…only the teachers.” Zoe’s brought this up a couple of times recently. She hasn’t been upset per se, but she does seem to notice it a lot more. I usually run through my list of kids we know in glasses out loud, but none of them are kids that she sees on a regular basis, so that doesn’t seem to reassure her.
Zoe got her glasses so early that it never really occurred to me that this might eventually come up. When she got glasses at 14 months, we didn’t know any other kids her age in glasses, but she was too young to really make that connection. Plus, nearly everyone in her family wears glasses, so I think it felt like a completely normal thing. But as she’s grown, her circle of friendship and people she’s aware of has expanded, and she differentiates now between family, and adult friends, and her friends her age. A lot of people in those first two categories have glasses, but very few in that last category. This came up again in a thread on the facebook group, and I was struck by the fact that three of us with kids around the same age were noticing a slight change in their attitude towards their glasses. Thankfully, Zoe still wears her glasses with no problems, and right now, as long as she just keeps pointing it out as a difference between her and her friends, without judgement, I think I’m going to leave it be. All kids are different, and I think it’s important to learn that differences are not necessarily good or bad, they’re just different.
But I do worry that the day will come when it she starts seeing them as a bad thing, and I’m not entirely sure what to do when that happens. I’d love to hear whether anyone has had their child starts to see their glasses in a negative light – I’m not talking about a phase when they simply won’t wear them, we’ve been through those – but rather when they are tying their glasses to their self-esteem, and not in a good way. What did you do in those cases? Or, maybe it doesn’t need to happen, are there things we can do now to help reinforce that glasses really don’t have any bearing at all on whether a person is good or bad, or nice or attractive or mean or anything else?
Normally, I would turn to books, but I find myself annoyed at a lot of the books about kids in glasses that focus (no pun intended) on the fact that the kid’s friends laugh at their glasses, or the kid hates how he or she looks in their glasses. If she was just getting glasses, I think she might relate, but I’d rather not reinforce the idea that glasses are taunt-worthy if I don’t need to.
Or maybe I’m over-thinking it. Nearly everyone goes through a time in childhood when there’s something they don’t like about themselves, and if that thing for Zoe is her glasses, well then there are worse things to be upset about.
My daughter is 3 1/2 and we are approaching her 1 year anniversary with glasses. We have been very lucky in that she has taken well to her glasses and most of the time we have no problems keeping them on her. However, her favorite thing to pretend play is playing princess, and she always takes her glasses off to do so. The first time I noticed that she would take her glasses off before putting on her play princess dresses, I asked her why she was taking them off. She responded, “princesses don’t wear glasses”, I thought my heart was going to break in half. I told her that wasn’t true and I pointed out Princess peepers, but then I couldn’t think of any other “princesses” that did have glasses. This did not seem to phase her as she continues to play princess without her glasses. I have pointed out to her that not all princesses are the same and that she could be the princess WITH glasses. It’s just not how she envisions a real princess.
Since she has gotten her glasses she has started preschool. I worried about how the other kids would respond to her glasses. At this age, it’s no big deal. In fact, one time my daughter came to school not wearing her glasses when she walked in, the kids ran over and asked her where her glasses were. I realized then, it has already become part of her identity. Right now we can enjoy the ease of 3 and 4 year old’s acceptance, but I’m sure there will be challenges in the coming years and I worry about that. I worry about how other people and kids will help to create my daughter’s own perception of herself in regard to her glasses.
We are lucky that she has had them from a young age so it’s not such a life/identity changing thing for her. My hope for her is that she can see them as something that makes her different and special for all the good reasons.