Thursday, August 14, 2008

REAL-LIFE MOM - Twins comparing each other down to the glasses they wear—or don’t….

Twins comparing each other down to the glasses they wear—or don’t….
REAL-LIFE MOM for August 14, 2008 SW WEEKLY OREGONIAN newspaper–
By Cornelia Seigneur

I finally took my 10-year-old Wesley to the eye doctor this week. His fourth grade teacher Cheri Weaver had said at the last parent teacher conference that Wesley, though a great student, seems to be struggling to see the board.
Wesley’s twin Michael Josef has had glasses since last fall, and Wesley has resisted getting glasses.
“I don’t need glasses,” he’s said to me for months now, and repeated to the eye doctor while sitting in the chair to be tested. The doctor asks him to read the top line of the chart.
After he confidently reads the first large letter row, the doctor instructs him to decipher the next row, which features smaller letters and numbers.
“Can you read those Wesley?” the doctor probes.
“No,” he grins.
None of the letters below the top row?” the doctor asks.
“No,” Wesley admits, like he’s been had.
The doctor says, a bit playfully, “No, Wesley you don’t need glasses at all. You’re only at 20/200.”
Ever since his twin got glasses, Wesley has not liked them on his brother. He’s felt they do not look good, and has said so in indirect ways. He’s been determined not to get them himself.
He’s at the age where he notices his looks. And cares about his looks and has opinions about looks and what is cool and what is not and he really wants to fit in, and to not be different.
And Wesley got this idea in his mind that glasses are not the “in” thing, and that somehow they would make him inferior. For some reason, the glasses situation up until now gave Wesley the one-up on his brother. Micki was fine with his glasses. And, now, glasses for Wesley puts the boys on the same playing field.
I have talked about getting Michael Josef contact lenses for a while, and so during the appointment getting Wesley’s glasses, I decided to order Michael Josef contacts. And Wesley as well.
So, really, Wesley will never know what it is like to have only glasses, though I thought it might not have been a bad idea. I want him to realize that having glasses does not make him a different person. Or an uncool person. It just helps you see the white board.
But I decided to get him contacts (and glasses) at the same time, hoping that would cure the comparisons between the twins.
Little could I believe then that a new kind of comparison started, comparing prescription strengths.
It sounded something like this: “Well, my eyes are better than yours,” and “Your eyes are worse than mine,” and, “Well, having worse eyes means you are smarter,” and I am thinking, Man, here are my identical twin boys with the same DNA comparing themselves and I have to remind them that being identical means they are from the same stock.
Same genetics, same bad eyes, same sweet boys. On the inside. Which is what I am trying desperately to teach all of my children.
But when you are 10, you have a different reality. It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to remind them anyway.
West Linn writer and mom of five, Cornelia Seigneur’s, Real-Life Mom column appears the second Thursday of the month. Reach her at or visit her Mom blog at:

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