Saturday, January 31, 2009
A New Look for Anastasia
Earlier in the school year, Miss Virginia expressed concerns about Anastasia's vision, but we dismissed her unwillingness to answer questions from the chalkboard due to her shyness. This semester, however, the issue returned as she seemed to have difficulty distinguishing coins during their money lessons. We decided it was time to visit a professional and get a check-up. First we tried to have her read the eye chart at the Embassy nurse's office, and she didn't do so well. Instead of trying to figure out if this was once again shyness or true inability to see the chart, we went ahead and scheduled a visit with the local "professor" of optometry. I highly recommend her to anyone. She was very patient and caring and tried hard to ease Anastasia's nerves.
The whole exam was painfully difficult for her, due to her extreme shyness and fear of the procedure. While we waited for our appointment to begin, we tried to get her excited by trying on several types of frames, but she was not thrilled about that. Her nervousness grew as the evening progressed. She was intimidated by all the equipment, by the doctor, and had no desire to participate in the tests. The doctor was very patient, but suggested that perhaps we should consider rescheduling for when she was more comfortable. I knew that would be never, so I encouraged her to continue and we were able to get Ana to open up a bit. In the end, she did very well and was able to participate in most of the diagnostics, but a second visit was necessary to pinpoint her exact prescription. It was determined that she definitely has an astigmatism, just like her daddy!
We practiced how to read and report the shapes on the eye chart over the weekend to increase her confidence and comfort level for the second visit, and she did fantastic. It helped that before our visit, we ran into the doctor in the restroom and she remembered Anastasia's name and greeted her. That really made Ana feel like the doctor cared about her. We determined her prescription and she tried on several frames. I dreaded this part. The selection left much to be desired...lots of loud, colorful choices...nothing simple and tasteful. She seemed unhappy with most of them, but finally smiled at one pair and we knew we had a winner! The RayBan frames are plastic with rose colored arms and clear around the lenses. Two days and $200 later, she had her first little pair of specs and she looks adorable in them. She wore them home and seemed fascinated by how they affected her vision. She described how they made things look bigger and she read lots of numbers and letters of shop signs and off of buses on the way home. She wears them proudly and takes very good care of them. I am very proud of how well she has handled this huge adjustment.
I myself am having some difficulty accepting her new look! It is so foreign to me and I have to get used it. A man from the Embassy, who has kids of his own, once described Ana as a "stunning" beauty. He said she has such a unique look (with her copper colored hair and soft brown eyes)and that she was simply beautiful. Now her unique look has certainly changed, and though it is different, she is still gorgeous! I had feared that Anastasia might be teased by her schoolmates, because as we all know kids can be cruel. Keeping her confidence up is very important to me and we have tried to make her feel special. One of her friends made a rude comment, but Miss Virginia corrected the situation and Anastasia took it well. I am so happy that her teacher was so attentive and caught this problem early so that we can help Anastasia see better, and I know that she will help her through this transition.