d have an experienced assistant. GUESS how many times she wore her lenses during that trip. Go on, guess! Did you say ZERO? Yay! You win a squirt of all-in-one saline solution! [I don’t suppose it matters whether this was laziness or one of those passive-aggressive “I sensed you wanted us to do this, so I immediately did the opposite” sorts of situations (although, honestly, given someone’s continued insistence about wanting opportunities to take on parenting responsibilities, I’m baffled), but the end result was the same maddening lack of progress.]
Combine all of this with a few recent displays of tweendom at its finest (ahem), and this weekend, Otto and I lowered the boom: Chickadee was informed that I was done putting in her lenses for her. Otto calmly explained that she had failed to take the required initiative on her part, and that because she was not expending any effort, there would be no more assistance. She could practice on the weekends, or she could have both lenses in place by a stipulated time on school days (with all other readying activities completed, first), or she could stick to her glasses.
“And you’re not getting your ears pierced until you can handle your lenses, either!” I added, for good measure. Because I am SO MEAN.
She took the edict like a trooper. (A grim, somewhat surly trooper.) She said she understood. She asked what would happen if she had only one lens in by cut-off time on a school morning. We told her she would have to take it out and wear her glasses.
Yesterday she only had one lens in at the designated time. She begged me to help her with the second one and I told her to take out the one and wear her glasses. I felt like an asshole (but an asshole who FOLLOWS THROUGH). She did it without complaint, though, and yesterday afternoon she came home and practiced until she got them both in (though it took a looooong time).
This morning the designated time rolled around and she was still in the bathroom. “Are they both in?” I called, praying that she would answer in the affirmative.
“Sort of,” she called back, tearfully.
I went to check out the situation. One lens was fine. The second one was (excuse me, my father is eyeball-phobic: DAD, LOOK AWAY) in her eye but not affixed over her pupil. Furthermore, it looked to me like one edge was actually sort of folded under. Chickadee was on the verge of tears, and we hadn’t covered protocol for one slightly mangled lens.
“Close your eye,” I told her, drawing her to me so that I could rub her back and calm her down. “Use your fingers to GENTLY move the lens around and see if you can get it situated on your pupil.” She did that for a few seconds and then opened her eye to reveal it was still not centered. “Honey, I think you’re going to have to take them out,” I said.
“NOOOOOOOOO!” she wailed. And I felt for her, I really did. She was (finally) really trying, and this seemed so unfair. “I can get it!” she insisted, and closed her eye again, poking at it with two fingers.
She opened her eye. There was a slight squishing sound, and her expression changed to surprise. “I did it!” she crowed. “It’s on! IT’S ON!”
I checked, and she was right. Somehow the lens had righted itself, and she was ready to go.
We heaped her up with praise, and she left for school positively beaming. And I loved being able to say, “SEE? You CAN do it!”
HOWEVER. I decided this morning that Otto will be responsible for teaching her to drive, and I am never getting into a car she’s driving until she’s fully licensed. I think that’s fair. I mean, given all of these five-years-off-my-life situations, we’re going to have to start picking and choosing or I’ll never be around to meet my grandkids.