M got glasses. And contacts. She recently reported that she was having trouble seeing, and she started spending quite a bit of time picking out random objects at a distance and reporting to us exactly what she could and couldn’t see. (“See the poster on that wall there? I can’t even see it! Okay, well, I can read the big letters in red, but if I close my right eye, I can’t, and I don’t even know what that blue blur is. . . .” and “Oh, my gosh, that sign! I can only read it if I squint. Can you read that?”) These little exercises were a bit discouraging, since even with her newly-impaired vision, M can usually see better than me. It’s like hanging around with your super-fit friend as she’s complaining about trying on swimsuits. So pretty much to just make her be quiet, I took her to the eye doctor.
I’m kidding. I took her to the eye doctor because my baby couldn’t see! Conveniently enough, M had some days off during Regents testing, so we fit an appointment into that found time. But then it was pretty aggravating, because after a freakin’ marathon of an eye appointment (you wait, you see a helper who puffs air into your eyes, you wait, you see the optometrist, you wait, you see the contact lens person, you wait, you see the glasses person), we were informed that M had to go to a contact lens “class” which had to be scheduled on a separate day. Are you kidding me? I was super-annoyed. I have contact lenses. Cute W has contact lenses. We have taught her how to take a bath or a shower and wash her hair and poop on the potty and brush and floss her teeth and, well, any number of personal hygiene skills, but we are not competent to help her with this? Seriously, that is ridiculous. So I flounced away in a huff as M urged me to chill out because I had become somewhat embarrassingly snippy, and I knew I was being snippy and I tried not to be snippy, but jeez. We dutifully showed up for M’s “class” and I suppose she “graduated,” because they allowed me to purchase contact lenses for her. A few days later, one of her lenses was bothering her before she realized that it was accidentally turned inside out. “Did they teach you about how to check for that?” I asked. Often, if you fold a contact lens in half it will sort of stick there when it’s correct, but it will spring back open quickly if it’s inside out. Or, if the contact’s inside out, sometimes it won’t look entirely concave. Instead, the very edges will sort of flare out. So those are two easy ways to check. I dropped this knowledge on M, who had never heard either of these tips. “What the hell did they even teach you in that extra-special contact lens class?” I spluttered, indignant all over again. And M just shook her head and sighed at her freakish mother who would not let this go. And no, they didn’t charge us for the class. But still.
Just like she managed to make a bald head look good a few years back, M looks super-fantastic in her new glasses, when she wears them. Like that super-articulate Parkland Survivor Delaney Tarr. These young women make glasses look good.
Meanwhile, J continues to struggle through her Braces Journey. We do a monthly orthodontist appointment that we schedule way ahead of time, and usually I plan it for the end of her school day, when all she misses is her afternoon study hall. For our most recent appointment, the afternoon study hall was actually a special ice cream party because her class had won a reading contest. It was too hard to change the appointment, but let it be known that going to the orthodontist is not nearly as fun as going to an ice cream party. Then, to make matters worse, the orthodontist decided it was time to phase in rubber bands to fix her bite (her teeth are lined up exactly, when what the orthodontists want to see is a slight overbite). So it became an extra-long appointment as she learned how to do the rubber bands, and she left feeling really discouraged in general. Cute W picked her up some ice cream, which was lovely, even if it’s not the same as a party. Now the rubber bands are a daily annoyance: she’s supposed to take them out each time she eats, then replace them afterwards. A couple of times she’s taken them out and forgotten to throw them in the garbage, leading M to freak out with an “Oh, gross!” if she ever encounters them (M, with her perfectly aligned teeth, happy to throw salt in the wound). Last week, J had left the bands on a straw at a restaurant. Our waitress cleared her plate, then circled back to see if J still needed them, and J was mor-ti-fied. So that was not awesome, but also, a helpful deterrent to the practice of leaving those rubber bands anywhere someone will encounter them.
Really, I think J’s teeth look pretty good already. She had one tooth that was quite out-of-whack, and it is almost lined up as it should be now. So I’m hoping that the fact that we’ve moved on to rubber bands means progress. She got her braces in August and we were told to plan for 12 to 24 months, and I’m pretty hopeful that we’ll be closer to the minimum than the maximum. Which would not only make J happy, but it would mean that we could skip some of the final payments. So: fingers crossed.