My girl got framed

Most girls love glasses (Credit: Scoobie Doo, Peanuts, Daria, Family Guy)

“Can you please read that again?” the teacher asked my eight-year-old.

“Why?”

“Just read it for me.”

“I already read it for you,” Josie said sourly. “Right before recess. Nothing has changed.”

I stifled a laugh. The second-grade teacher didn’t see the humor.

“Josie,” Ms. Hubert pointed at the eye chart on the wall. “Please read the last line.”

“D E F P O T E C. Can I go play now? This is boring and I could be doing something else.”

“The girl’s got a point,” I shrugged. “Are we done?”

“No. The girl’s got a memory. I asked you to stop by to show you this: Josie, please read this line in the middle, right here.”

“Why?” Josie asked suspiciously.

“Just humor me.”

“You don’t have any humor, Ms. Hubert. And none of the other kids had to read that line.”

“I’d like you to read it,” Ms. Hubert insisted.

“I’d like to do what all the other kids did. They read D E F P O T E C, so I’m reading the same thing.”

I gasped. Josie had recited the last line while looking at the teacher, not the chart.

“I figured it out when I moved Josie from the front of the class to the back today,” Ms. Hubert explained. “We had a math test and I heard an interesting conversation between Josie and her new neighbor Karen.”

“I was cheating!” Josie exclaimed. “Ms. Hubert heard me asking Karen for the answers.”

“What’s four times five?” I asked.

“Twenty,” Josie answered reflexively.

“That’s the last question on the board, kiddo. It’s also the hardest. How was Karen helping you?”

“Uh … I needed help on all the other questions.”

“Like six times one? Or two times three?”

Josie glowered. My daughter displayed impressive powers of deception, but she was not a Jedi yet. Ms. Hubert strolled to the chalkboard and wrote 4x1=

“Josie, what’s the answer to this?”

My eight-year-old leaned forward and squinted.

“We had our annual eye test today after lunch,” the teacher explained. “All the kids lined up, read the line they can best see, then left for recess. Josie usually elbows her way to the front of every line — ”

“We’ve been working on her patience,” I lied.

“ — but today Josie walked to the back and waited calmly. I didn’t figure it out until the math quiz later in the day. I moved Josie’s desk to the back row because she wouldn’t stop talking to her neighbor during the lesson — ”

“We’re working on her attention too,” I lied again.

“ — and during the test, Josie asked her new neighbor to recite each equation,” Ms. Hubert concluded. “In exchange for the question, Josie provided the answer. So she was actually helping another child cheat.”

“At home we’re really stressing the importance of honesty,” I lied for a third time.

“Dad!” Josie wailed. “I don’t want glasses! I can see just fine from the front of the classroom. Can’t I just go back there?”

“Josie,” I sighed. “You know you need to get your eyes corrected.”

“I know Ralph and Isabella need to get their brains corrected,” Josie fumed. “They stood next to me and heard everybody say the last line is D E F P O T E C and they still couldn’t figure it out. I don’t want glasses. They’re embarrassing.”

“I wear glasses,” Ms. Hubert pointed out. “I’m not embarrassed.”

I hugged my daughter and slid a forearm over her mouth, before she could reply perhaps you should be. Ms. Hubert’s glasses accentuated her already unfortunate resemblance to an insect.

My daughter wriggled out of my grip.

“Daddy! Glasses make you look …” Josie glanced at Ms. Hubert’s magnified bug eyes. “Not good.”

“Honey, there are many beautiful people — and beautiful girls — who look even more beautiful in glasses.”

“Many?”

“Sure.”

“Then name ten. That’s many.”

“Okay … first, there’s Mom.” That was easy. My wife is smoking hot in her glasses. “Then there’s … hmmm … Auntie Allison. And both of your grandmothers — ”

“Name somebody who isn’t related to me. Somebody like Taylor Swift.”

“You have a couple of friends who wear glasses,” I suggested. “They look cute in them.”

“And they hate wearing them! They only wear glasses because their parents make them.”

“Let’s make a deal,” I smiled. “You wear glasses for a week, and see what it’s like to see the world in focus. And then if you don’t like your glasses, you don’t have to wear them anyplace but in class.”

Josie looked doubtful.

“Trust me, Josie. We’ll find you a pair you like.”

And we did.

First we spent two hours in three optician offices. Nothing met Josie’s standards until I googled Taylor Swift in glasses and found gold. Literally gold; Taylor has expensive taste. Josie found similar frames that cost more than a car payment.

Luckily Josie is eight, and her fashion tastes should get a lot cheaper as she hits her teens.


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