Once, at the zoo, wee Isabella had a predicament. She was thirsty, and wanted to drink from the water fountain, unassisted. (“I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF!“) (A little stubborn, that one.) The problem, of course, was that it was a little bit of a tricky challenge. She couldn’t quite figure out how to use enough force to turn on the water and lean in to take a drink without letting go of her hold on the handle. I watched and laughed. And laughed. And photographed. Mom of the year, right here.
But then something happened. She tried, and she tried, and she tried. And she finally got it.
Her persistence paid off.
It’s so interesting to watch your children conquer and problem solve things like this.
BUT. Sometimes they just can’t figure it out. They try and try and try and try and try. And then you realize it’s going to take a lot more than just stubbornness and persistence. And then you realize it’s going to take a lot more than YOUR stubbornness and persistence.
Isabella had been struggling a little bit with some things that we’d soon learn were connected to each other.
Isabella had trouble at 3D movies. She’s hop around in her seat, ask to go to the bathroom 35 times, take off her 3D glasses, and complain that she wasn’t feeling well. I assumed she was just sort of being an obnoxious kid, as kids can occasionally be (oh not yours? well aren’t you lucky!). Isabella didn’t want to read — she would complain and complain and complain. I assumed she was just being lazy. She couldn’t memorize her times tables. I assumed she was not paying attention, too busy to take the time to actually learn them. Isabella is a horrific speller. As a mom who once placed 8th in the Glendale school districts spelling bee, and as a mom of two really terrific spellers, I just assumed she was just a bad speller and got it from her dad’s side of the family. Isabella was a bit of a monster at the end of the school day. I assumed that she was just, um, tired.
Attention issues, skipping chunks of reading, headaches, double vision. We thought these were just normal kid things. But then we remembered that when she got tired — ever since she was a tot — an eye (sometimes the right, sometimes the left) would drift off a little bit. But since she had 20/20 vision tests every time we visited the eye doctor, and because she was perfectly capable of controlling her traveling eyes when reminded, again, we thought she was fine.
But then we learned about something called Vision Therapy and had Isabella assessed.
I stood behind her and completed the battery of tests as Isabella was completing them. I was watching her fail test after test after test. Tests that came naturally to me. Of course I could find the hexagon in picture A and B. But Isabella couldn’t. I passed, she failed.
I had failed my daughter. How did I not know how much she was struggling?! How did I miss it — how did I just assume this was normal kid activity. It turns out that while Isabella does have 20/20 vision, she has issues with eye teaming, convergence, focus, and tracking.
After a year of weekly vision therapy sessions, after a year of homework with flippers and strings and lenses, Isabella is an official graduate! She retook all the tests she took a year ago, and was passing them. Passing them! She’s struggling way less at school, she’s complaining less of headaches. She’s READING books on purpose, without complaining! She’s spelling better, and her multiplication has improved. We are still pushing some exercises on her, we don’t want her to lose her momentum.
This and her amazing, amazing doctor have been such a blessing.
But I wonder how she’ll feel about trying a 3D movie….