As a toddler LV was never one to sit and colour. This came as a shock to me after having three girls who could be kept occupied for hours with a new colouring book. He enjoyed painting but looking back I think it was more the messiness rather than the result that attracted him. I never considered it an issue though. I just figured he was a boy so why wouldn’t he be different to the girls?
When it came to learning colours he was consistently getting them wrong. But being as he got some colours right I didn’t concern myself too much. I also thought that having to learn them in English and in Welsh may be why he was a little behind although he could spell his name and count to ten in both languages it was an obvious barrier. He was an August baby so was barely three when he went into full time school. I figured once he started it would all fall nicely into place so stopped badgering him about it. It was a relief for us both I think.
Once he started school and without him needing to kept occupied for all the hours that they girls were out of the house I didn’t really give it much more thought until it was nearing Christmas. One if the activities they had been doing was a colour table. Each morning all the children would bring in an item of that weeks colour. In return they would get the most prized possession for a three year old. A gold star!
I must admit when they were little school mornings were manic. There were four children aged three to seven who all needed help with something. I would often be sending him off to the toy box with one sister to grab something the right colour while I was strapping the other two into the car. On more than one occasion I have seen me having to drive round the block to run in and get something if we had forgotten completely and there wasn’t anything the right colour on the floor of the car.
Nearing the end of term it was ‘purple week’. Mornings were getting less stressful as we got used to the routine and I actually remembered to send him to get his item early. I had to send him back three times with blue toys. I kept repeating myself
‘This is blue, glas. We need purple, porffor!’ After the third failed attempt I said ‘Look, here’s a barney toy, why don’t you take that?’ But he refused,
‘Na Mami, I need porffor, Barney is glas!’
‘No love, Barney is purple, you need purple.’
Then everything changed, it was as if a cloud had been lifted and that big lightbulb over my head suddenly pinged on with the frustrated uttering of four little words from a confused three year old.
‘But purple is blue!’
I opened my mouth to say something but wasn’t sure what to say. I just hugged him, smiled and gave him back one of his blue blocks and drove them to school. I sent him with his blue block to the colour table and watched him place it amongst all of the purple cars, blocks, bunches of plastic grapes and a myriad of other objects. He smiled proudly at himself and went to play. I caught his teachers eye and asked for a word.
I explained the blue block and asked her please to give him a star even though it was the wrong colour. As I talked it was as if her lightbulb had flickered on too. She had noticed herself how he was still unsure of some colours, she told me not to worry and that she would do some little exercises with him.
By the end of the week I was handed a sheet of paper with all of these coloured squares. The idea was that she had coloured in one square and he needed to pick the right crayon to colour the square below. No names of colours were mentioned at all. He had some right but there were definite issues with some colours. I will try and dig out these sheets(he ended up doing a few that year)and show you all.
By the time they broke up for Christmas I was sure he was colour blind, or colour deficient to call it by it’s proper name. I had to stop the girls pestering him to tell them the colour of things, even though I was fascinated myself. It was another six months before he was due to see the eye doctor for his glasses and they confirmed he probably was even though he was too young even for the children’s tests.
But he kept smiling though it all(by the way he thought his navy school jumper was black until he was six!)
A lot of Wenglish gets spoken in our house, this is a mixture of Welsh and English in the same sentence, sometimes even the same word! Just so you don’t think I’m typing gobbledegook in this post you will find three words na=no, glas=blue and porffor=purple. Hey I bet you never thought you would learn some Welsh today did you!
I will be writing some more in depth posts in the future about life with a colour blind child, if you have any questions let me know below. I’d love to hear from you also if you are colour blind or have a colour blind child too.