... already wants a do-over on the year 2009.
And at least one of the reasons should make you sit up and take notice if you have a child below the age of six.
On January 4, he and my son were horsing around (reading wrestling, struggling, fighting, shooting at each other, whatever) in the basement area of the house set aside for childhood mayhem.
Shane jumped from a couch cushion eighteen inches high onto a heavily carpeted floor ... and broke his leg.
Six weeks in a full leg cast.
The day he got the cast off, we also scheduled him for a routine visit to the eye doctor. One reason: why not bunch as many appointments on the same day as possible. Second reason: his mom had only recently gotten a full-time job with healthcare benefits. Third reason: we'd recently gotten one of those routine notes from the school nurse that his vision check suggested he might need a follow-up.
If you have kids in school you get those notes on a fairly regular basis.
So he's got the cast off for all of forty-five minutes and the eye doctor tells his mom: His left eye is not focusing at all. He's going to have to wear and eye-patch over the right eye for the next five weeks, and special glasses for the next several years to avoid going blind in that eye by the time he's nine.
Not a great day at the household. Fortunately, little kids are resilient, and now the patch and glasses have become part of the normal routine. His vision seems to be improving, but what the hell do I know?
Two lessons I learned from this:
1) Little kids don't know that they don't see well because they have no reason to think whatever they see is not normal. And the smart little kids--according to our eye doctor--often cheat on vision tests because they think it's a game. So if they can't read the chart from a distance, they will actually sneak up and memorize it before their test. Sometimes they even get other kids to tell them the answers.
2) People are boors. It's amazing the number of unfriendly (and, yes, I mean that word) stares and intrusive, obnoxious questions you get from people if you are with a child wearing an eye patch. Did he put his eye out? Can I see under the patch? Is he going blind? I've even experienced people picking up their kids and shuffling them away, because apparently an eye patch and glasses are indications of virulently contagious junior leprosy.
So if you've got little kids, think strongly about that vision check-up.
And if you see me out with my grandson, act like you've got some class.