Julia and Sophia were stars at the Optometrist today.
Since Janice and I both were wearing glasses by age three, I was a tad scared that we’d be sent to fit Julia for her first pair. Janice and I both had terrible eyesight all of our lives, until Janice decided to be healed by laser. Except for a bit of poor night vision, Janice can now see like a normal person without the aid of any lenses — contacts or glasses. But I can’t make myself take that step, so I’m forced to rely on corrective lenses.
Except for an emergency trip to the optometrist for a finger in the eye at 18 months, Julia had not yet had an eye exam. I decided I’d better quit procrastinating and book an appointment.
Seven month old Sophia had her turn first because of her impending nap time. By the end of the appointment, her little eyelids were at half-mast.
But despite the unfortunate timing, Sophia behaved brilliantly. She sat peacefully on my lap as the obviously experienced-with-children Optometrist worked her magic. Her hat of tricks included putting tiny cake sprinkles in one of two open palms, covering one of the baby’s eyes and seeing if baby reached for it. Unfortunately, sleepy Sophia didn’t quite care enough for the sprinkles and didn’t reach out. The doctor later tried to entice her with the same trick using a raisin instead of the sprinkles, but still she wasn’t interested. The doctor didn’t seem too concerned, so I’ve decided to not let it phase me.
Except for her lack of going-for-the-goodies, Sophia passed the tests well and is apparently far-sighted as is to be expected for her age.
Then it was Julia’s turn to shine. I have to admit I felt rather nervous as Julia sat perched on my lap. But this Optometrist — a mother herself — knew exactly how to relax Julia and build trust.
If you’re wondering why I would be nervous, you need to know Julia a little better.
Julia is SHY.
She is top-of-the-charts shy. For the first two years of her life, almost none of our neighbors had ever seen her smile much less make a single sound. She used sign language and even long after she could voice words, would prefer to look at the ground and timidly sign ‘Thank-you’ instead of uttering a sound.
It’s only been in the last several months where she’s become brave enough to say ‘Thank-you’ and ‘Bye’ to new people.
The doctor began by telling Julia we were all going to work together to write a little story about her. She took out her clipboard and a blank patient chart and, with Julia listening intently, began to collect our family’s medical history. She asked Julia her age, and I could feel Julia hesitate as she wasn’t yet convinced she should talk to this woman. I whispered, “You can show her with your fingers.” And Julia slowly held up one, two and then three fingers.
After a few minutes of me answering the doctor’s questions, I could see Julia beginning to build trust.
Then the doctor began the exam by having Julia put on special red and green glasses and identify red and green dots. I held my breath as I waited to see if Julia would answer. And with a tiny, barely audible voice, Julia responded which color was which.
Phew. She’s talking — almost not within human hearing, but talking.
The Optometrist then traded the funky red and green glasses for a pair that tested if Julia could tell which 3D image was jumping off the page. And to test her near and far sight, she used flash cards with an umbrella, house, mouse, circle and square.
Julia thought this doctor played wonderful games with her and sweetly played along. (But still with a voice so quiet it tested all of our hearing.)
Julia even cooperated as the tiny, bright flashlight shone in her eyes to allow the doctor to inspect the backs of her eyeballs.
And then with both of my munchkins’ eye exams complete, the doctor told me the great news. Both of my girl’s eyes are healthy and normal at this time. They’ll need to be checked each year, but for now they’re clear.
I was relieved to hear the news and Julia was relieved that the doctor never put drops in her eyes. With a slight bounce in our gait, we left the office.
And during the short car ride home, Julia announced, “I want to go to the eye doctor again, because it was fun!”