Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Eye Patch Comments and Reactions

Scenario 1: A little girl who has played with Belle a few times but it has always been in situations where she wasn't patching (like at the beach, boardwalk, park, etc) sees Belle with a patch on her eye for the first time. Belle runs up to her to play and her friend announces (very loudly).

Why are you wearing that sock?

Now, I really wanted to laugh because the way that she said it was extremely blunt and I never in a million years would have compared the eye patch to a sock.. especially not that one (purple and orange hearts!). Belle very matter of factly told her.

It isn't a sock! This is my eye patch because I had a little problem seeing with left eye. So I need to wear a patch on this eye and it will make my left eye stronger. Because this is my lazy eye (pointing).

Her friend looked at it, shrugged.. said "Ok". And then the 2 of them played for an hour with no further mention.

I was seriously impressed with how she handled the situation. Because, if this had been a few months ago I think she would have burst off in tears, tried to hide. I told her afterwards that I was so proud of her for explaining her eye patch to her friend... and she told me that she was "a little sad that she called my patch a sock" and that she thought that was "crazy and ridiculous". I just laughed and said - "yeah, that was pretty silly.. wasn't it?". I'm so proud of how she handled what could have been a really tough situation.

Scenario 2:
Not more than an hour later... we are in the grocery store. I have said before how I often wish some people would MYOB with the comments and questions that are phrased in such a way like "What's wrong with her eye?"

I do not mind questions, but please keep things positive.

So.. we are in the grocery store minding our own business and a guy who works there comes up to me while she is riding in the cart wearing her patch. He says

"Oh, did she have an operation?".


She goes instantly from happy kid to trying to hide her face behind her hair and under her hands. I explain to him that she has a lazy eye and it is not as a result of an operation. He tells me - that he had a lazy eye when he was a kid... had 2 operations for it and how it mostly got fixed but that he still has problems when he gets drunk. I smile, nod and try to get back to my grocery shopping. My kid is telling me that "we Need to go home now!" and then proceeds to ask me "Mom, do I need to have an operation?".

The shopping clerk apologizes profusely - I give him credit where credit is due there. I think he meant well, wanted to connect on some level - but... just But!

We checked out and as soon as I got her to the car I gave her a great big hug and tried to choke back the tears. It is a lot to go through for a child and she really is doing such a good job.

3 comments:

  1. Oh dear...some people just need to MYOB! Poor Belle.

    There's something about the way the little girl just came out and said what she really wanted to know and didn't give Belle any trouble about it once it was explained so nicely. :)

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  2. Go Belle - what a great response to the first question!

    While I think you're right that the clerk meant well, since when is it fine to mention to a kid that he still has eye problems when drunk? Not to mention bringing up surgeries (which aren't appropriate for lazy eye anyway, are they? I thought the surgeries were for strabismus, and then only in cases where the strabismus isn't related to vision).

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  3. geez, I could have written this post. I'm SO.SICK.OF THE.COMMENTS! What bothers me more than the "what did she do to her eye"s or the "did she have surgery"s, is my dad. He says Katie is a pirate. He holds out his finger like a hook and says "ARRRRGH!". I'm saying argh, too! She's NOT a pirate! She's just Katie! She is not defined by wearing a patch or glasses. She is *just* Katie. He loves her, and wants to help her want to wear the patch, but it really really hurts me to hear him talk about it that way.

    Katie's big sister sticks up for her a lot, but Katie's bff likes to rip the glasses off her face because she doesn't think they belong there. I LOVE the compliments on her patches, though. That makes us both feel a lot better.

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