Monday, March 02, 2015

Declan sees...

A few weeks ago I was at the doctor's office, you know, like I am all the time because my kids and I have been sick constantly this winter... Declan was wheezy and the nurse practitioner decided not only did he need to go back on albuterol, but she suggested I take him to the eye doctor, naively I asked, "why?" She went into detail why she thought he might have amblyopia. Now to everyone, like me, who has never heard of that, it's kind of a lazy eye. Essentially the optic nerve on one, or sometimes both eyes, is not as strong as the other, and so the brain stops helping that one out and gives all of it's attention to the strong optic nerve and tends to ignore the lazy one. Well, the good news, as she went on to explain, is if you catch it before age five, it's correctable.

Great.

So I called and made an appointment. His eyes never seemed "lazy" like she explained, but who am I? I did however, notice, he tends to look at people sometimes out of the corner of his eyes. I thought he was just being a snarky 2 year old. The soonest I could get in was 2 weeks later.

So I took the little ones to the eye doctor while the two big kids were at school expecting full well that Declan didn't have a lazy eye. I was right. But what I wasn't expecting was for him to have severe astigmatism and farsightedness in both eyes. How severe? Well... He definitely needed glasses.

I know what you're thinking, small kids are so cute in glasses.

Not what I was thinking. I was thinking... But what about when he gets tired? He likes to rub his eyes. He likes to put his face down on your shoulder and cuddle up to you. How is he going to do that with glasses? What about as he gets older? If someone makes fun of him I will cut them. I will. You know I will. Mama Bear roared loudly inside me.

I took his prescription home and I spent the next 2 days reading and researching about small children with glasses. And this was after spending that entire first day looking for frames for his teensy face at multiple places only to find that no one carried anything small enough for his little face that was comfortable. He HATED trying on glasses. Absolutely hated it. And if he hated trying them on, how was I going to get him to keep them on? A couple of days later, emotionally spent, I decided to put his prescription into an online simulator that helps you understand how poor your child's vision is. As soon as I pressed enter and the blurry photo popped up, I was broken. It was like one of those movies... you know the ones... where the lady accidentally gets pregnant and refuses to believe the pregnancy test she takes so she takes like 30 of them looking at each one in disbelief. I just kept finding more simulators and putting in his RX and getting more and more upset.

How could his vision be THIS bad?

How could I have not noticed?

And then it all hit me at once like a tidal wave... All the times he fell over, ran into things, put his face up close to look at things, fell off of things, why didn't I see it before?

Then the tears came.

He has never seen me. He's never REALLY seen me. He's only seen a blurry colored version of what he thinks is me.

I couldn't get glasses ordered soon enough. I wanted him to see me. I wanted him to see everything. I researched for an entire day and then a friend led me to blog a mother wrote about her son, Noah and she found Tomato Frames to be the best fit for him. I checked them out, they're rad, they have a cool nose pad, (the reason why the glasses kept falling off his face) they're indestructible, and they have a removable strap in the back. And the best part, I found a frame that comes in what Declan would call "Batman symbol colors." The only downside is they are coming from overseas and it's gonna be a while.

So we went into Walmart to get a cheap pair to get us by until then. A really not so nice lady told me the pair we picked wouldn't fit his face and then didn't help us in any way to pick another pair. So when the pair we did get finally came in and we went to pick them up the next week, we had no clue that because the lenses he needed were so thick, it bent the frames outward and made them too wide for his face and no longer fit. It was a total nightmare. Our 2 year old was completely agitated to say the least. So we left, empty handed and my heart sunk.

It's been a few days and I have since tried to channel Elsa and let it go. I realized that he's gone 2 1/2 years without being able to see, what's a few more weeks right? It'll be okay. But then Declan, Lucy and I decided to take a trip to the Northwest Arkansas Mall today while the big kids were in school. And guess what was the first store we happened upon as we walked in... A Lenscrafters. Did you know that Lenscrafters can get your eyeglasses done in an HOUR? I didn't. Until today. We thought we would make one last ditch effort and just see if they had anything. Well... God sent us a sweet angel to help us. She was THE most wonderful woman. Declan took to her right away and tried on any frames she asked. She happened to have 4 kids as well and knew exactly how to treat my little Batman. She let him scan the frames we picked and used all the right words with him.

We walked the mall for an hour as we waited.

And when we came back, Declan tried on his very first pair of glasses and this is what happened...

video

That moment. 
When it all changes for him.  
Be still my heart. 

We walked around the mall for an hour afterwards. He didn't want to leave. It was like he was discovering the world for the very first time. Everything was exciting. Everything was new. He saw all the little details. There were these shoes he found, Spiderman, he was so excited. Then he saw the Batman ones. And oh my gosh! They LIT up! It was amazing. 

video


At one point we were walking, I had his little hand in mine, Lucy was far ahead of us pushing the empty stroller. He was looking down at the ground. I asked him, "what are you looking at buddy?" 

He stops, sits down on the ground and traces the grout between the tiles and says, "these cracks here, Mommy."

He's never seen those cracks. 

And now he does.