Going to the eye doctor with a 2 year old

2014-01-20 15:36:21 by Sarah Plant, Patient Family, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

bekah-at-eye-examI now know that I’ve been spoiled by Bekah’s typical behavior at most appointments. Usually she walks in, hops up on the table, does what she’s asked to do, answers questions, and we’re done and out of there.

Unfortunately, that is NOT what happened at our recent visit to Akron Children’s Hospital ophthalmologist, Dr. William Lawhon.

This is what I like to call Bekah's This is what I like to call Bekah's "crazy eyes."

Bekah saw Dr. Lawhon last year (when we were looking for a cause for her torticollis other than stubbornness) and we were really just back for a general check-up, although Chris and I had noticed that when she looks up her eyes tend to drift apart.

We call it her “crazy eyes,” and she thinks it’s funny to make her eyes do that and get a laugh. We weren’t really too concerned about it, but I took a picture in with me so that Dr. Lawhon could see what I was trying to describe.

I should have known things were going to be ugly from the time we walked into the office and she began standing, that’s right, STANDING on the chair in the waiting room. I had just begun to fight that battle when we were called into the exam room.


That’s when Sam started crying because he was hungry. Luckily I had packed a bottle and my mom was there and could feed him, because Bekah was busy hopping from one colored square on the floor to another. The hopping quickly progressed to touching, and then laying on the squares. Yuck.

I was feeling frazzled, Bekah’s behavior wasn’t getting any better, Sam’s pacifier had been sacrificed because it had hit the floor, my mom was digging through the diaper bag for one of the spare pacifiers, Lew (the photographer who was there to capture Bekah’s “wonderful” behavior so I could write a simple blog about what I thought would be a simple eye exam) was trying to distract Bekah…and the nurse walked in. It had to look awful at worst, comical at best.

bekah-at-eye-exam4A few moments later, when Dr. Lawhon entered the room, everyone was doing much better, except Rebekah…and me. I am so used to her being so good, that I was at a loss for what to do when she decided that she just was not going to cooperate.

Dr. Lawhon took Bekah’s atrocious behavior in stride, and to my total amazement, was able to do an exam on a flailing, screaming Bekah.

bekah-at-eye-exam3She has never been a fan of having her head held still, and so I resorted to all sorts of bribery—stickers, toys, even gum (yes, she thinks gum is the most amazing thing ever and she can find it ANYWHERE…places we think are childproofed are no match for her if there’s gum involved) but none of it mattered.

She’d go along with things for a few moments, and then it was back to wanting down to run and play. Somehow, in all of that, Dr. Lawhon was able to check her vision, and even got a glimpse of the “crazy eyes” enough to tell me that it wasn’t just a party trick and that we’d need to come back in a few months and hope that Bekah would feel up to participating so that he could decide what was really causing her eyes to drift apart, and what would need done.

bekah-at-eye-exam2So, while I left feeling like a total failure of a parent because I couldn’t make my 2 year old behave, I also left feeling deeply appreciative that there are people like Dr. Lawhon who go into things like pediatric ophthalmology, despite the cranky, overly-rambunctious 2 year olds (and their frazzled mothers) they may encounter.

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