Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Adventures With a Toddler in Glasses


Only a few years into parenthood we discovered that we'd have a unique family--for many reasons, not the least of which is our children's various eye "issues" coupled with their trendy eye wear. It was when Clara was three that she was first diagnosed as far-sighted with a lazy eye that required hours upon hours of patching (covering her strong eye in order to strengthen the weaker eye). This, she inherited from her father who also wore bi-focals as a young lad. Nothing like a darling blonde donning a pair of bifocals to make you smile.
(We buy all our kids' glasses from the Glasses Menagerie, a shop in Uptown Minneapolis that specializes in kids' glasses. They have extremely good warranties, a huge selection of darling frames, and great customer service.)

In order to be thorough, we decided to have Aidan's eyes checked as well (he had just turned two). Little did we know that those incidents of him running into walls, falling down stairs, and putting his nose within inches of his plate to see what he'd have for dinner meant more than the fact that he was a clumsy and curious toddler. The poor kid could barely see at all. His optic nerves are "cupped" which often indicates glaucoma, yet he has no other symptoms. It's nearly impossible to check pressures on a young child so he underwent an eye exam under anesthesia in order to rule out glaucoma. He was also diagnosed with strabismus, a gentle turning in of his right eye. (His case was mild enough that most people didn't notice. Looking back we can see how his eye turned in, but we counted it as part of his cuteness factor.) So, after almost a year with his glasses, Aidan also had a strabismus correction surgery to realign his eyes. He's still working on his "eye exercise" with modified patching.
(By the way, he told me that creation he made here is an "apple on fire".)

Somehow, sweet Eleanor ended up with perfect vision. When others comment on how much they like the kids' glasses she always chimes in with "I don't have glasses, I have dimples instead."

And then came Max. Our sweet, laid back, mellow baby. From the time he was born he dealt with the ramifications of a plugged tear duct and we decided after ten months that it was time to have his eyes checked as well. (We had explored our options in terms of the plugged duct and knew they might recommend surgery after a year and checking the status of his eyes was a must with the history of his siblings.) I remember the moment well as the doctor peered into Max's dilated eyes and said "this little guy is near-sighted." It turned out that his optic nerves look just like his big brother's so Max has undergone two eye exams under anesthesia as well. The plugged tear duct went away on its own! I'll admit to being the reason the boys are afflicted with extreme near-sightedness (although I was six when I received my first pair of specs). I wear contacts so I suppose it isn't obvious--and people always ask.

In October of 2008, when Max was 18 months old, he got a pair of the coolest red baby glasses imported from France just for him. The first words out of his mouth when he put them on were "I see it!" I got all teary when I realized he could finally see!

And that was the end of Max as we knew him.

Here's Max in his red glasses on his first day with the specs:
(His aunty Allison says he looks like should be sitting in a coffee shop wearing a scarf and typing on a Mac.)

Here's a photo of the glasses the next morning:
Since the glasses have to be imported from France every time they break, we invested in a pair of cheap blue replacement glasses for him to wear in the case that he should need them.

The blue glasses before:
The blue glasses now:
He of course broke the blue (Prada) glasses (apparently the rich and famous are into baby glasses design) while the red glasses were being fixed. We then had to purchase another pair of brown glasses as his backup pair. (The red glasses are under an incredible warranty, but we foolishly decided not to get the "second pair for half off" so that our back-up pair would also be under warranty.)

On the way up to Breezy Point, Minnesota for a little get away with the family last week, we heard a little "uh-oh" come from the back seat. We turned around and there was Max holding his red glasses in his hands--in two pieces. (THIS IS THE FOURTH TIME HE'S BROKEN THE RED GLASSES!) Thankfully, Max's grandfather was able to get into our house and get the brown glasses on his way up to Breezy Point so Max would have something to wear on vacation. Last Thursday, I brought the red pair into the Glasses Menagerie to be replaced (which takes at least a week). On Monday morning, I set Max on the floor after getting him dressed and he shouted "Glasses!" and ran to his nightstand. Next word? "Uh-oh."

Here are the brown glasses now (because duct tape is cool):
I called to order another pair of back-up glasses for $40 and the nice man at Glasses Menagerie said "He's one tough kid." My reply? "Yeah. Well, he wasn't tough until he could SEE!"

Moral of the story? Pay the extra money to buy kids' glasses with a great warranty (which we did and always do) and let the lady convince you that the second pair for half off isn't that bad of a deal when you have a toddler in glasses.


Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Sheesh! Don't the fancy designer people make those things in unbreakable, bendable plastic or something? That would make sense to me!

Molly Koop said...

The glasses are actually pretty durable considering their owners. For some reason, Max breaks the metal hinge off the front with nearly every break. That's why they have to be replaced rather than just fixed every time.

Gianna said...

Well, if nothing else, this post gave me my fill of cute photos for the week.

Sarah said...

They're so cute, Molly. It's nice to see how much they're growing and changing. I wish we saw them (all of you) more often in person, though. Life will be settling down soon, I hope, so let's try again to get together! Blessings!

John Curran said...

Your children are so cute! Umm, the "cheap" blue pair were from Prada [who make the Pope's red shoes!]??? Hate to think what the red French ones cost!

Molly Koop said...

The cheap pair were cheap because they had overstocks in that frame. The kids' glasses from that store cost around $400 with frames and lenses, but we bought a special insurance to help cover the cost of our family's needs. Like I said, though, it has been worth it to buy glasses with a warranty (if they break within a year they'll fix them or replace them--an unlimited number of times). And also, when purchasing glasses for young children, finding a frame in the right size is important and most frame shops don't carry such little frames--and if they do there isn't much of a selection. So, buying a pair from say, Sears or Walmart for under $100 isn't worth it when there is no warranty and your child breaks them about once or twice a month!

bailey said...

I just left the eye doctor with my 20 month old lady. She is far sighted which we discovered because of a slight cross in her eye from time to time. This is the first thing that came up when I googled Toddler in Glasses. Helpful, as we will be investing in glasses after we see the specialist next week. I have some basic questions if you feel like sharing. (baykivo@gmail.com)

Pang Xiong said...

i love glasses menagerie! my son is 9 and it is his first year in glasses. we have already purchased 3 pairs and had to replace one. their warranty is great. i went in and was out in 5 minutes with new frames! your kids' glasses are just absolutely adorable!