I Can See Clearly Now

I mentioned in one of my last posts about some recent struggles trying to get Josiah to wear his glasses. About a year ago we noticed that Josiah was squinting and thought maybe he had vision problems. We even thought for a brief second maybe that’s what was causing the delays we were seeing. I remember for at least one evening thinking, “I bet he just needs glasses! He’s not autistic!” But alas, he did need glasses, and is also autistic.

It took us a good four to six weeks to get Josiah to wear his glasses. The minute we’d put them on, he’d take them right off. What ended up working the best for us was to sit across from him, put on his glasses, and then grab his hands and start ‘rowing’ together. We think it was at this time that Josiah really fell in love with music. We would sing “Row Row Your Boat,” “Day-O” and other assorted songs. After many, many days wondering if he’d ever wear the glasses on his own, Josiah finally caved in and started wearing them full-time. For almost a year he would wear them without incident.

Then a couple of weeks ago he just woke up one morning and refused to let us put them on. We thought it was a bit strange, but figured if we gave him a few minutes he’d give in. Well, almost two weeks went by without him agreeing the wear them. We were left to wonder….is he just showing some stubborn traits of a typical little guy his age, which could actually be a positive sign? Or are the glasses too tight? Wrong prescription? Since he doesn’t answer those types of questions right now, we were left to guess on our own.

In theory this shouldn’t have been that big of a deal. We know he’s capable of wearing them and with time we knew he’d likely give in and start wearing them again. But I think his glasses are full of symbolism for my wife and I. Anytime things got tough, we would say, “Remember how hard we battled with those glasses? Hey, we won that battle and we can get through this too!” So when he stopped wearing the glasses, I think we became disillusioned with the world and weren’t sure if anything would ever go right for us again.

In a way, Josiah’s timing wasn’t all that bad. We actually just bought a new pair of glasses and knew the transition from his old pair might be a challenge anyway. So now we could just focus on him wearing the new specs. We met with some of his therapists and they suggested that starting on Monday we would make it clear to Josiah that not wearing the glasses was not an option. They would spend the whole day putting them on if they had to.

Well, the good news is that he did great with the first day of this operation! Yesterday they struggled with it for a while, but eventually Josiah must have realized they were going to keep bugging him all day, so he ended up wearing his new glasses for a few long stretches. I was so proud of him when I went to pick him up and saw him through the window wearing his snazzy, new glasses. It also helped that when I saw him through the window, he looked at me, smiled, and said ‘Hi!’

He wore them the whole car ride home too. I couldn’t wait for my wife to get home so she could see how cute he looked. But just a couple of minutes after getting home, Josiah took off the glasses and was under no circumstances going to let me put them back on. He doesn’t seem to give my wife as hard a time though. I think he knows that she won’t cave, but that I’m liable to get frustrated and take a break when it gets too tough!

I don’t know that the battle is totally won yet. This morning we struggled for a while, but he was wearing them when I dropped him off at school. I’m sure we’ll have a few more struggles, but we’re already making more progress than I would have thought at this point.

Josiah’s not the only one with clearer vision through this though. As we’ve been wrestling around, trying to get the glasses on, it occured to me how much worse things could be. I can easily think that getting a 3 year old to wear glasses is the most challenging thing in the world, but there are so many parents out there facing much bigger hurdles than we are.

I’m so proud of my little guy and as you can see, he’s quite a cool lookin’ dude in his new frames!

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