When my daughter Dagny was five months old she would cross her eyes when she was upset about something. It was a phase that only lasted a few weeks and I was relieved when it stopped. At her one year well-baby checkup her pediatrician asked me if I noticed her right eye turning in. It was so slight that I often thought I might be imagining it but it worsened rapidly over the next few months while I waited for her optical appointment. Her eye crossing became a source of stress for me. Somehow I connected it to my failure as a mother. I know this is completely unrealistic but I knew it must be my fault. I felt as if people were judging her, and me, for it.
On the day of the appointment we sat in the waiting room for hours waiting to be seen. I was nervous the entire time and Dagny was beginning to get antsy. I was relieved when we finally met the staff. They were warm and welcoming. I found out that my daughter is farsighted and she was given a prescription for glasses. We made progress and I was anxious to get the glasses. I rushed home and began calling optical stores in my area. There are many within walking distance so I knew we would be just fine but one after another the stores told me that they could not help me with a child of 15 months.
“We don’t have glasses that small.”
“I have never worked with a baby before.”
“Maybe you can call another branch. I am not really…uh…can you hold please?”
After making over a dozen phone calls I broke down and cried. I felt defeated. All of the emotions came out at once. I did not want my baby to face this obstacle so early in life. I never had glasses soI could not relate to her vision problems and I know that this will be something she will always have to deal with.
We finally found eyeglasses nearly an hour away. She has had them for a few days now. She wore them all day at first but she is already struggling with them. She bent them on day two and today scratched a lens. I am just going to keep smiling and putting them back on her face. We go back in a couple months to see if her vision has changed any. She still crosses her eyes. I was told that the glasses would correct this but I was not told if it would be instantaneous or gradually.
I will learn to accept this over time as I learn more about her condition and what I can do to help her. It’s not the worst thing ever and I am so glad that we caught it early. Besides it is the cutest thing ever when a 15 month old says “gyasses.”