How to Make their New “Look” Feel Cool
Two weeks ago I took my nine year old daughter for her first eye test. She’d been complaining after the summer holidays that the writing on the white board at school was tricky to see. Initially we figured this was due to the sunlight hitting it and dazzling her. But even when she was moved to the front of the class, the issue didn’t relent…
However, she was super excited at the prospect of wearing glasses like a couple of her friends! And at most we assumed she’d only have to wear them for looking at the board in class, watching television, reading and writing.
“Your daughter has myopia,” the optician told us, “she only has 30% vision.”
I felt like the bottom had dropped out of my world, let alone hers. How had we missed this? It wasn’t like she was bumping into things or unable to catch a ball!
Her father is also shortsighted, so perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised, but I don’t believe conditions are always hereditary. They don’t call me Pollyanna for nothing, it’s true, yet extensive research also confirms that myopia can have metaphysical roots (in other words it can be brought on entirely by our emotions… my daughter’s frequent tantrums and rantings that “life is unfair” spring to mind there!). And then there is the rapidly antennae pricking field of epigenetics, a science which proves we can literally switch on and off neurological receptors in our brain leading the body’s cells and DNA to follow suit.
Both of which in a nutshell mean, there is no such thing as a permanent bodily condition – I urge you to read Dr. Joe Dispenza’s amazing and rather hefty “You are the Placebo” before you beg to differ!
Add to this the very different environment our children have been born into; a time and a place where electronic devices are the exception not the rule. And then add to that my daughter’s incessant declarations (and I can only assume, visualisations) about wanting to wear glasses to be like her best friend, and for sure Law of Attraction gave a helping hand!
But I am me and my daughter is her own person…
And there we were in the opticians. Her face fell and I sensed this wasn’t going to be an easy ride after all… at least for the next couple of weeks, that the novelty of being like her best friend had fast worn off.
“She only needs to wear glasses at the moment for reading, writing – all her school activities except sport – oh, and TV, computer and iPad viewing.”
“Oh good,” I said, “that’s not so bad.”
“But eventually she will have to wear them all the time.”
“As I said, she has only 30% vision, but with glasses, she will have 90%.”
We were shell shocked and decided to take a couple of days to process this revelation, returning soon to pick out frames and order the glasses. When you yourself have perfect eyesight, and you want the best for your child (quite possibly remembering those unfortunate souls who got branded “four eyes” during your own academic past, courtesy of a very sparse and frankly hideous array of frames to choose from), it’s not such an easy thing to accept this diagnosis.
And, as a girl, yes, as sexist as it may sound, image is important… especially among your peers. Even at primary school. I may not have experience of wearing glasses myself as a child, but I do have experience of being bullied based on my appearance. It ain’t a whole bed of roses!
But anyway, we chatted at length over the next few days. I explained that my daughter would have many choices available to her in the future, that glasses were but one way to enhance eyesight. She may well prefer and be able to wear contact lenses one day (she was overjoyed to learn all about coloured contact lenses!), or even laser surgery. But for now, for sure, like her couple of friends who do have glasses, she would definitely be able to choose a cool pair, something brightly coloured, some nice shaped frames, something which suited her personality.
We went back to the opticians and she was absolutely spoiled for choice!
Suddenly, this was all turning into a whole lot of fun, trying on bold multi-coloured frames in all shapes and sizes as if she was in a fashion show, until she found four pairs (all blue, her favourite colour!) which she absolutely loved and had to whittle down to just one – a pair which I quite fancy owning myself. They really did look lovely, geeky chic and about as far removed from the NHS prescription/tiny round owl or mouse specs/icky rectangular creations of the 80’s and 90’s.
We paid up. Yes, we could have opted for an optician with a buy-one-get-one-free offer (if you find yourself in our situation do shop around to save some money!) But the thought of putting her through yet another test in another store (this opticians offered the test for free and then kept hold of the paperwork, fair dos!), and the thought of denying her the glasses she was happy with was unthinkable. And so, in the space of a couple of days – peppered, I must add, with lots of “oh yeah-ing” at the number of children (and adults) we know who do wear glasses and do so with style, as well as the pop stars who wear fake glasses to look “cool” – she, and I, had come full circle and were all smiles again.
The following week, the glasses, all fully made up with their brilliant sight enhancing lenses, were ready to collect a day early. My daughter practically skipped into the opticians and beamed like The Cheshire Cat when she tried them on. Everything became immediately clearer! Whilst I cannot deny we have, and will undoubtedly continue to have our moments when she rebels and refuses to put them on, she knows how much better her sight is when she’s sensible. It’s a wonderfully reassuring thing to see her doing her homework or playing a computer game in her snazzy blue frames, knowing her sight has been saved from further deterioration.
I only wish we had thought to get her eyes tested earlier. If you have any doubts with your own children, even an inkling, take them sooner rather than later. The process is fun and easy, the initial and sensitive “but what will people say at school?” hurdle will more often than not pass by like a gentle breeze, and it goes without saying that the advantages of a child having the eyesight they deserve far outweigh a life without lenses.