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.