Family Kitty Photography

Glasses. In triplicate.

23/02/2016

Space for the Butterflies

It may not have escaped your notice that lovely Miss Kitty is now sporting a very fetching pair of glasses. Or to be more accurate, three very fetching pairs of glasses.

given that I’m shortsighted, so is H, so are all of the grandparents and aunts and uncles, with our children it’s always been a question of when they got glasses, not if. I think I’d rather hoped that they’d be nearer to H and not need them until they were teenagers but for now Kitty needs to wear a pair for a few months and then we’ll know whether she just needs them for “concentrating work”, though quite how a five year old is supposed to be able to tell when she’s concentrating enough to need her glasses I have no idea.

She had her eyes tested just before half term and we duly surveyed all of the frames in the rack, rejected half a dozen and chose a couple that she liked and looked good in and took them off to be measured.  The first pair was the wrong fit, and the second the arms were too long and our lovely assistant returned with what appeared to be the only pair of frames in the shop that was the right size for Kit, and which we’d already discounted. Kitty, having been promised glasses, and I suspect fearing that she might end up with nothing, latched onto them as her newest favourite favourite ever, and I, now exhausted with the combination of keeping three children occupied in an opticians and an impressively horrible cold, said yes.

The guilt set in before we got home.

I’ve worn glasses since I was Kitty’s age.  I’m now horribly shortsighted, to the point that there’s only a very small distance at which I can see something in focus without my glasses on without double vision kicking in for being so near to my face.

I tried contacts in my teens but the idea of fingers touching eyeballs makes me shudder and despite many many efforts I only ever got one contact in one eye and even then I think it was more by accident than design, so glasses it has been for the last thirty years.

And when I was Kitty’s age, and at the opticians where we lived, glasses meant choosing between pink or blue.  Big plastic NHS frames in a slightly Dame Edna Everage pointy corners style.  I think I alternated between the two colours for most of primary school, although I do remember having a pair with red stripes on the corners by the time I made it to Form 6. High fashion they were not.  Looking back at the pictures now I don’t look too silly, although my primary and early teen years had a definite gawky ruffled baby chick vibe (especially while I was growing out my bowl cut – what can I say, it was the 80’s), but I remember the first day of going into school with my glasses and it was not my favourite day by a long stretch.

I was quite spectacularly shy at the time so anything that drew attention to me was a not good thing, and as you cannot wear glasses and not look different and as fellow five year olds love to point out the new and the different, you can see where this is going.

It’s not that they were mean, I don’t think I’ve ever been called names for wearing glasses, but to a shy and self conscious child, “Look! Caroline’s got spectacles!” might as well have continued “and is therefore an alien, let’s tease her and look at her and be mean to her forever”.  I ran to the end of the playground and stood looking out through the corner of the fencing so that no one could see until the bell rang for school.

Even before I had children I knew that I would do anything and everything to try to save them from that feeling, or at the very least, to give them the confidence to face the world through glasses unabashed.Space for the Butterflies

Hence the guilt.  I felt bad that I’d allowed myself to be talked into glasses that maybe Kit didn’t like, and bad that she would associate glasses with desperation and a lack of choice. Shades of the 80’s all over again.

And so we went out the next day and went around all the other opticians near to us, and bless Specsavers in Solihull, they were lovely, they were kind, they took time with us and with Kitty in particular, and they helped us find not one but two pairs of glasses that Kitty really truly loves, and as we would be buying them from scratch because we’d already used the NHS voucher they even let us have the adult buy one get one free scheme.

So now we have three pairs. The original, which turned out to be not as bad as I’d remembered them once we got them home*, and are blue and purple, a magenta pink pair with Tinkerbell down the sides and a steely blue pair which have Elsa on them.  The latter two both look lovely on her, and the branding is actually fairly subtle (although where glasses are concerned I’d probably have put aside my usual veto on the children wearing anything too heavily branded if it made Kitty like them).

And so far so good. She’s been happy enough wearing whichever takes her fancy, usually with a fair amount of changing over the course of the day, and we’re getting to the point where it looks funny to see her without them rather than with.  She is as always, confident and very much her own person, and I when I got home last night she was happily wearing Tinkerbell and told me how she’d shown them off to another boy in her class who already has glasses and they’d together decided that hers were just as cool as his minion ones. Phew.

*Though in having them less than a week one of the nose pads has already fallen off so I’m not very impressed by the quality or service – hence not naming them – we’ll be going straight to Specsavers next time she needs a check up .

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  • Chloe (Sorry About The Mess) 23/02/2016 at 7:20 am

    They look great on her! Also very shortsighted, remember picking my glasses out aged 8. I always went for the most gaudy, colorful thick frames. There wasn’t much other choice, as you say, but I thought they were just amazing. Looking back I can see it wasn’t such a great look!

    • Carie 23/02/2016 at 8:13 am

      I remember having one pair in my teens that had thicker frames and were covered in purple and pink blotches; I thought they were so cool until a boy in my class said they looked like they were bruised! Ah the charm of youth! Even now I hate having to choose new frames because I can’t see what I look like in them until they arrive and I just have to hope for the best!

      • Doris 23/02/2016 at 8:30 am

        Technology should be helpful in that case, I think. There are opticiens who offer the service of a ‘mirror’ that actually takes a photo and shows it for some time after (so you get a chance to put your own glasses back on and have a look. Otherwise: take selfies with all the frames you think you might like and have a look at them!
        I myself didn’t get my glasses till I was 25 and have pretty much from the beginning had two or and one point even three sets. I love being able to choose in the morning.

  • Poppy 23/02/2016 at 7:27 am

    Bless her! I’ll never forget my first pair aged 14 – literally the only semi decent pair in the shop (they were awful) but being able to see the leaves on the tree was awesome.
    You are a lovely mummy
    Poppy (Kitty’s aunt)

    • Carie 23/02/2016 at 8:11 am

      Yep that sounds about right! And thank you, you are a lovely aunt x

  • Louise | Squished blueberries 23/02/2016 at 7:31 am

    I wore glasses as a child and I remember those 1980’s NHS ones (I had pink). I started wearing mine at 3 I think, so obviously I hated them and used to hide them in all kinds of places. It sounds like Kitty has a brilliant positive attitude to her glasses, and why wouldn’t you when they have Tinkabelle on them? I can imagine Mabel asking for glasses even if she doesn’t need them, just because they have Disney princesses on. She already wants to wear Daddy’s glasses. Glasses are quite trendy at the moment, just tell Kitty she’s a hipster!

    • Carie 23/02/2016 at 8:10 am

      We did quite a bit of build up to the day itself about how glasses are cool and how in films if they want to show someone is clever they always show them wearing glasses but I think the biggest help is probably that she’s not the first in the class with glasses so the novelty value has worn off a bit for the rest of them – and she’s ten times as confident as I was which definitely helps!!

  • Mandycharlie 23/02/2016 at 8:55 am

    I was about 8 when I started to wear glasses, by this time I could read the first row ‘H’ on the letter testing board with one eye and up to the second row with the other – thank goodness I had a wonderful teacher who had recognised the problem. I’ll never forget the walk home from the opticians wearing my glasses for the first time and being able to see, well everything, especially blades of grass and leaves on trees. There were times that were testing, I remember the name calling off my sister! Etc, kids eh. I think your both brilliant role models and you can always add Godmummymandy to the blind as bats list but contact lense wearer extroidinaire and her two sons both wear specs too! I think she looks really cute in her specs, very grown up.

  • sustainablemum 23/02/2016 at 11:23 am

    Yeah I remember those 80s pink glasses I had a pair too! I think two pairs of glasses is a great idea for a child I was always breaking mine :(. I would take that broken pair back, they should repair that job for free.

  • Hayley @hayleyfromhome 23/02/2016 at 12:50 pm

    They look super on her. I could have written this myself Carrie, I’ve had glasses since I was five and I remember the teacher having to ask me to put them on as I used to hide them in my tray! I wear lenses most of the time now for praticailty more than anything else but actually quite like wearing glasses. I must get my boys checked although my husbands vision is perfect so I hope they won’t inherit mine. Love that your got three glasses in the end, I would probably be the same but I’m not sure children are as bothered about it now, I always think they look quite cute in little spectacles!

  • Evelyn 23/02/2016 at 5:20 pm

    They look great on her, I bet she’s having lots of fun choosing which ones to wear, I know my girls would

  • sherry 24/02/2016 at 2:38 pm

    They look fab, my daughter is a +8.00 and +6.50 and I am just so so thankful she isn’t having to go through what we went through with the old NHS glasses. They are so good that you can barely see the thickness of the lens. Kids seem to be more accepting of glasses nowadays and I hope she enjoys them x

  • erica 24/02/2016 at 3:52 pm

    She looks beautiful in them!!! Hey…glasses are sooo in. They are so advanced these days…they make glasses for everything (even swimming, scuba diving!!!) My kids don’t need them (yet)but have been wishing they did for a while now (ha) because they get envious of all the fancy frames their friends model at school. Selection is great…too bad about the pricetag.

  • Sally 31/03/2016 at 8:28 pm

    She looks very comfortable and confident in them, and they look great on her. Hope she’s adjusted happily to wearing them.