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.
Big Robot started chatting about camouflage as he sat in the back of the car, “I read something cool about camouflage today” I chipped in. “Some people can’t see colours very well but apparently they can spot people wearing camouflage more easily than others, isn’t that cool?”
“Errr, yeah” he replies, not sure where I’m going with this.
“Your brother can’t see colours very well, we found out today at his eye test. Don’t get grumpy with him if he gets them wrong” I continued.
“Well that just means he needs to learn them!” he snapped back.
“No, it’s like how grandad can’t see. If you gave him a book, he couldn’t read it. He knows what letters and words look like but his eyes don’t work well enough to see them any more. It’s like that with Little Robot, he knows the names of colours but his eyes don’t work the same as ours, they look different to him and it’s easy for him to get them mixed up.”
He went quiet, I wasn’t sure if he understood, he’s only 6. Time would tell. Then, a few days later…
“I found yellow Lego man trousers” Little Robot says, proudly holding up the piece of plastic he hoped he could make into a Lego Wolverine figure.
Big Robot gently broke the news, “No, those ones are orange. Your eyes see colours differently.”
When Big Robot put down what he was playing with and started to help his brother, digging through the box for some that were yellow, I knew he’d understood.
Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero. – Marc Brown