I knew the results of the eye exam before Dr. Lai said a word.
I’d never seen my daughter scrunch up her face that tightly. She pursed her lips and leaned forward, squinting hard at the screen like she was in a make-a-funny-face contest.
We’d known, going into All About Eyecare that morning, that glasses were a very real possibility. She’d been squinting at the TV and trying to put her face too close to the iPad. My husband and I had exchanged looks as we told her, for the thousandth time, to back up because she was hurting her eyes. Something was up.
So when Dr. Lai calmly announced we’d go to another room and dilate Charlotte’s eyes so she could determine her prescription, it was the moment we’d been waiting for — except I’d been waiting for a big dramatic announcement.
“You tell her,” I said. “She’ll be really excited. She’s wanted this.”
When Dr. Lai told her she’d be getting glasses, Charlotte’s face lit up like she’d been awarded her very own pony.
“Mom!” she squealed. “I get my glasses!”
“I know! I’m so excited!” I squealed back, hugging her like she’d gotten a medal. “I can’t wait to see which ones you pick out!”
Dr. Lai seemed surprised by my giddy reaction and told me so. Apparently, parents are often disappointed or annoyed when their child needs glasses, which makes it a negative experience for everyone.
“Oh, no. The glasses might be U-G-L-Y,” I spelled cheerfully as Charlotte joyfully skipped around. “I don’t L-O-V-E them on K-I-D-S. But I’m so excited.”
I wasn’t at all excited about the idea of a little pair of glasses. I was just being Super Happy Positive Mommy so that it was a big, exciting, wonderful day instead of a scary, strange day with eye drops that kind of hurt.
The next little while was a blur — a literal blur for poor Charlotte and her giant pupils — while we browsed the glasses selection and got her prescription. She tried on pair after pair in the mirror and I complimented her on each one.
Picking out glasses for a teeny tiny person is not easy. Everything seemed huge on her little face! The black ones were kind of hipster-cool, but they overpowered her features. She ended up choosing a mostly-pink pair for “every day” and a purple pair for “special occasions.”
(Yes, glasses are expensive, but it’s strongly recommended that kids have two pairs in case one gets lost or broken. I thought about it for a second before deciding that made a lot of sense.)
We all celebrated Charlotte’s new glasses over lunch in the restaurant next door to the optometrist. Well, three of us celebrated. Our son was crying because he was jealous he had perfect eyesight and didn’t need glasses. (He only stopped when I hissed that glasses are actually annoying and that I’d take away his TV privileges if he ever told his sister I said that.)
She was wearing them full time about a week later. We quickly learned to make sure a pair was safely tucked into my jewelry box at all times, in case the in-use pair was misplaced, but what took longer was adjusting to our daughter’s new look.
It was strange to see her look so unlike herself. She didn’t look like our little girl anymore. She was like the funny-but-geeky character in a kids’ movie about summer camp or a ragtag baseball team. She was no longer a Matilda; she was the nerdy-cute bespeckled Lavender, the sidekick …
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