Reading the Letters

Chloe and Zippy recently went to the eye doctor.  Both have terrible eyesight, and both have had 3 strabismus surgeries on their eyes.  They’ve both worn glasses since before they were 1 year old.  They both have frequent eye doctor appointments.

Both kids got great reports this go-round.  Zach’s script hasn’t changed much, and he doesn’t need new glasses.  Chloe’s script hasn’t changed too terribly much either, but she did require new glasses.

I’m going to attempt to do the math here a minute:  Zach is 10.  Let’s see, he started going to the eye doctor right at 1 year old, I think.  So he’s been going to the eye doctor every 3 months for about 9 years.  Chloe is 9 1/2.  She’s been going every 3 months for a little more than 9 years since she started younger than Zach.  That’s approximately 9X3 plus 9X3 minus a few for those times it was maybe 5 months instead the scheduled 3  plus a few for those back to back follow up appointments after surgeries plus one for the Desitin-in-the-eye incident . . . .  I must have been at the eye doctor approximately 50 times with those two in the last 9 years.  Is that right?  50 doesn’t sound that drastic, actually. . . .

Anyway, the point of the math is this:  the eye doctor said to both of those kiddos this time, “See you in 12 months!”  Yippee!  I nearly hugged the man!  I gave High Fives all around, for sure!  Neither of them have to go back for 12 months!  Awesome!  I love it when a specialist says that!  (Now what will we do with all of our time?)

The story I actually wanted to share though was another sweet, on-the-ball moment with Elliot.  Elliot, as he has to do so many times, accompanied us to the eye doctor.

Chloe went first for the eye exam.  The assistant shone a light in Chloe’s eyes, did some measurements, used some little prisms, etc., and then said she was done with her.  Chloe got out of the big chair, and Zippy took her place.  As Zippy’s exam began, Elliot asked, “Does Chloe not do the letters?”

“No,” I answered without even thinking about the question.

“Why not?” Elliot wanted to know.

And then I stopped.  “Well, I don’t know.  She just never has.”

The assistant looked up from what she was doing.  “Does she know her letters?” she asked.

“Yes, she does,” Elliot and I answered together.

It was as if a light bulb had flashed in the room.  The assistant asked Chloe to come back to the chair.

I covered one of Chloe’s eyes while the assistant went across the room and pointed to a row of letters.  Since Chloe had just seen Zachary say the letters to the woman, and assuming that the lady didn’t know sign language, Chloe attempted to say the letters, too.  But none of us could understand for sure which letter she was saying.

Each time, I acknowledged her attempt at speech but also asked her to sign the letter.  And she did.

“H,” Chloe signed.



“E,” she continued, getting them all correct.

I couldn’t quit smiling.  And Elliot was excited, too.  The assistant was impressed.

And just like that, now Chloe does the letters at the eye doctor.

Elliot, indeed, continues to be a good advocate and thoughtful sibling for Chloe.  How long would it have taken us to finally have Chloe read the letter chart?  <sigh>

It certainly takes a village . . . .


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Angel on September 12, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    I love it. Elliot’s compassion and love for his sister is awesome!


  2. Posted by Mimi on September 12, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    Wonder how many things Elliot asks or suggests that we miss completely? Things that might make everyone’s life easier!


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