Joining the four-eyed club

Toby glasses

Like father, like son. He made it to a few weeks short of his ninth birthday but Toby has finally succumbed to wearing glasses.

It was inevitable, really. Both Heather and I have worn glasses since childhood, and Isaac has needed them since he was five. My eyes are so weak that I make the famously shorted-sighted cartoon character Mr Magoo look like an owl armed with the Hubble telescope by comparison.

Which is a little ironic because Toby – our resident owl-lover – is the ‘spotter’ in our family. He’s the one who finds hidden items during Easter egg hunts and he has a keen eye for detail.

However, he is now a card-carrying member of the four-eyed club too. People always say that he is the child who looks most like me, and with the addition of glasses I think the resemblance is even stronger.

I remember clearly when I started wearing glasses. Not yet seven, in school I struggled to read writing on the blackboards – yes, I’m that old. And so I was the first child in my class to wear those horrendous NHS prescription specs they made in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Two things stick in my mind, even now. Firstly, how amazing it felt to be able to see things clearly again after months of squinting to try to get things into focus. And secondly, the teasing from some of the other kids. Nothing terribly bad but enough to feel singled out and slightly inadequate.

Thankfully, Toby is far from the first kid in his year to need glasses and the pair he picked out are thinner and more stylish than the strictly utilitarian ones of my youth. He actually seems quite pleased with them. Maybe he won’t be so keen once the novelty has worn off but they definitely suit him. They do make him look like a completely different person, though, albeit even more of a Mini-Me. I’m sure both him and we will become accustomed to his new appearance soon enough.

I can remember a brief flirtation with wearing contact lenses for sports in my mid-20s. I didn’t get on with them at all. Primarily because I really struggled to insert them but also because it felt weird not being able to constantly see the frames of my glasses in my peripheral vision. I felt almost naked without them, like something was missing. Plus I didn’t recognise the face staring back at me in the mirror. I soon reverted back to wearing glasses instead and have never been tempted to give contacts a second go.

I wonder if wearing glasses will become second nature to Toby and if he will forget what it was like not to have to wear them, just as I have done. We will have to see. But for now it’s a new look for him and I like that it hasn’t fazed him at all. Welcome to the four-eyed club.


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