I have to take the kiddo to an eye doctor appointment today. This is not her first time going to the eye doctor (actually that is why I'm more than a wee bit frazzled at the thought - Experience, she is a good teacher) but it is the first time going to this particular eye doctor, so there is also a bit of "fear of the unknown" added into the mix.
You see, the kiddo? Not such a good eye patient. This despite having accompanied me to many eye doctor visits (when I was dealing with my horrific eye malady over the past year) and having seen Mommy being brave and calm and not freaking out at all over more horrible eye examining than she ever would be subjected to in her own exam. When she's watching me as the patient, the kiddo is positively fascinated. She's also helpful, pitching in to read the lines on the eye chart for me so I don't have to and asking me "better? worse? One or Two?" She always wants a turn looking through the doctor's side of the machinery (he's never let her though) and loves to play with the giant, 3D eyeball model in the exam room. (Whoops, where'd that cornea go?) When my exam is done, she climbs up into the chair requesting a turn, even. Oh yes, she looooves going to the eye doctor... as long as she isn't actually the patient.
Unfortunately, the kiddo seems to be having problems with her vision and thus we are headed to the eye doctor again. This is actually a second opinion visit; we just suffered through her routine check-up two months ago. She's been going to the eye doctor since she was an infant; Hubby and I thought that her eyes weren't quite lining up and focusing in the same direction and the pediatrician thought he saw what we thought we saw, so eye exams are old hat to her by now. (There also is a family history of eye issues on her birthfather's side, which added to our concern.) The eye doctor we've taken her to for the past five years has consistently reassured us that there is nothing wrong with her vision beyond being slightly farsighted (not enough to require correction), and that what we see when we think her eyes are wonky is merely an optical illusion caused by the fact that her eyes are shaped slightly differently. We've always accepted this and felt reassured, but earlier this summer, Kiddo's occupational therapist shared with me her concerns about the kiddo's vision, specifically that she has noticed Kiddo is squinting "a lot" and that her tracking seems to be off, especially in the one eye. (That'd be the same eye that we thought wasn't quite in tune with its mate back when she was a baby...) So, I got a referral to a new pediatric eye doc and made the appointment. Which is for today. Which is why I'm filled with such anticipatory dread right now.
Two months ago, Kiddo was all about telling me how much she was looking forward to it being her turn to go to the eye doctor. "I'm such a brave, big girl, Mommy!" (famous last words) she kept telling me. "I don't even CARE about the eye drops!" "It is MY turn to read the letters, Mommy, so you have to be quiet!" "I get to sit in the chair today!" It was all good until the eye drop bottle came out. Then, as always, things got ugly.
Have I mentioned that my kid is that kid when you're at the doctor? Yeah, I thought so... Well, she's that kid at the eye doctor, too. The one who is screaming SO loudly that you think surely they're stabbing her with hot pokers, if not plucking out her nasal hairs one at a time or doing that horrible finger torture they did to my beloved George Clooney in Syriana. All over the eye drops - things she sees me putting into my own eyes twice a day (down from six times a day, and she saw that too). And her eye doctor is a pediatric specialist, so his office is a child's paradise - toys, toys, and more toys! Flat screen TVs on every wall (which always seem to be playing one of the Shrek movies, something Kiddo hasn't been allowed to watch at home yet, so there's the thrill of the forbidden too)! Overflowing candy dishes on the receptionist's desk AND in the exam rooms! None of that matters to her once that tiny, little bottle comes into view.
Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to this morning's trip. I will feel obliged to warn the doctor (sotto voce) that she doesn't take well to the eye drops, so if they have a soundproof exam room, they should put us in it. I've been working on a list of bribes - erm, I mean rewards, too - things I'll gladly promise the kiddo if only she doesn't scream. If only she cooperates. If only she'll be good. Oh please, let today be the day that she is good. Ice cream for dinner! Play Doh in her bedroom! Two TV shows tonight! Anything, just please, no screaming! I am so not above trying to induce good behavior via lavish bribes in situations like this...
So, if you hear a piercing shriek echoing across the Great Lakes in a few hours, you'll know the source. I apologize in advance for any eardrums that may be ruptured. I'm also fervently hoping that this second opinion agrees with her regular eye doctor and there is no problem... Fingers crossed!