My little girl, who is two years old for only two more weeks, is one of the strongest people I know. She has taught me so much in so little time, and her lessons continue to surprise me.
She’s the kid who faceplants and gets back up with her toddler-speak, “I okay.” She’s not scared of needles or dark rooms or strangers. She’s tough. Please don’t pity her.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that last Spring she was diagnosed with amblyopia, an eye disorder that causes decreased vision in an eye that otherwise appears normal. In fact, when we brought her to the optometrist last April, the vision in her left eye was only 20/80. Did I suspect a vision deficit? Nope, not at all. In fact, the only reason I got her eyes checked is because we were already there for her brother’s appointment and we had the time. So, here’s my PSA: Get your children’s eyes checked annually. OHIP funds yearly eye exams for people under 20 years of age.
Along with her considerable lens prescription, we also have to patch her strong right eye three hours every day to force the weaker left eye to work harder. This past October, after only six months of glasses and patching, my determined little firecracker had improved to 20/30 vision. Her body is responding and she’s progressing just as we’d hoped. But we will have to continue to use occlusion patching for the foreseeable future; you see, as malleable and flexible as children’s brain and nerve development are, they can also regress. I’m told we have until age seven to make gains with her vision, since the improvement of her particular deficit ceases after that point. Early detection is key. We need to keep our foot on the gas and our eye on the prize for another four or five years.
When we first learned about all of this, I worried about the ‘differences’ it would create for her. I worried about the looks she’d get and the teasing she’d endure. And then I remembered who I was dealing with: the kid who sticks up for herself and has a heart of gold. She’ll be fine. She is fine.
Her patch is just a part of her childhood, a part of who she is at this point in her toddler life. We ordered some ‘fun’ patches for her, complete with glitter and animals and bright colours. Every morning she gets to choose a patch that suits her mood. Most often, it’s puppies or bunnies or anything sparkly. Just like her, sparkly.
Don’t feel sorry for her, feel proud of her. Please don’t pity her.