Friday, October 17, 2014

Our Little Amblyope

A few months ago, we took Vivienne for her routine yearly check-up at the pediatrician.  During the visit, they do a simple vision test.  I was waiting in the exam room with Miles while Vivienne did it, so I wasn't able to watch.  The nurse came back with her and said that it seemed like she couldn't see very well with her left eye.  The pediatrician said that it could just be a lack of compliance, or it could be an actual vision problem.  With Vivienne, I was skeptical that it could be a lack of compliance (she follows directions very well).  He suggested that we take her to a pediatric ophthalmologist to get it checked out.

We made an appointment with the ophthalmologist, but we had to wait over a month to get in.  It was a special day for Vivienne and me.  I took her lots of snacks and we had some good time one-on-one while Miles and Evelyn were at Grandma's house.

When we got into the exam room, the woman giving her the eye test said that she thought it was probably just an issue with compliance.  Vivienne rocked the right-eye test.  Then when she patched her right eye and asked her to identify the objects with her left eye, it was abundantly clear that she could not see well.  She could barely read the first line.

After a series of these tests, including having her pupils dilated (Vivienne was such a trooper), we finally saw the actual ophthalmologist.  She said that Vivienne has amblyopia.  Her left eye is much weaker than her right eye.  She will be wearing glasses until probably at least middle school, and it's highly likely that her vision will be 20/20 when all is said and done.

I think a lot of people have been surprised to find out that she has amblyopia, because this is often known as a "lazy eye" where one eye turns in or out (strabismic amblyopia).  Vivienne's eyes are perfectly straight and always have been.  She has refractive amblyopia.  With time, her eyes and brain will learn to process images correctly with her left eye.

This week her glasses finally came in.  Unfortunately, she wasn't feeling very well the day we went to pick them up, so she wasn't as excited as I thought she would be.  But she sure looks adorable in them, and she has been a champ wearing them all day every day without a single complaint.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Last Beach Trip of 2014

In mid-September, we took our last beach trip of the year. Our time at the beach is cherished, and we look forward to this all year.

This trip had a new twist.  We had to take Miles and Vivienne out of preschool. Of course, that was really no big deal, but it was kind of surreal to have to tell their teachers that they would be missing a week (how can they be this big already?).

Grandma and Grandpa drove down from Indiana to join us on this trip.  It makes our beach time even more precious to spend it with grandparents.

We made our usual lunch stop on the way to the beach (Smithfield's barbecue), and then arrived around 4.  The kids couldn't wait to hit the sand and surf (though the surf here is typically very mild).

During our previous trip at the beginning of the summer, Evelyn wanted nothing to do with the water.  She would weep if even a drop of ocean water touched feet.  This trip was completely different.  From the very first night, she wanted to be in the water.  Her fears had completely dissolved.

The big kids were also more fearless than ever on this trip.  They wanted us to carry them out past the break so that they could float up and down with the waves.  I wish we had brought their puddle jumpers, because they would have loved to float on their own (with us beside them, of course).  They both also loved the boogie boards, but Miles was especially enamored with the idea of surfing.

Of course, there was also plenty of time spent digging, running, jumping and drawing in the sand.  All of the kids love the sand, and Jason and I don't mind getting dirty with them.  How could you say no?

And just for good measure, for every beautiful photo we get, there is usually a gem like this tucked away.

This year, we also celebrated Jason's birthday at the beach.  Lila got him a cake, and the kids enthusiastically helped with the candles and singing.  Happy birthday, Jason!

Every few days, the kids will ask, "How many days before we go back to the beach?"  Unfortunately that's a pretty high number right now.  Next year, we will probably have to go down to one beach trip, because they may be starting kindergarten on a traditional school calendar in 2015.  Once school starts, we will be limited to only going during high season, and I don't know if we'll be able to swing that more than once a summer.  Regardless, we will always find a way to go to our beach.