The day before we flew out, I had the 4th eye appointment for Lila to get her eyes tested. I keep trying to get her eyes tested because she needs glasses (she squints at things when they are a few feet away), but she would never cooperate with the testing- won’t look at the images or charts, won’t look through lenses, won’t look in the phoropter, would immediately begin having a tantrum if the optometrist came anywhere near her with tools. But this new optometrist was amazing- even thought Lila had a fit and we had to go back out into the waiting room (and have a couple time outs in the hallway, as she was screaming down the place), the optometrist had us wait until the other patients were finished, then turned off the lights in the waiting room, then used her own cell phone to pull up a video of Bubble Guppies and gave us some small, separated lenses to try with her and see what worked, and we actually got somewhere- the optometrist figured that her prescription was in the ballpark of +3.50 (for those of you who wear glasses, you will understand what I mean when I said that this kid really needed glasses). It may have taken a couple of hours, but by the end I was brandishing an actual prescription for Lila.
Not wanting to lose momentum, we went to Walmart optical (thinking this would be a cheap place to get kid glasses that were a ‘close-enough’ approximation of her prescription). Lila said she wanted purple glasses, so I figured this would not be anywhere near the hysterics we had at the optometrist. But I was so very, very wrong. She was happy enough to play with the various purple glasses, but the optician said that she needed to take an additional measurement, which would involve holding a ruler up to her eyes and measuring the distance between the outer corner of one eye and the inner corner of the other. I winced.
Me: “Are you sure you need the measurement? She’s really not cooperative when it comes to the eye testing stuff.”
Her: “We definitely need to have it, we can’t fill her prescription without it.”
But Lila would not let the optician anywhere near her face with the small plastic ruler. She shrieked “NOOO!” and started getting really worked up with yelling and crying, and we took her off to the side and talked to her about how we were going to get ice cream afterwards if she let the nice lady hold the ruler near her nose, and look at this super fun soccer ball we brought with us! Then she’d calm down enough so we could go back over to the optician, and then the whole thing would happen all over again. Then the optician gave us the ruler, thinking we would have an easier time, but by then Lila knew how badly we needed to hold the ruler near her face, which in toddler logic meant it was a life-or-death situation that she prevent us from getting this ruler anywhere near her. After much wailing and trying to corral her, Guy and I agreed that one of us would have to hold her down and the other would take the measurement. Now I don’t normally think this is a great way to go about things, but Lila’s stubborn streak extends far beyond just a few hours or even one day, now that she knew we needed to do the ruler thing, she would never let it happen. Not today, and not tomorrow, and not a week from now. I’ve been trying to get her eyes tested since she was 6 months old, I know how deep her resistance to eye tests runs.
So we held her down while she screamed like a banshee and I tried to hold her head still while she fought and struggled and we tried to get an accurate reading on that stupid ruler. Finally, we got it, and Guy went off with the ruler to talk to the optician, and Lila stopped crying 5 seconds later and went back to playing with a soccer ball as if nothing had happened. But I felt awful. There is no version of this story where I feel fine with using physical force to hold my child down, even if it was for her own good. Like maybe if I were a better parent, I’d magically know what to say to get her to cooperate. We had spent weeks with a great pop-up book getting her used to the idea, and telling her over and over again how great glasses were…. but in the last three hours every moment had felt like a struggle trying to do the right thing. I could feel tears welling up and I thought to myself, ‘I can’t cry. I’m sitting on the floor of a Walmart optical center, I can’t cry here.’
And there it was- the final thing I could not bear. It was only noon and the day had already reduced me to sitting on the floor of a Walmart optical physically holding my screaming toddler down to hold a ruler in front of her face AND do it for the packed Saturday audience of all the Walmart checkout counters –seriously, are there any Walmarts where the optical center isn’t right by the checkouts?–AND apparently being pregnant means crazy hormones and stuff so I was possibly not starting from the greatest position of strength…. I cried. Big, shoulder-shaking sobs. Sitting right there on the floor of a Walmart. Hiding behind the optical counter, but still sitting on the floor of a Walmart, crying.
Oh, and I didn’t have any tissues in my purse. The closest thing I had was a pair of clean toddler socks. I, a grown woman, had to wipe my face with toddler socks. Because I was crying so hard. On the FLOOR OF A WALMART.
I probably don’t need to mention that when we left our darling daughter with my parents the next morning, I didn’t feel a drop of parental guilt as we headed out to the airport to take a 4-day vacation. I had never needed a vacation so badly in my life.
Guy and I had a wonderful time in San Francisco! It was our first time getting away just the two of us since Lila was born, and I was amazed at how easy it felt to be just the two of us for a little bit. There was a moment when we were sipping tea in the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park (seriously one of the biggest and most amazing outdoor space I’ve ever been in) and someone else’s toddler was kicking off loudly while an exhausted-looking parent had to drag them back from the edge of a koi pond, and Guy and just smiled at each other. Someone’s toddler was screaming and it wasn’t ours!
I also got to meet some fabulous knitters at Atelier Yarns, including Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting / Botanical Knits fame. I absolutely love meeting other knitters, so it was super fun to relax and chat in a cozy yarn shop and get that face to face (and yarn to yarn!) time in.
Renee (Confessions of a Yarn Addict) knitted the forthcoming baby Bliss a wonderful little green hat, and Alana knitted some super sweet moccasins. I love how both can work for either a girl or a boy! I will take some modeled shots in December when the wee babe will be out in the world and ready to get cozy in some wooly goodness. Oh, and I did buy some yarn! More on that to follow soon.
Also, I spent a lot of time in some bakeries, notable Tartine and Mr. Holmes Bakehouse:
We also got to do something that has been on my bucket list for a long time- we took a hot air balloon ride! Those of you who follow me on Instagram no doubt saw some of those photos. It was over Napa Valley, and it was absolutely breathtaking. Apparently a lot of people are scared of heights, but if you are not, then I highly recommend- it was so peaceful, so beautiful. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
One of the things I most wanted see was a bit of a wash- the sea lions at pier 39. I love seeing animals in the wild (as opposed to zoos). Normally it’s supposed to look like the picture on the left (promotional photo) but when we went, it looked like the picture on the right (my photo).
Apparently all the sea lions go somewhere else when it’s calving season, so since they were off having babies, there were just a few dude sea lions that would pop up now and then. Hardly the pier-ful of sea lions I was hoping for. Four days flew by in a blur, there are a million more photos I could share, but I’m sure we’ve all got stuff to do today. I’m just grateful for the time to reconnect with Guy and recharge our batteries.
When we got back from San Francisco, there was a voicemail from Walmart optical, letting me know the glasses were ready for pick up and I should schedule an appointment with the optician so that we can have them properly fitted to Lila’s head. When I called back, I said I’d be picking up the glasses alone and we would do the fitting another day. She insisted that the fitting was crucial, to which I replied, “I don’t know if you were working last Saturday, but my daughter is really not cooperating on this whole glasses thing. I’d prefer to just pick them up.”
Silence. Then she said,”I was working last Saturday, I remember you. Absolutely, you can pick them up anytime.”