In this family the six of us who have been around long enough to have opinions or indeed eyesight anyone can be sure of, divide into two halves. There are the people with summer birthdays and then there are the 3 of us with winter birthdays. We divided neatly down that line in many things; temperament, interests, sporting preferences and whether we drink purple or orange juice at the table. Until recently it was all very clear and defined to the point where anyone straying into the territory of the ‘other half’ was viewed with great suspicion. I don’t, in fact, mind drinking orange juice or saying ‘cheers!’ at the table but my purple juice favouring table enders dislike it intently if I twitch at the fabric of the universe by changing drinks or offering salutations of the table.
Recently there have been a few forays into the opposing sides though; Fran started playing rugby (wrong, wrong, wrong) and Josie start gym (not so wrong, but most unexpected) and Josie sometimes confuses everything with a snifter of purple juice too. Fran can just about bear to clink glasses and Maddy joined the 3 softies on the weeping sofa for one single solitary film too. It’s like all order is breaking down for good. Of course Freddie unbalanced the whole of everything by not only being a cusp of winter/summer baby so not definitely on one side or the other and by un-evening the numbers. Since he didn’t stay, we’ll never know how much he would have fitted in on one sofa or another at Doctor Who crying episodes but Bene has upset things further by being a winter baby who clearly has a temperament belonging to the summer side. This is unacceptable, messes with the maths and is causing much concern as to what type of juice he’ll drink.
There is one other area where so far the family has a natural divide and that is in the area of our eyes. Max is, to put it politely, as blind as a bat with a hearing complaint and Fran and Maddy followed him at considerable speed down the path of significant blurriness. I had no idea why it was that Fran was always asking to have films explained until the day I took her to the optician and discovered she really couldn’t actually see anything. Like Max, she pretty much only knew who I was by the sound of my voice and watching her getting used to sight and being able to respond from a distance the day after was quite a shock. Since then her eyes have got twice as bad, though they have stabilised and Maddy is similarly affected. Max is like my mum; his eye sight went downhill dramatically when he was a child and is twice as bad as either of the girls.
On the other hand, I only need to tweak my eyesight to drive, with a very small prescription that makes a big difference but isn’t actually enough for Max or the girls to even believe it’s real. Amelie and Josie show no signs so far of being shortsighted, which is a relief as I already spend half my life going back to have Fran’s glasses fixed and goodness knows what would happen if Amelie had them. I’d just move into the opticians I expect. Who knows what Bene will be like, though he is so like Fran that I won’t be that surprised to find him bespectacled in the future.
It’s a difficult thing though, short sightedness, especially for sporty kids. Fran can’t do her tumbling at gym in specs so has been wearing lenses for sport for a couple of years now. Doing TKD and rugby, Maddy really ought to do the same but finds getting contacts in much more difficult than Fran did and has yet to master it. With a prescription twice either of theirs, Max wore lenses too when I first knew him and freely admitted it was mostly due to vanity. Fran is now approaching the age where how she looks matters more and prefers to wear them because glasses are annoying and not how she wants to look. And who can blame her really? A few years ago Max went to some places like www.optimax.co.uk to see about having his eyes lasered, but backed out, partly through cost, partly through nerves and mostly because all the girls had a bizarre hissy fit at the thought of him not wearing glasses. There was an outcry when he got contacts for rugby in the summer!
Recently though, Fran has said she’ll be saving up to have her eyes done as soon as she can so that when she finally shakes off the braces her teeth need due to her cleft and her plastic surgeon turns her nose into one she likes instead of one that looks like mine, she’ll be able to marshall her eyes into order as well. I don’t know though, I’m not sure I could do it but she is far braver than I am. Since I have now discovered I don’t have to blame my terrible parenting for all this poor eyesight in the family, so I don’t mind what she does.
So, what was the point of all that you might ask? Simple really… will Bene drink purple juice or orange juice?