In the sprint up to Christmas, it’s a time of many birthday parties and events; the cubs and I are busy.
My weekend will be punctuated by one, 6th birthday party tomorrow but first, my two are due an eye test.
This was a fall out event from daddy having a new prescription a few weeks back. The optometrist and I got chatting and I realised that the cubs had never had an eye test. I booked one in.
Our last visit was a mirthful event as they were both on top form. At one point, the optometrist had to put the tools of her trade down as she was laughing so much. Apparently, say cheese! was not the correct response when looking for retinal scarring.
As we head toward the opticians, I ask them both to run through the rules of engagement (we’ve adopted these to keep innocent people safe from our shenanigans).
- Always say please and thank you;
- Look where we are walking;
- We’re not as funny as we think we are; keep it down.
More can be added dependant on circumstance and occasion. For this occasion, we also included ‘swivel chair rotations will be limited to 180 degrees; no exceptions’.
‘Ok dad; we’ll keep operations obtuse’ chimes in the eldest, impressing me. Youngest nods agreement, but I’m unconvinced he’s on message.
Having watched me get tested, their reluctance to sit in the chair and cooperate is non-existent. Youngest goes first, on a machine that checks the condition of the retina, an autorefractor. His sister positions herself expectantly near the viewing screen.
The assistant adjusts his chair to bring him in line with the machine. ‘Try not to move and I’ll adjust the machine to you‘. He nods. And moves.
‘Ok; this time, try not to move…‘
He nods. then moves.
This happens three more times and I can tell that attrition is having an affect on the assistant. Before I can address the issue, eldest positions herself behind youngest and administers an effective headlock. That does the trick.
Picture taken and a ‘that all appears fine‘ from the assistant is cue for a quick scuffle. It seems that youngest wasn’t going to let the headlock go unanswered.
Her turn next. As she sits herself down, her brother eagerly gets behind her to begin a revenge headlock. I assure him that it’s not necessary, and plop him on my lap.
She’s the model of a model patient and the optician is impressed. A second ‘All good‘ is exactly what daddy wants to hear.
I begin to walk out but the I’m stopped. Apparently that was just the pretest. I thought that was too easy.
We’re moved to the room with the wall charts.
In turn, the cubs have various devices strapped to them and are asked to read, decide and look for numbers in colours. The tonometer makes them both jump and giggle, but the fun quickly wore off when eldest asked the optician why she bought a machine to blow air into people’s eyes.
“That’s all done sir! both your children need glasses!”
They both cheer, and race out into the main shop, bumping into an innocent bystander. I guess they do need glasses. I apologise, and reflect on the damage this will do to my budget.
They split like a display team to the male and female displays of frames. The adult displays. I shepherd them back to the children’s sections. Thankfully, the store has placed the more expensive ranges higher up. Their eyes are naturally drawn upwards.
He goes straight for a pair of specs with a Batman logo. They’re free, thanks to our amazing National Health Service. Great result (two pairs of glasses have cost me just over £300…). She goes for a lovely, purple rimmed pair; they match her coat and the fetching, cat eared headband that she has on.
The assistant places them on each of them in turn, then begins to take various measurements. She hands me her cat ears in order to get a proper fit. I put them on my head in order to keep my hands free to restrain her brother, who has clearly hit the limits of his concentration.
Business concludes without much drama. Both cubs hearts visibly shrink when the assistant tells us that the glasses will be ready for collection in a week. They wanted their reward now. I explained about the process of creating the lenses to their specific prescriptions, which seemed to bore them into submission. They both looked at me, looked at each other and giggled.
It wasn’t until we had walked the full length of the shopping centre to get back to the carpark that I realised I was still wearing the cat ear hair band.