Flawed Parenting

Today, Charlie had an appointment with her ophthalmologist. One thing led to another and the outing turned into quite the adventure rather than the mundane experience I was expecting.

After a forty five minute drive, we arrived at the appointment fifteen minutes early. Charlie was restless and wanted to play in the toy area. I looked over the toy area and noticed a kid playing in the toy area had a horrible cough. I decided not to risk Charlie’s fragile lungs and chose a seat very far away from the other people present.

Once seated, I reached into my bag and pulled out plastic links. Charlie was still strapped in her stroller as we played with the links. I said, “Together! Apart! Together!” She laughed each time and tried to imitate. The little boy with a cough heard Charlie’s laughter and sprinted across the room towards Charlie.

Like a soccer goalie, I jumped up and blocked him with my body position a few feet in front of Charlie’s stroller. I said, “No! She’s very little. She can not handle germs.” It was the nicest way I could relay my thoughts of “Don’t bring that cough over here!”

The boy’s mom gave me a dirty look as she called him back to her. She looked even more annoyed at me when he ignored her and she had to physically move him.

Indifferent to the mother’s icy glares, I sank back into my seat. The calm lasted precisely thirty seconds before Charlie burst into tears. She was genuinely upset as I tried to figure out what the heck was happening. Apparently, she had bitten her lip with the few teeth she cut last night and was bleeding from her mouth.

I picked her up, rocked her, sang to her, and stopped the bleeding. We were called back to an exam room as she regained her composure. I was glad to leave the waiting room.

Once seated in the exam room, her ophthalmologist asked how she was doing. (For those of you who don’t know, there is a minor concern with Charlie’s vision. She occasionally crosses her eyes due to one eye being significantly more far sighted than the other eye.)

I explained that Charlie will not leave her glasses on. She screams, she cries, and she throws the glasses. After a month of trying, we gave up. Her eyes cross occasionally and it has not increased despite our failure at keeping the glasses on her. I felt like a terrible parent after I said all that. My head hung in shame.

The truth is, we have our hands full with feeding difficulties, speech, PT, OT, AFOs, and trying to keep her glasses on. With our full plate, it is inevitable we are going to fail at something. Unfortunately, it was the glasses.

Kindly, the ophthalmologist didn’t criticize or say a negative word. He didn’t need to. I already felt horrible. Instead, the doctor checked her glasses and made sure the prescription was correct. He placed the glasses on her and she began to cry. Immediately, she tried to pull the glasses off.

At the end of the appointment, we agreed that I will make sure she wears her glasses if her eyes begin to cross more than occasionally. We will return to see her ophthalmologist in four months for a recheck.

It was a short outing today. Nevertheless, I am exhausted.

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About Rebecca Wood

In May 2012, my pregnancy ended three and a half months early due to severe early onset preeclampsia. This is my collection of thoughts and media. It is an attempt to document and discuss our experience of navigating the post NICU world. View all posts by Rebecca Wood

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