- I promise, I know his glasses are dirty. They're always dirty. His whole body is dirty - he's 17 months old. I try my best to keep them clean, but sometimes, it's not worth cleaning them every 10 minutes. He messes with them more when I mess with them, and I'm pretty sure even with fingerprints, milk splatters, snot and food on them, he still has better vision than without them.
- If you wear glasses (or even sunglasses), please don't wiggle your glasses on your face and let my son play with them. I totally get it, you want to relate to him, make him laugh and interact with him. All things I want too. But please, please, please, don't play with your glasses on your face and say, "I have glasses too!" Or let him play with your glasses or sunglasses. I know it's a natural thing to do, I'm guilty of it as well, but it only makes him want to do it to his glasses because he thinks it's funny, and that's the exact behavior I'm trying to teach him not to do. So make him smile, make him laugh, just don't use your glasses to do it.
- Please assume that children wearing glasses under the age of two are doing so for a medical reason. I know lots of parents purchase fake glasses for their kids because, as everyone says, "Kids in glasses are SO cute!" But most people don't put fake glasses on a baby, or well, any child under about two years old because they'd never wear them for more than three seconds before becoming a chew toy. So please don't ask me, "What are his glasses for?" (Not even sure how to respond to that one. His vision?) "Are his glasses real?" or "Do you have him wear them so he'll look cool like a hipster?" What the what? I am not that vain. These suckers are $400, I'd say that's a little too expensive a purchase for vanity's sake. *Quick tip: If you look closely at babies and toddlers in glasses, you'll see a back strap or these things called stayputs, little plastic pieces behind the ears to make them stay on - fake glasses don't have them.
- Please teach your children that glasses are not toys. As I mentioned, I know there are parents that purchase fake glasses for their kids. And this is a bit of a tough one for me. I totally get why parents do it, I could see myself doing it too if our situation was different, but now that I'm on the other side it sometimes frustrates me because then young children think everyone's glasses are toys. And toys are meant to be shared. As much as possible, please try to educate your child about glasses and the difference between play and real glasses. And please, if your child attempts to take my son's glasses off his face, stop them! Or fair warning, I probably will.
- In the same vein, please teach your children about glasses and stereotypes. The first time another kid called my son a nerd at the park, I was tongue tied. The second time wasn't much better. It's hard to hear your toddler called names by an older kid, even if they tell you, "What? I'm just being honest." In many ways, I don't blame the kids, I blame parenting. So please, if your child's old enough to understand, teach them that: 1) Just because someone's wearing glasses doesn't mean they're a nerd, it just means they need vision correction. And 2) it's just plain not-nice to call people names - no matter how honest you think you're being.
- Please be sensitive about what you're asking and saying. He may be babbling in the cart next to me, but he does understand a lot more than what you think. Please don't ask me, "What's wrong with him?" or "Is he blind without them?" I hate to burst a bubble, but calling him Harry Potter or Clark Kent, or even a pirate when he's wearing a patch isn't all that clever, we've heard it a lot. Oh, and definitely, definitely don't do a double take when he's wearing the patch and say, "Does he have an eye under there?" or "Oh my goodness, I thought he was missing an eye!" You will likely receive a forced laugh that takes everything in me to muster while I rush off. I can brush off a lot, but those two things? Just. No.
- Please don't define my child only by his glasses. One of my fears when we first found out my son would have glasses was that he'd be forever defined as the boy in glasses. And that fear has already come true. And I suppose it's okay. It's inevitable and I'm over it. But while I love that so many people think he is super cute in glasses, it's so refreshing when someone chooses to comment on something else. His blue eyes, his hair, his giggle. I know I'm biased, but I think he has lots of great things going for him, not just his glasses.
Other Posts In This Series on Oakland Avenue:
Eli Four Eyes (Our experience getting Eli diagnosed and introducing glasses for the first time)
Kids In Glasses: Frequently Asked Questions
Tips and Tricks for Introducing Glasses To Your Toddler For The First Time (And Get Them To Keep Them On.)
My writing on other websites about glasses:
Little Four Eyes Blog: The Benefits of a Second Opinion
Twin Cities Moms Blog: How To Tell If Your Child Needs Glasses