chillin with will and off to the ophthamologist

February 24th, 2010

Last week was ski week, so I took the week off to hang out with Will.
I’ve been waiting patiently for my kids to be old enough to enjoy the local museums. (Adults find my enthusiasm excessive) So, I was all too thrilled to drag Will all over the bay area. I seemed like he had fun, too.

First stop was the Exploratorium. While this is technically appropriate for 3 and up, since our trip requires an hour drive each way, I think it was probably prudent to have waited until I just had a 5 year old in tow. Even still, we only made it through 3/4 of the exhibits before petering out.

Practicing our chorus line.
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Beam me up.
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Next stop was Anthropologie. Will found the perfect hat.
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“Go sit on that bench and look like you are waiting patiently for your bus”
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He’ll stick anything in his nose.
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Battling to the death at the toy store.
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… I unfortunately missed the gasping for air, tongue extended death sequence at the end of the battle.

Day two, we checked out King Tut. In preparation, I made Will watch videos of Steve Martin singing King Tut. Will claims to have found the exhibit interesting, but much of what I found incredible was lost on him. Well, duh. 19 seems unfathomably old to him, and 9 is twice his age, so he didn’t appreciate just how young the guy was when he became ruler. My attempt to explain how old these artifacts were – 3000 years! and some as old at 7000 years! – was just as successful. “Was Super Grandpa alive, then? Dinosaurs?” Tell the kid that this guy had a hair lip, club foot and degenerative bone disease making him look a little like a monster – AWESOME! So that was something.

Doing the King Tut.
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Turns out, Amish quilts are just as exciting as 3000 year old mummies.

Will’s favorite quilt. (Hastily snapped as the guard approached.)
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Mommy’s favorite quilt.
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We capped the day off with a lesson in Gelato eating. It may be warmer than ice cream, but the brain freeze is just as painful.
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Day three we headed down to Chabot Space and Science Museum to kick the tiles on some spaceships. This place puts NASA to shame. Apparently we’ve learned a lot since I was last educated about our solar system. Did you know that none of the four Gas Giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus) have a solid core? And poor Pluto is smaller than our moon? We live on a rocky midget.

A space suit.
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Will is too small for space. Or at least this space suit.
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Obligatory press shot outside the pod.
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Day four, Big Tow made an appearance in his tow truck at the preschool. Will got to ride to and from school in the passenger seat. I didn’t know the kid could smile so big! (No photos on my phone, sorry.)

So that the rest of the family felt better about our week of leisure, over the weekend we hit up the Lego play land in San Anselmo. 600 sqr feet of sorted Legos. Every Lego product ever conceived is accounted for. Boxes upon boxes of pulleys, motors, barbie castle blocks, wheels, train tracks, dinosaur parts, … You name it, they had it. Just opening the door brought back traumatic memories of my brother pummeling me for having touched his motorized Lego dune buggy, and god forbid, using his race car as a Barbie transporter. (What good was creating it if he wasn’t going to let anyone drive it?) My family, all sans traumatic Lego issues, dove right in.

Will’s creation.
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Sylvie’s creation.
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Dad’s creation.
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This week, Sylvie and I went to get her eyes checked out. Apparently, the muscles that control the tracking of our eyes are not fully developed until about 3 years old. So, until that point, it is okay if your child occasionally looks cross-eyed. At 3, the pediatrician checks the muscle development to confirm the eyes have developed at an equal speed. Apparently those big blue eyes of Sylvie’s were difficult to call, so off to the Ophthalmologist we went. The short story is it was a long 3 hour exam, and her eyes are fine.

Smiling for the camera.
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An initial evaluation with a pediatric ophthalmologist takes about 3 hours. The battery of tests include the run of the mill identification of progressively smaller and smaller objects (letters for older kids), focus tests – “here watch this while I wave this object in your face”, ability to make out 3-d objects, and whatever they do when your eyes are dilated (I made the resident nervous by asking him to explain so ended up without an explanation). Having now witnessed 4 pediatric eye exams (3 of those completed by nurses), I was quite impressed at how quickly the actual ophthalmologist gauged Sylvie’s verbal skills and temperament and was able to adapt her examination on the fly based on those cues. Note to pediatric nurses: you shouldn’t slap an eye patch on anyone under 4 and then quiz them on the alphabet from across the room. Not unless you are testing their stink-eye reflexes. (Which apparently are advanced in Sylvie.)

Checking stereo vision. Many kids can’t see 3D until 4 or 5 years of age. Someone should inform Pixar.
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It takes 45 minutes + a burrito break for eyes to dilate fully. That burrito just looks big because she is so small.
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All that work was exhausting.
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