My little girl, Addy, was not very impressed with the Audiologist. It turns out, she is not too enamoured with opticians either.
Another routine school screening picked up on a problem with Addy's eyes and recommended that we make an appointment with the optician. Dad and three out of four of her sisters wear glasses so the idea of having a cute little pair herself was not a problem for her. She was a little nervous of the darkened room where the eye test was to be carried out but her natural curiosity and love of new games meant that she actually quite enjoyed the majority of the test.
I had no clue that there was a problem with her eyesight. It was a little bit heart breaking for me to see her struggling to identify a picture of a car - it's a sweetie, it's a tube.
The problem only began when the optician needed to accurately measure the anomaly for the sake of the corrective lens prescription. In order to get the necessary measurements, Addy's pupils needed to be dilated with eye drops.
The co-operative, happy little girl transformed instantly into a screaming monster. She was clearly terrified by the concept of having anything put anywhere near her eyes and no amount of reassurance from me or the optician was going to persuade her otherwise. We abandoned the test and made a new appointment.
Yesterday was the day of the new appointment.
We had talked about the need for the eye drops, the procedure for administering them and the likelihood that it might sting a little - like getting splashed in a swimming pool or when shampoo gets in your eyes at bathtime. We performed the procedure on Cookie dog and gave him glasses. Cookie dog was very brave!
She had had a lovely day at school. It was a non uniform day and there had been an easter bonnet competition. Addy was very proud of her (hurriedly constructed!) bonnet decorated with egg box daffodils. She also had an easter themed picture to take to the optician for a colouring competition they were running. I did not expect any trouble from her.
Addy happily handed in her picture at the desk but her mood changed dramatically and suddenly when we tried to usher her into the scene of the previous crime against her - the darkened examination room.
She held onto the door frame and put all her effort into not crossing the threshold of the dreaded room. We did manage to get her in and close the door but I fear it was already too late to turn the situation around. The optician looked defeated before he had even begun. Addy sat on my lap with her head buried firmly into my body repeating over and over - NEVER - whenever I tried to persuade her to co-operate.
Dad had accompanied us to the appointment for moral support so I left Addy with him to see if she might respond to a change of approach.
At least she did not resort to shouting at the optician that he smelled of Poo and Socks like she did with the audiologist (I think I succeeded in making her understand that that was rude and unacceptable behaviour - one small victory I suppose) but there was no way she was going to let him carry out the test.
We did the only thing we could do - reschedule the appointment... again.
The new appointment is a morning slot next week. It is the easter holidays so no school to worry about. Having an early appointment will hopefully mean we can attack it while we are all still fresh and energised. I was utterly exhausted after the appointment yesterday but I have to try and remain positive and do whatever I can to prepare my child without turning it into a ordeal bigger than it actually is.
We had a good chat about trust and being brave and doing things that you don't necessarily want to do because they are ultimately for your own good. This morning, without prompting, she announced that she was going to be brave and have eye drops. My fingers are well and truly crossed!