Cathy: To see, perchance to dream…
My son S was the only person in the house without glasses, minus the baby, cat, and dog, of course. They must be counted, they are family after all. But with four of us two-footers walking around as four-eyes, he was feeling left out. For years now, this has been a fairly regular conversation:
“Yes, my love?”
“How come I’m the only one in the house without glasses?”
“Be glad you can see well without them. They’re a pain.”
“But I waaaaant glasses!”
“Be careful what you wish for, Buddy.”
“Aw, c’mon, mom, I want glasses, too-oo-oo!”
So, in October we had his annual physical and he professed to not be able to see past the third line. The nurse and I found this very odd, since the year prior, when asked to read down the chart as far as he could, he continued past where the nurse and I no longer could see even with our glasses, and read the copyright line, too. That’s the kind of thing that happens with Asperger’s Syndrome. Aspies are likely to take you very literally. So when the nurse said read as far as you can down to the bottom, well, he did, down to the last character. He read the whole darn poster, not just the chart. That was the itty-bittiest print. I couldn’t read it even when I walked right up to it. But that may be an over-forty story for another day.
Anyway, after what I went through with his older brother at the same age, because he couldn’t see the big E on the chart (yet another story for another day, or week, if you have time for the unabridged version), I said, time to go to the eye doctor. I can’t take S to any old eye doctor, I have to get the referral for a specialist who is accustomed to dealing with the autism spectrum. Luckily, this was one of his brother’s regular specialists, so they had met before when S had been dragged along to K’s appointments. It’s a big help to have had prior experience with each other. So, a few months down the line we had his appointment with Dr. L last week.
I warned Dr. L that everything S says may not be exactly the 100% truth. That was as much for S as it was for Dr. L. I have to put things in terms of 100% truth for S so that I don’t get school stories of Godzilla or zombie invasions when I ask how his day was. And sure enough, S’s interpretations of the letter lines were interesting, to say the least. Very creative: Big H P became C uh, uh, uh, Z. T V P E Z became 4 3 2 Q uh, uh O. Numbers continued to be thrown in even after Dr. L repeatedly assured my son that only letters were in the charts. Both the ophthalmologist and I found his responses very entertaining, but didn’t let on. In the end, after eye measurements, etc, he is a little nearsighted. It’s pretty common at age ten for kids to suddenly need glasses, especially if a parent has them.
So we headed over to the glasses store the next day, when his eyes were no longer dilated, which with any kid is another form of parental entertainment that is amped up with S. One pair of horn rims he kept returning to gave him a bit of a James Dean look. I liked those the best. Then he found the metal frame wall, like his brother has, and that was it. We selected a slightly more rounded frame from K’s, but they are the same color blue and are very close. Even though older brother mental torture, and otherwise, goes on in our family, S still worships him and wants to be just like him.
Later the same evening, he announced that he faked it. He was just pretending and making up answers to the chart. He looked afraid that he’d be wearing glasses that screwed up his eyes because of his embellishments on the eye test. I said, “That’s okay, S. Dr. L and I knew you were making up some of it. That’s why he dilated your eyes, and took measurements with that big mask looking machine.”
The look of shock at being found out was enough to make the most hardened criminal laugh, but in my experience with him, it’s very important not to. No matter how cute he is. Suddenly, after years of the opposite when he didn’t need them, he announced, “But I don’t waaaaant glasses!”
I know this one is going into my writer vault to be used someday.