15 Things that a mom of a glasses wearing child or baby wants you to know
Trust me, I know my child’s glasses are dirty. I know when his glasses are dirty without even having to look at him. How? Well, they are always dirty. He is 10 months old. He doesn’t even know what I am strapping around his head, let alone that the lens needs to be clean in order to have the clearest window to look through. He thinks they are a conveniently placed chew toy. Just know that we try to keep them clean, but sometimes its not worth the struggle of putting them back on to make sure they are perfectly clean every second of the day. We aren't bad parents, we know they’re dirty.
You aren’t as clever as you might think you are. Personally, I am not offended when someone comes up and says, “Oh my God, it’s a tiny Harry Potter!” But I just want you to know, you are like the ten millionth person to say that. You aren’t the first person to say Austin Powers, Clark Kent, Ralphie from Christmas Story, Where’s Waldo, Dexter from Dexter’s Lab, a minion, or the grandpa from the movie Up either. Oh, and thanks for all of the Halloween costume ideas, we will be set until he's 30. (Note: Some people are offended by these comments. Be careful who you say these things to.)
It’s okay to ask questions. We understand that seeing a baby wearing glasses isn’t common. We also understand that you probably have questions regarding our baby’s glasses. Ask away! But please remember we came to the store for a reason. Hint: the reason is not to talk to a thousand different people for 10 minutes each about our child’s glasses. All we ask is that you keep it short and sweet. We never want to be rude to anyone who is interested in our adorable glasses wearing babies!
Think about your question, BEFORE you ask it. Please don’t ask me if my child’s glasses are real. I get why you might as a six year old if their glasses are real, because a six year old might tell their mom they want to wear pretend glasses. But my 3 month old did not come to me one day and say, “Mommy, I want glasses like Harry Potter.” This is the most frequently asked question to a mom with a baby in glasses. These baby frames cost around $200, they are not to make a fashion statement. Just assume they are real, because if you think about it, who in their right mind would put fake glasses on a baby every day?
Be somewhat sensitive when forming a question. Don’t walk up to me and ask, “What’s wrong with him?” This implies that my child is broken or weird looking. You probably won’t get a great response from most people if you ask them this about their child. This goes for any parent with a child who looks different. Try easing into the question. Start by saying, “Your son looks adorable in those glasses!” Then, if the parent doesn’t say “thanks” as they rush to the next aisle, you can ask something like, “May I ask why your baby needs glasses?” That way, you don’t sound rude.
An autorefractor is a machine used to test how a person’s eye processes light. This machine measures refractive error without a person having to choose whether lens 1 or lens 2 looks clearer. This is how my baby’s ophthalmologist figured out what his prescription should be. Tell your friends. 'Nuff said.
I don’t know if my child likes to wear his glasses. People have asked me if my 10 month old likes to wear his glasses. I then invite them to ask him themselves if they want to know. He hasn’t opened up to me about it yet.
Just because a child wears glasses, doesn’t mean they have 20/20 vision. From the outside, a child with glasses may appear to be seeing fine. They can get around without bumping into things and most don’t need to use a cane to navigate either. Just be aware of what it would be like to have 20/200 corrected vision. 20/200 vision means that the child sees at 20 feet what a normal-sighted person sees at 200 feet. Remember this when you get frustrated that a visually impaired child has a hard time paying attention. You wouldn’t pay attention either if you were looking at fuzzy objects all the time. Not to mention the strain this puts on their little eyes. Put yourself in their shoes.
The question, “What happened to him?” is also a silly question. My first reaction would be to reply, "Uh, he was born?" Nothing stabbed him in the eye or hit him in the face. This is why you should think before you ask. Most young kids with glasses were born with eye problems. Maybe rephrase your question to say, “why does your child need glasses at such a young age?” This also applies to children who wear eye patches. An eye patch covers the child’s good eye, to force their weak eye to work to get stronger. Nothing happened to my kid.
Please understand that we worry about how others will treat our kids when they are old enough to understand they are different. So, telling a mother that her baby’s eyeglasses make his eyes look big like a bug, is not going to make her laugh. It might actually make her sad or worried. Just be considerate. Would you want someone to make a joke about something that you or your child requires for his or her well-being? Nope? Well, neither do we.
We can see you giggling to your friends. I’m sure you are all just saying how cute my baby is and that is fine. I know he is cute. But instead of giggling and whispering, just come over to us and say, “Your baby looks cute in his glasses.” You will make our day and you won’t look rude. It’s a win-win.
If you notice your child’s eyes look off in any way at all, ask your doctor about it pronto. Early diagnosis and intervention is best. Don’t be afraid to say something just because you don’t want something to be wrong. This is a great piece of advice from all parents of glasses wearing children. It is a lot better to address a vision issue earlier, versus later. This could prevent other issues from arising as a result of the underlying issue.
Make it a point to teach your children about stereotypes. It is impossible to know anything about a person’s personality based on their appearance. Teach your children this simple fact. Just because a kid at school wears glasses doesn’t mean he or she is a nerd. Glasses will tell you someone has a vision issue, it doesn’t tell you anything about their study habits. Try showing your child examples of “cool” celebrities who wear glasses to prove these stereotypes wrong. This technique can be applied to any stereotype.
If you see your child tease another kid about his glasses, either teach him about why people need to wear glasses, or I will. I wouldn’t want someone else to try and parent my child, but I also wouldn’t watch my kid be a brat and let him get away with it. I would never get angry with this other child, it’s not his fault he got stuck with inconsiderate parents. Just try to mold your child into a compassionate human being. What happened to teaching kids the old saying, "Treat others the way you would like to be treated"?
Just be straightforward. Nothing is more awkward than catching someone stare at your child as they walk by, then seeing them 3 minutes later staring again, only this time with their friend at their side. Yes, someone at the store made the effort to go get their friend so they could show him how cute my baby is. I would much rather you just approach me with your friend and say, “I just wanted to show my friend that I saw the cutest baby on the planet.” To that I would reply, “Why, thank you.”
I believe the first step to acceptance and equality is awareness. By raising the awareness of childhood vision issues, maybe we can reduce some of the silly questions and stares we recieve on a daily basis. If people only knew what these kids go through, they might understand how some of their comments are insensitive and rude. Maybe people will start thinking before they open their mouth. One can dream!
Disclaimer: My sarcasm might come across as rude to some. I assure you, it is not meant to be. I just believe a little humor helps things stick a little better. You aren't dumb for asking silly questions, we all just want you to think before you make comments about our kids' glasses. Humor also makes it more interesting to read something that is not important to you. I apologize for anyone who might have been offended by my sarcasm.