My eldest son has what I imagine is about the worst vision possible this side of legal blindness. Nobody knew this until he was about 6. I suppose a lot of his early behaviour issues probably were closely linked, but I was a young first time mother and oscilliated between privately thinking my child was crazy or completely normal. I didn’t know. Oddly enough, I don’t remember the first time it was suggested he may have a vision problem, whether it was before or after his teachers tried to convince me he had ADD and to medicate him, his first vision test, or even his first pair of glasses. I don’t even remember the first time I learned how poor his vision was, perhaps I blocked it out because not a day goes by that I don’t berate myself for unintentionally letting him go through his first years of life like that. Shocking to me is that my child was forcibly taken from me and circumcised while he screamed and I begged them not to, but checking his vision was not a priority for nearly 6 years. (I gather the APA’s priorities are slightly different now, we can but hope.)
My daughter had her vision tested at my firm insistence early on and, thankfully, it was perfect. I have not worried about Rafe’s vision as he has not exhibited any signs of vision trouble, and here in the UK, the health visitors are pretty on top of it. But, it’s been awhile since Rafe has seen a health visitor and rarely needs to go to the doctor and since he is school age, I thought it should be professionally checked. The morning of the appointment, I kicked myself for not insisting it be done when he was much younger, for once again putting my faith in the professionals and I was terrified it was going to be a similar case to my older sons. Thankfully, it was not. I had prepared him for the appointment beforehand and he quite enjoyed wearing all the funny contraptions and telling the eye doctor what the symbols on the wall were. He really wanted to use the letters and not the symbols, but wasn’t quite confident enough in letter names (they teach them the sounds first.)
To be told he had 20/20 vision made me want to cry with happiness. I suppose I wouldn’t go so far as to call my eldest son’s poor vision a disability, but I imagine the relief I felt knowing my younger children will not have to endure the same challenges and pain that he has must be equal to that of any mother, who aches to see one child suffer and rejoices to know their siblings will not.
Yes, that is a Santa hat next to him. The fact that he was wearing a Santa hat in August greatly offended the cleaning guy we passed, who felt the need to point out Christmas was 4 months (is that all? Shit- I’m still in 6 months away mode!) away, and then a moment later, having apparently decided he was super annoyed, informed me it was at least 130 days away! (144 days to Christmas, actually. 89 until Halloween and, most important in this house- 227 days until Rafe’s 6th birthday. This kid is on top of his holidays!)