SO yesterday my 6YO gets out of bed rubbing his eye furiously. He says while sleeping with his older brother there was some tossing and turning and he caught a sheet or blanket in the eye. It happens. So I assume he has a scratch on his eye and explain that it’s just like a scratch on his skin but that it will heal faster. We discussed the pro’s and con’s of putting a band-aid on it; he even suggested an eye patch.
We settled for a cold wet paper towel and he held it to his eye while eating his eggs then went off to school. I told him I’d see him at 11:30 for his class trip to the town library. I also suggested that he explain to his teacher what happened just so she had a heads up. Expecting a call from the school nurse I wasn’t at all surprised when the phone rang half an hour later. She’s great, very direct and says, ‘what’s the deal with Alex’s eye?’ I explained and she disagreed saying it was classic allergy symptoms and asked if she could put drops in his eyes. Hey better her than me so I said go for it.
Again, not surprised when she called back asking me to come get him. In the car on the way home we discussed how your eye works and that your eyelid is like a windshield wiper. usually the wipers work fine on their own, but sometimes you have to spray water to help them out, preparing him for the inevitable ocular irrigation to come.
He’s 6 so he hates the idea of poking around at his eye, unless of course he’s making funny faces for the camera then it appears to be fine. I sit him on the bathroom counter and get a closer look. Sure enough there’s a chunk of something stuck to his eyeball and right then I know we’re in for some good times.
‘Keep your eye open while I get this thing out’
‘It won’t hurt’
‘Yes it will’
‘You’re fine, relax’
At this point my lovely wife comes in to remind me that I still need to go on the field trip and that I’d better get my ass in gear or I’ll be late. Now I’m determined to succeed here and I think I was well on my way when this sudden time restriction was announced. When Alex digs his heels in for a struggle there’s no hurrying him. I reminded myself to stay calm, tried to keep things light and went at his eye again.
‘OK look, I’m not hurting you…you’re hurting you’
‘Here let me show you…I’m holding your hair, does it hurt?’
‘OK now turn your head really fast’
‘See, was that my fault?’
OK so now that we have that out of the way I have him look in the mirror to SEE for himself this monstrous thing stuck on the white of his eye. He laughs nervously knowing that it has to come out and we struggle forward. Again Mom comes in to save the day but I refuse to back down I WILL get this thing. It’s RIGHT THERE!
After pulling his eye open dozens of times the intruder settles in off the eyeball and right by his tear duct.
‘Don’t move, I can get it without touching your eye!!’
Telling a 6YO not to move and expecting it to happen is like thinking there’s a correct answer when your wife asks, “do I look fat in these pants?’
Next we’re going to try the flush it out technique requiring him to dump a cup of water onto his face while blinking his eye. This takes some cool and calm explaining, but he’s good to go when Mom comes in again.
‘You have to leave in 5 minutes!’
You know that scene with the guy counting in the thousands when he sneezes or someone slams a door and he pauses for a painful moment before continuing, ‘…one…two…’ yeah this was just like that.
‘Do you want Mommy to do it?
Come onnnn come onnnnnn I’m too far invested in this already.
We’re getting this thing once and for all, I’m going tough love this time. Yank eye open, locate foe, jab with q-tip repeatedly while little boy squirms and whines like a fish out of water.
Got it. Seeing that little speck of Evil on the tuft of white cotton was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Seeing the smile on my son’s face was even better. Not only that but I completed the entire procedure in record time, under stress and without getting angry or even raising my voice.
‘Now go change your wet shirt, we have a field trip!!!!!!!!!!’