Stop Asking About My Baby’s Glasses

Stop Asking About My Baby’s Glasses

About 9 months ago, when she was about 13 months old, Sweet E started to wear glasses. I would be lying if I said I didn’t struggle with seeing them on her at first. I’ve always thought she was a gorgeous baby and her glasses made her look completely different. It was hard; I really struggled getting used to it. But after a couple weeks, I did indeed get used to it over it. And you know what? She’s still gorgeous (and so much more).

What I wasn’t prepared for, though, were the questions and comments we’d receive out in public. Before her glasses, we’d often get comments about her overall appearance. After her glasses, those comments became “I love her glasses!” and “Her glasses are so cute!” It felt like people didn’t see her anymore.

We literally cannot go anywhere without someone mentioning them.

Now, let me put it out there that I realize these people are well-meaning and they probably really do think her glasses are cute. It’s human nature to notice things that aren’t normal. A baby in glasses isn’t normal. I get it. That said, every time someone said how cute her glasses are or something similar, I wanted to scream, “She’s more than just her glasses! There’s a baby behind them!” I didn’t, obviously. Instead, I smiled and politely said, “thank you,” which is what I still do today. I’m truly grateful for the kindness.

Sweet E has accomodative esotropia, which basically just means that she is far-sighted and so she crosses her eyes when she tries to focus on things that are close-up. Her glasses correct this when she has them on. It was her crossed-eye that helped lead us to her brain tumor (click here to read about that) and so I’m actually very thankful for it and her glasses that correct it. She’s happy and healthy. That said, while I may be used to the glasses and am even be grateful for them, they are sometimes a reminder of her tumor and the uncertainty of what may lie ahead in her story. I realize that this is my issue, not hers.

Every so often, we get questions, too; the same three over and over.Multiple times every time we leave the house. Truthfully, it isn’t the comments that get to me, it’s the questions… mainly the last one.

  1. How did you know she needed glasses? It was easy. She crosses her eyes without them.
  2. How can they tell what her prescription is since she can’t identify letters or shapes? It’s pretty awful and amazing at the same time, actually. But to simplify, they dilate her eyes, we hold her down and the doctor holds different lenses over her eye and shines a light through it… all while Sweet E screams and cries hysterically like she’s being tortured.
  3. Are her glasses real? {This one kills me} Yes. Of course they’re real. Why the heck would I ever put fake glasses on a baby?! I get that some moms do this for photo shoots to give them the cute, hipster look but come on. They’re pink plastic glasses with lenses that make her eyes look huge. They’re held on by an elastic strap around her head for goodness’ sake. There’s literally nothing stylish about them. Yes, they’re real. Stop asking this.

Now, again, I realize that intentions are pure and that it’s hard to mentally reconcile a baby in glasses. So, I realize that people can’t help but to ask. But, before you do, please stop and realize that the questions you’re asking may actually be very personal. Would you ask someone in a wheel chair if it was real? Or why they need it? (I realize this isn’t a true, fair comparison since Sweet E isn’t disable in any way.) What about if they had a scar on their face? Are you prepared for them to tell you the true answer without regretting that you asked? Sure, the way we recognized the need was easy, but my baby’s glasses come with a story – one that I’m not going to share with you in the checkout line of the grocery store.

What’s more, though, is that Sweet E is going to be two years old soon, which means she’s getting old enough to understand the questions and comments we get in public. She knows what her glasses are and she likes to wear them (because she can see clearly with them, obvi). I hope she always does. As she gets older, though, there may come a day where she becomes self-conscious about them and that will be a sad day for sure. Kids can be mean and there’s not much I can do to stop it. But what I can do is ask for your help.

In this world of Photoshop, social media, and unrealistic definitions of beauty, both of my daughters will inevitably have things about their appearance that they don’t like; that’s to be expected. In light of that, Sweet E doesn’t need to be constantly reminded that she’s different by well-meaning strangers. She doesn’t need to grow up thinking that all people see when they look at her is her glasses. She’s so much more than that. She’s sweet, funny, goofy, and really really smart. We tell her that every single day. But, you and I both know that the words of strangers can be powerful, even if they are well-intentioned compliments.

So, while I know you mean well and maybe you really do think her glasses are cute, please don’t mention them. You may be doing more harm than good.

This post was republished on the Huffington Post on August 7, 2016.

Share This Post:

21 Comments

  1. August 25, 2016 / 12:14 am

    My little girl with CP wears glasses too and we get those questions all the time! I have enjoyed reading your posts and so glad things turned out okay with the tumor. I remember my daughter having her MRI, very nerve wrecking, and the news to follow…forever ingrained in my mind. Thanks for sharing and I am sorry you got all those hateful comments.

  2. August 11, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    I have a special needs son who started wearing glasses at 4 months old (he’s turning 3 in a couple of weeks). Yeah, I got those questions a few times myself but I just let it slide. I realized, we parents, take on the defense immediately when it comes to our kids thinking that people are going to be cruel but sometimes the natural curiosity of people just comes out. I guess we need to take it easy on them, well unless they are being rude and outright invasive in their questions and comments.. 🙂 What I hate though are those people who pity my son for having to wear one at such an early age because I don’t see it that way.. that’s just rude in my opinion since they don’t know the story why he has to wear one..

    • August 11, 2016 / 12:19 pm

      Hi Liz! Thanks for reading and for your comment! I am fortunate and grateful that all of the comments and questions we have ever gotten about E’s glasses have been positive. People really do mean well and are being sweet. Perhaps I am overly sensitive to what she may feel later in life because I was bullied and made fun of relentlessly for many different physical “imperfections” as a kid (that she unfortunately inherited ;)), including my glasses. I have never gotten defensive with anyone and have always said “thank you” for for the compliments and answered the questions that were asked. What I struggle with is the frequency of it all. I know people have no idea that the innocent and curious question they asked me had just been asked 3 times before them that day but I would almost rather that they ignore her altogether. That may not make sense to anyone else but it’s almost like I just want to go to the grocery store and not have to talk about it, you know? She’ll be old/big enough soon where she won’t stand out and will blend right in and I’m looking forward to that. I’m grateful for her glasses and that she likes to wear them and my prayer is that she always will.

      And, the pity thing would drive me crazy! I totally agree that it’s rude. Happy early birthday to your sweet boy! Thanks for stopping by my page. 🙂

    • July 21, 2016 / 5:51 pm

      Thank you!! I want to just look at them blankly and say, “You sound stupid” and walk away. 😂

  3. July 20, 2016 / 10:46 pm

    That’s so interesting. My youngest daughter also got her glasses when she was 1 and nobody ever asked if they were real. I found that between her curly hair and glasses strangers thought it was okay to comment how cute the glasses were and touch her hair LOL. I found that the people who inquired about them just wanted to know where I got them so they could purchase a pair for their own child – that’s actually how I was introduced to Miraflex. It’s funny but I never thought of her as different for wearing glasses – even though my other kids don’t. I think if you don’t make a big deal, neither will your child. It also helped that she got them so young – she just always had them and never questioned. I imagine it’s harder for an older child to adjust…
    XO
    http://www.lehoarder.com/

    • July 21, 2016 / 3:44 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that no one ever asked that. We get it so much! Not as much as the first two questions but definitely enough for me to have noticed, obviously. I get that people are curious but it’s super annoying. I don’t see my girl as being different either but my other daughter never got the kind of attention Sweet E does. We don’t make a big deal of it at all. In fact, we never even think or talk about her glasses unless we’re out in public. In a couple years she’ll be old enough to where her glasses are “normal” and the comments/questions will stop.

      Thanks for the comment and support!! xo

  4. July 20, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    Ugh, it’s enough to make you want to get a t-shirt that says “Yes, her glasses are real. Yes, the doctor can tell the prescription without her input… etc.”

    • July 20, 2016 / 8:10 pm

      You’re exactly right! Maybe I should have one made! 😂

  5. July 20, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    Motherhood seems to invite a lot of unsolicited comments and advice from strangers. I have a special needs daughter and have dealt with similar issues for years now. I now just let it out the other ear and smile. Why bother explaining to people who won’t really understand (or care) anyway? Glasses or not, your daughter is adorable!

    • July 20, 2016 / 5:45 pm

      Thank you so much! I wish people would just mind their own business, right? Hope all is well with your daughter!

  6. July 20, 2016 / 1:33 pm

    “are the glasses real?” I mean seriously?? Menn, just shut up! Maybe you should indeed answer that they are not but that you really like the looks and see how they react…

    • July 20, 2016 / 1:53 pm

      Hahaha! I’d probably get the craziest looks!

  7. July 20, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    WOULD TOTALLY FEEL THE SAME WAY!!! Great post

    • July 20, 2016 / 1:33 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad to know I’m not crazy!

  8. July 20, 2016 / 11:06 am

    When will people learn to just mind their own business? These types of questions are on such a personal nature, even if they don’t realize it as such. Especially that last one though? Really? Are they for real (the questioner, not the glasses).
    My baby had some head shape issues (flatness but also one side of his forehead was a bit bulgy) so he had to wear a DOC Band (a helmet basically) for a few weeks. Random people would come up to us and ask if that baby was going to be OK (did they think it was a cast or something?). Seriously, what is wrong with people? Just mind your own! My husband started telling them we were training him for the baby UFC.

    • July 20, 2016 / 11:08 am

      Hahaha! What a great response! But yeah, give a compliment on the kid’s overall cuteness or keep it moving!

I love to hear from you!