Patching and Developmental Milestones

Our Patching Stories

Whenever Olivia and I are patching out in public, we get a lot of people that come up to us and ask about her eye. For the most part, people are so sweet. They ask if it is an injury or something she was born with, they ask if she keeps her window glasses on while she patches (she doesn’t by the way…) and they ask if she acts differently when her patch is on verse when its off. But the question I get asked the most is whether or not Olivia’s PFV has deterred her in her development. This question is always met with a smile.

I am so proud to say that Olivia’s condition has not slowed down her development in the slightest. At just 4 months old and 1 month into patching, Olivia was babbling up a storm! At 11 months now, she is taking her first steps (with a couple tumbles of course) and constantly calling for momma. While patched, she reaches for objects in front of her with decent accuracy, cruises around the house, ‘reads’ her books – upside down of course – and tracks objects that are placed in front of her. When eating her meals, Olivia can reach in front of her and grab the waffles – our current favorite meal – right off of her plate. She plays peekaboo with her cat, Echo and runs to daddy when she hears the car door slam.

Now all of these milestones probably sound amazing…especially for a child that technically is considered special needs because of her nemo eye. But I will admit that these amazing skills that Olivia is mastering came at a price. While she is patched, my husband and I constantly work with her to track and play with confidence. We encourage her with high pitched yells and exaggerated smiles to walk on that unsteady ground and turn the pages of books because we know that these skills that come easy to other babies, may be harder for her to grasp. When we started patching Olivia at just four months old, the skills listed above were only a dream. Olivia was terrified to have the patch on for longer than 10 minutes. She would cry and thrash around unless we were directly in front of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She would be afraid to sit in her high chair and eat her food because she couldn’t see it and would fall asleep minutes into patching just to get a reprieve from the darkness. It was hard and trying but looking back now, pushing her to find the light in an otherwise dark eye has created such a spunky, confident, fierce little girl. She is no longer afraid of the dark but rather embraces the challenge. And that may seem a little too deep for a baby that hasn’t even hit her first birthday yet, but I swear I can see such maturity and strength behind those baby blues.

I want to encourage all of those patching mommas and dads out there to keep patching. I know how hard it is and it’s a practice that doesn’t always get the right result. We all know that sometimes, patching doesn’t really help our littles…but sometimes, it does. Sometimes patching everyday strengthens their eye just enough that they start to see this magical world through both. And if the worst happens and patching doesn’t yield the result we were hoping for, we will know that our little tribe did everything we possibly could to give Olivia her best chance at vision. But no matter what, the way this little girl sees the world is in a way I will be envious of for the rest of my life.

Patching a sick baby

Our Patching Stories

So Olivia caught her first real fever…and they weren’t lying when they said fevers are so scary! And of course with a baby Olivia’s age, we weren’t sure if the fever was due to her teething, a bug she may have caught or a million other reasons babies may spike a fever. My husband and I were really stuck on how to handle patching her while she had this fever. It lasted for 3 days. The first day, we put Olivia in her patch and she was miserable! She slept the majority of the time, she cried for it to come off – the complete opposite of how she usually acts. I pulled out all of the stops. We had her favorite snacks, put on the movie she loves most – of course, Moana – and even stayed in my arms the entire time. But nothing would calm her. Instead of forcing her to keep the patch on while she didn’t feel good, we made the decision to take it off 30 minutes before the time was up. To be honest, we both felt really guilty we didn’t take it off sooner. After we took her patch off and realized how high her temperature got, we felt terrible for putting her through darkness just to get those patching hours in.

We are new to the world of patching. Most days, we follow the same routine. But when things happen like illness or other major life events, how do you handle patching. We decided to take that patch off early and actually didn’t patch again for 2 days. We knew by not patching we would not be working that ‘Nemo’ eye as much as we would like but the pain she was feeling from being sick paired with the stress of patching was just not worth the risk. What do other patching parents do in these situations? Please comment below and let us know how you handle patching when your baby is sick!

It’s finally happened…

Our Patching Stories

Well, it finally happened…Olivia has learned how to rip off the patch! We have been patching Olivia’s dominant eye for about 6 months now. There would be days where she would play with the patch a little bit or rub it the covered eye but she would quickly move on. Until a couple days ago. We put Olivia in the car to head to the grocery store which is about a 5 minute drive from my house. We set her up with her favorite car toy and set out on our way. The entire car ride was silent. I could see in the rear view mirror Olivia playing with her stuffed Minnie Mouse, as happy as can be, patch on! We pulled into the grocery store parking lot and as I went to take Olivia out of the car seat I quickly noticed two big blue eyes staring at me. Thats right! Not one Nemo eye, but two baby blues! I could not believe that she got that patch off without me noticing and that it only took less than 5 minutes!

Now, no where is safe! Olivia has mastered that act of ripping off the patch. If she’s in the stroller and I turn my head for 1 second – its off! I can’t help but smile at how smart and talented our little girl is. She knows she doesn’t want that patch on and she will stop at nothing to get it off – who could blame her?! So, to all those patching mommas out there – bring extra patches! Wherever you go! Patching just got a whole lot more complicated 🙂