You know you are are One of Those Moms when you start worrying about your little boy being colourblind because he confuses his colours at age two and you think he shouldn't be because he might be gifted - and his maternal grandfather being colourblind of course, which meant he had a 50-50 chance of inheriting it or so i thought. And then start a thread about it:
You know you are really One of Those Moms when all this time, you just refuse to believe in the Ophtalmology school's diagnosis at age two because he took so much time identifying the shape in the test and you just couldn't believe you were so wrong about this - but until Friday last, according to our reputable university's ophtalmology school, he had normal colour vision.
Recently, he has begun to check all his gummi bear colours with me, still getting green, yellow and orange wrong as often as not. My mom had a good laugh recently when she went for a walk in the woods with my father and DS and unthinkingly said "oh look at the huge flaming red R someone's painted on that tree right ahead!" and both the old and the very young male at her side simultaneously said "where?" and had to be led right up to the tree to see it. We have now all begun to casually let him know after all that he has his grandfather's eyes, and he will sometime check with us about colour stuff saying things like "it's orange that's hard for me, right?" and we say yes that's right, just like grandpa, remember?
Only we just didn't get how, while clearly making lots of mistakes, he was still consistently doing much better at telling colours than my father - so how could he have inherited his defect? And if he had, how on earth had he passed the test (my father is genuinely redblind, which is rare, and will consistently and immediately point out exactly the wrong thing on those plates).
So when we went for a routine eye checkup last Friday, I asked the doctor (who is some kind of national guru on children's vision, though he is specializing in shortsightedness, not colourvision) to finally bring out the Ishihara plates as I thought DS was finally old enough.
DS would bend over the plates until his nose nearly touched them, eventually getting some right, wavering on others. Being able to find some shapes and trace them, drawing a blank on others. The doctor noted all the ones on which he hesitated, then said with a flourish "and now for the real sensitive test!" and whipped out .. a kiddie colouring book, asking DS to identify something green for him. DS, unhesitatingly, pointed to the clown's flaming orange hair. "That settles it", the doctor said knowingly, and proceeded to explain that DS, while not completely colourblind, was clearly colourdeficient, with a marked weakness on the brown-green-yellow spectrum, doing somewhat better with red. Good enough for the police and fire service and for electrical engineering, he thought, not a problem with driving as traffic lights have been adjusted for deficient colour vision, possibly not good enough on red to be an engine driver. (Thank God for DS, while being very interested in the police and fire service and still loving and living trains, wanting to be a control center engineer these days, I hate it when they discuss these things so unthinkingly in front of little boys. DH was crushed when he found out at age 6 that he couldn't be an engine driver because he is colourdeficient too).
He also explained that even though it is my father's defect passed on over the X chromosome, DS' colour vision did not have to turn out identical to my father's. Which was totally news for me. In fact, he suggested that as soon as DS is a little older (as you have to focus and cooperate for 15 minutes or so straight) he can take a test with something that is called an anomaloscope and get a precise spectrum of his colour vision which is like a genetic finger print, individual for any person, and which he could later use to prove he has sufficient colour vision for a specific employment as the testing plates just aren't sensitive enough to correctly pick these things up. And the kiddie plates apparently aren't very sensitive at all and will only pick out truly colourblind children which are very rare.
And the moral? Trust your instincts, I guess. Just thought it might interest some of you who were around then!