As you may know if you’ve been reading my blog Little Robot has recently had his eyes tested. We came away from the eye test with a prescription and NHS voucher for his first glasses, now we just needed to choose some. It was the Easter holidays and I thought both the Robots wouldn’t be impressed if we spent a long time looking around opticians so I looked online first to decide where we would go.
I started with Boots Opticians as I’d seen their adverts recently, they have a new and free eye check story, Zookeeper Zoe, which is basically an eyesight screening check in the form of a book and app. You can download it for free from the app store and it should give an indication of whether your child needs an eye test and if their colour vision is OK. I found the kids glasses on their website and saw kids glasses start at £40 and this price range is free with an NHS voucher. If you choose more expensive glasses you have to pay the difference. The Superhero glasses that Little Robot would love were £50 and so £11.30 with a voucher however, as he’s only 4, I wanted to get two pairs in case he lost or broke a pair and needed a spare whilst I got them fixed. Therefore it would have cost £61.30 for two.
Spring has sprung and, as the days are getting warmer, I find myself coming out of my winter hibernation and wanting to spend more time outside. Little Robot doesn’t enjoy playing in the garden very much, well actually, he does when he’s out there but it’s convincing him to get out there that’s tricky. Big Robot would happily spend most of his time outside, he loves it. I have fond memories of him exploring the garden when he was just two as I sat on the patio step feeding his newborn brother.
Both my husband and I are speccy wearers so we both know the drill for having an eye test. Rock up at the opticians, look at some far away letters and tell them whether they are better or worse when viewed through different lenses. But how on earth do you do an eye test for a child? One who’s just started school and isn’t 100% at recognising all the letters of the alphabet when they’re right in front of him, let alone when they’re viewed from across the room with one eye covered.
As I drove with Big Robot in the car, shortly after we’d found out his little brother was colour blind, I realised I needed to tell him too. All brothers get grumpy at each other from time to time, sometimes the brotherly love is hard to spot, and I recalled times when Big Robot has grumpily informed his little brother that he’d got a colour wrong.
“He should know his colours by now!” he’d snap, half aimed at me and half to his little brother. I’d sigh, ask him to be more patient, Little Robot is still learning and we don’t get grumpy at someone trying to learn. This was before we knew, when I felt something wasn’t quite right but we didn’t know for certain. Now we do.
It’s been a couple years but I still remember the worried look on Big Robots face as he asked me, “Where are your toys mummy?”
“What do you play with? You have no toys” he continued.
I tried to explain that grown ups don’t really play with toys and that, as you get older, you tend to be interested in other things. Lego and Playmobil lose their appeal unless you’re a collector.
He continued to look worried “so what will happen to all my toys?” He couldn’t imagine ever not wanting to play. He couldn’t imagine not owning mountains of plastic bricks, fire engines with flashy lights and enough toy bin trucks to put the councils fleet to shame. He couldn’t believe that, one day, he might not want his favourite toys any more. His eyes widened, big brown eyes staring at me and sadly contemplating this. Then I felt sad too.
Little Robot is 4 and recently had a vision screening, Little Robot’s sight was found to be below average. Hardly surprising considering that virtually everyone in the family wears glasses for some reason or another. We’ll be going back for another test in a few weeks and hopefully after that we’ll know what’s wrong and what we need to do. Yesterday though, I also told the orthopist that I’d suspected Little Robot was colour blind.
My brother is colour blind, my grandfather was colour blind, my mum is a carrier for it, there was always a chance I was too. I thought back to all the times I tried to teach Little Robot colours, how his older brother immediately got it but Little Robot struggled. I thought back to how he used to tell me his favourite colour was black and how he has a short attention span when it comes to colouring books. Only last weekend he was telling me the red traffic light was orange, the weekend before a dark green pen and a brown pen were both the same according to his eyes.