Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Kid Drew a Picture

Ordinarily, not a news flash, huh? I mean, while it is a pretty cute representation of some kind of submarine space car, and I am of course, incredibly proud, kids draw all the time, don't they?

Not mine. He had no interest. Didn't like to color, paint, play with clay. I figured this was just his taste, a little cosmic joke- give the artist the kid who has no interest in drawing. He was into more technical things. Blocks, legos, electricity and mechanics. Those were his interests, so I didn't push the drawing thing. I didn't worry when he was very resistant to writing, or even holding a pen.

Then, he started looking at things out of the corner of his eye. I tried to test him, asking him to read things up close, and then at a distance. I even put my glasses on him, to see how he reacted. He said everything looked fuzzy. The teachers at preschool didn't even notice him looking at papers sideways. He could write, a little, which is reasonable for four year old. At his regular yearly checkup, the doc tried to give him a simple eye test, but the kid wouldn't cooperate, and the doctor let it go. "We'll do it later. It's no big deal".

But it was a big deal. I decided to take him to an optometrist on my own. Turns out, he was very farsighted, and nearly blind in one eye. It's not that uncommon, and it is completely reversible for a child his age. He wore glasses and an eye patch (fancy ones with zebra stripes and pirate ships printed on them) for about a month, and his eyesight is nearly back to normal. It was just about the simplest fix in the world, and it cost about $16 in eye patches "for boys". To save my son's eyesight. Had we not gotten him a more thorough eye test, he might well have gone permanently blind in one eye. Instead, for the first time in his life, my little son pulled out his paper and markers all on his own, and spent hours drawing and decorating cars and boats and airplanes and "space trains". Because he could finally see.

Just a notice to anyone with a small child- my son had terrible eyesight, but the signs were not at all like the ones I had as a nearsighted kid. He didn't squint, he didn't complain about headaches, he could read images both up close and at a distance, because he is able to force his eyes to focus for a little while at a time. And it is completely fixable, because he is a little kid. It is also hereditary, as both of his grandfathers had vision problems as kids.
Disclaimer here- I am not a medical expert of any kind. Just wanted to share our story and one example of a mother's instinct being right on the money.


MG Higgins said...

Wow! You must be so relieved that he didn't lose his eyesight and that is was a relatively simple fix. That makes his space train picture especially beautiful!

Kate said...

Yes, Mother knows best. Well done for sticking to your guns!
Great picture!

adrienne said...

Wow. What a great call on your part to take him to an optometrist when you sensed something wrong.
Great picture! Glad he's discovered the joys of doodling.

Lily Cate said...

Yes, I'm glad it turned out fine. I was surprised by how simple and how serious this really was. His behavior was also a symptom of brain tumors in children.

I just wanted to get the word out to those I could- if a little kid is looking at things out of the corner of their eyes habitually, get it checked out for sure!

Anna said...

Such an inspiring story, thanks so much for sharing! I'm so glad your son's sight has improved! And that's a mighty fine space car. :-)