Sunday, March 7, 2010

Captain Four Eyes

My little Captain Underpants has many super hero powers.  Unfortunately it appears that 20:20 vision isn't one of them

There have been many clues.  His preferred method of watching television is to stand with his nose practically touching the screen.  Despite repeated calls of, "Captain Underpants - move away from the television.  NOW!" and "You make a good door, not a window" he always drifts back to a 6 inch radius.  Then there is the fact that his catching and ball hitting skills remain, well, a little bit hit and miss.  I noticed this but preferred to convince myself that he was just a little cack-handed, like his mother.

I have been meaning to take him to get his eyes tested for, well, I'll be honest, it's years rather than months. But somehow never quite got around to it.  However, when we were on half term break I asked him to read me a huge poster on the el train, depicting Clifford the Big Red Dog.  He read the headline without pause.  "What about the rest?", I asked?  He looked at me as though I was asking him to walk on water.  "I can't read the rest - the words are all far too small" he told me.  I sat looking at the poster, reading the words as clear as day.  Uh-oh, I thought.  Better make that appointment.

Within 24 hours we are at the opticians and both boys are booked for their first ever eye test.  Captain Underpants shows his brother how it is done and goes first.  During the first test the optician looks at me with a sympathetic smile.  "He's definitely going to need glasses", she confirms.  He goes through the gamut of tests without fuss and with a maturity beyond his 6 years.  The optician is almost apologetic as she switches out lense upon lense to create his prescription.  At the end of it all he can successfully focus on the second line from the bottom - a huge improvement from only being able to make out the three letters at the top of the screen at the beginning of the appointment.

Johnny Drama is next.  Unlike his brother, he has perfect eye sight.  The news devastates him.  The diagnosis of 'no glasses necessary - his eyes are fine' sets him off in histrionics.  "I NEED GLASSES!  I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING!  I NEED THEM, NOT CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS!  MY EYES ARE RUBBISH...YOU'RE RUBBISH.  I DO NEED THEM.  I DO!  I DO!'

I am caught in the dilemma of trying to convince Johnny Drama the fact that he doesn't need glasses is a really Good Thing, whilst trying to assure Captain Underpants that wearing glasses is also a Good Thing.  As usual, my ability to handle a delicate situation of this nature is less than stellar.  Captain Underpants rises to the occasion and rescues me.  Luckily for me he seems quite excited about being told he needs to wear glasses but acts sympathetically to his over wrought and typically dramatic sibling.  Between the rants and accompanying stomping about he reassures Johnny Drama, "it's great that your eyes work without glasses JD, mine don't work as well as yours and need a little help, that's all".

JD isn't buying either of our efforts at consoling his heartbreak over not walking out of the appointment with a pair of specs of his very own.  As far as he is concerned, it is all a big conspiracy to ensure that he misses out and doesn't have the same opportunity as his brother to stand out in a crowd.  He throws himself around the reception area, taking out stands of frames and swiping at piles of magazines, to demonstrate that we all have it wrong and that he really is blind as a bat.

Over the noise the optician tries to explain that Captain Underpants is long-sighted but has a significant astigmatism which means his eyes can't focus properly on anything.  It's possible that his prematurity at birth was the cause.  He must wear his glasses all the time and, with luck, the astigmatism will correct itself over time.

We choose a pair of frames and I am pleasantly surprised at how great they look on him.  The optician continues to extend me sympathetic glances.  "Are you okay mum?" she asks.  I am just feeling guilty that I hadn't made the effort to arrange an eye test a year earlier.  I had hoped he wouldn't need glasses, but I am not surprised at the outcome.  And I am relieved that Captain Underpants is taking it all in his stride.  At least he is not in denial and stating categorically that he will refuse to wear them.  He almost seems excited about the fact.

Until the next day, when I pick up his glasses.

He wears them for 30 seconds tops.  "Can I take them off now?" he asks, as he hands them back to me.

Oh dear.  Seems like that novelty wore off very quickly.  I feel for him.  I wouldn't want to wear my glasses every day either.  I do it for a day, in a show of solidarity, but end up reverting back to my contact lenses.  And now every day is an act of negotiation.  I have talked to other mums, whose children wear glasses, and I know it will just take time for him to adjust.

But how long is that, exactly?

Tell me - do your children wear glasses?  How long did it take them to adapt?

And could they possibly look as adorable as Captain Underpants in their specs?  He might not be able to see it (in fact, it is very likely that he actually isn't able to see it - his vision may still be a little blurred even with the glasses for a couple of weeks yet until his eyes learn to focus properly) - but he looks really handsome with his new facial accessory.  I'm surprised by how much they suit him.  What was I expecting?  That my gorgeous big eyed boy would suddenly morph into Mr Magoo or the Milky Bar Kid?


He is my Captain Underpants - my gorgeous, courageous, pint sized super hero.  And it gives me a little solace to know that, when he is doing his utmost to out thwart his brother in a Bakugan battle, or affix the tiniest, fiddliest piece of lego to his latest starship, he will at the very least be able to see what he's doing.


  1. Mini wears specs, he has for the last year and he is super adorable in the. In fact he is the most adoreable. He has curved arms on them to help keep them on and it took about 2 weeks to get him to wear them all the time. As soon as he realised he could see things much better with them and also his headaches stopped too

  2. How difficult explaining to JD that actually it's a real pain to wear glasses whilst 'bigging' up the virtues to CU.
    I hope CU gets used to them quickly. x

  3. I guess I am not going to help the situation if I tell you I was told in 6th grade that I needed glasses and refused to get them until 9th grade.

    Home your LO caves in faster than I did!

  4. Charlie wears glasses... mine! He's fascinated by them and if I leave them lying around he always picks them up and puts them on and shows off in them.

    Would CU like to take lessons from him?

  5. Glasses have come such a long way over the years, especially glasses for kids. My 12 year old has just started wearing them, and like you, I thought I'd miss his uncluttered face, but like you, I was surprised how much I like his new look.

  6. I haven't had the boys tested yet but one of them is bound to need specs, as The Doctor wears them and I think these things are often inherited. I bet Littleboy2 would be just like Johnny Drama, he always has to have everything exactly the same as his brother. Good luck with handling them.....

    Like Iota, I do think glasses have changed a lot - when I first met The Doctor he wore contacts, but now he wears a pair of glasses I hardly notice, they are so light and thin.

  7. I think little boys in glasses look so sweet. My honking great 14 year old got glasses last year since he was inching himself closer and closer to the board at school. He's only supposed to wear them for far-off stuff (not desk work) but he can never be bothered to take them off. Seems I have the opposite problem.

  8. I too am guilty of putting the eye test off.
    Both child and I should get it done.
    But I'm sure Captain sweetie pants (hee hee) looks ever so handsome in his specs, can't wait to see him (and you and JD).

  9. My older son wears glasses and was luckily pretty amenable about it. He was only 4 though and I think that helped. It also helps that I wear glasses and have done so since I was 2, so could tell him cool things about wearing them, like how you can use them as a magnifying glass or start fires in the sun with them. They also stop hail/wind/snow/scottish weather from getting into the eyes. Hope this helps a wee bit Nicola.

  10. Hopefully he'll get used to them as quick as anything. I wear glasses all the time, my two would love to wear glasses too, although I think this is probably theory, if they really had to wear them they'd be throwing them away at the first opportunity!

  11. Teacher Mommy: I thought about it - but think I might reduce the number of pics of the boys due to the Troll. Sorry!

    The Madhouse: It's funny but even a few days on CU is doing so much better and says everything is starting to look clearer - except when his lenses get dirty. The glasses themselves already look like they have been through a ringer - the arms are all out of shape. It's a wonder they stay on his head at all.

    Chic Mama: I know - funnily enough JD seems to have gotten over his desire for wearing glasses pretty quickly!

    The Dotterel: It has always been JD borrowing my glasses, so I guess his initial response should come as no surprise. I dug out a pair of my old glasses for him to wear/trash the other day but of course they are no replacement for the ones that I actually use...

    Iota: Yes - I don't even see his glasses really. And if anything they just serve to accentuate his eyes, which are huge and blue.

    NVG: He's getting there already. So adaptable (well, and the bribery of a dollar for every morning he wakes and puts them straight on is helping somewhat...)

    Expat mum: Ha ha!!!

    Lulu : well it won't be long now!

    Hullabullo: OMG what great advantages! I will definitely share them with CU. I just hope he doesn't want to test them all out on our back deck...I think it could constitute a fire hazard.

  12. Oh crap. I just spent 15 mins replying to each of your comments, hit 'post' and the whole section disappeared. If anyone receives some very odd comments relating to eye wear...that would be the reason why.

    Thanks for your insights / responses! And apologies that I can't be arsed to try to regurgitate my more personal reply...

  13. oh bloody typical. As soon as I post the last comment the original ones magically appear. Makes me look like a bit of a numpty...nothing new there then.