White Flamingos

Aside from the comparing, another frustrating part of parenting twins is dealing with fairness.  While I want to make things fair for them most of the time, other times I think it's important for them to know that life's not fair.  Disappointment is a part of life.  I struggle with wanting to spare them from feeling unfairness, to shelter them a bit, but also with wanting to help them navigate those feelings of injustice when they come up.

It's easy to say the old cliche "life's not fair", even when it's true, but it's another for your mama heart to experience those emotions alongside your child.  When they get what they do want it feels celebration worthy.

One way that those older boys of mine are faced with unfairness everyday is in their colorblindness.  There was a period of time where I had no idea they were colorblind. Then Wyatt started learning (and mastering) his colors, while the twins still struggled.  It was at this point that I realized I could be dealing with the same deficiency my dad has.  Red/green color deficiency, to be specific.  

The twins see color, they just don't see the same spectrum of color that the rest of us do. The best way to explain it (that I've found) is that because of the red/green deficiency, they can't see RED when it's added to things.  Take white, for instance. When you add red, you get pink. My boys can't see pink. They see pink & white as the same color. 

For about two years I didn't know they couldn't see pink. Then we went to the Oregon Zoo and saw the new arrival of flamingos.  Later that afternoon Jack said, "I thought the flamingos would be pink." I told him they were pink and he disagreed vehemently, insisting they were white.  (The flamingos pictured above are the actual birds we saw.)

The other two colors they struggle with are brown and purple. They can see green, but when you add red (resulting in brown) they can't tell.  They can see blue, but when you add red (resulting in purple) they can't tell.  I would give anything to see the paint chip aisle at Home Depot through their eyes.

Growing up I always knew my dad was colorblind. My mom would help him choose outfits for work and I distinctly remember having to help him with this Sesame Street game we had that had blue/purple and yellow/green cards that he couldn't distinguish.  Turns out, the colorblindness isn't only from my dad. His grandfather (his mom's dad) was colorblind, and he passed that X-linked chromosome on to each of his daughters, meaning their sons would have a 50/50 chance of having a son with colorblindness.  From what I've learned of family history, each of those daughters went on to have at least one son who was colorblind (my dad and many of his male cousins). From there, the X-linked chromosome was passed on to their daughters (for example, my sister and me) and our sons have a 50/50 chance of being colorblind. 

Sure enough, my (identical) twins are colorblind, while Wyatt is not. And my sister's younger son is colorblind, while her oldest is not. And from there the genealogy will continue. If our colorblind sons have daughters, they will be carriers, and our great grandsons will have a 50/50 chance of being colorblind. 

If you can't tell, the whole thing fascinates me. 

 Today for fun I had the boys take another color blind test. Wyatt and I took it as well.  The results are in the picture above.  I've never heard the term Deutan, but apparently both the twins are Duetans while Wyatt and I are not.

Below are some of the numbers that Logan & Jack couldn't see and to which they responded "nothing" on the test. 

Some of them shocked me!
It must be so weird for them to know something is there that they can't see. 

Over Christmas break, my boys had the opportunity (thanks Nanny!) to try those colorblind glasses everyone is talking about.  They basically felt the colors were more vibrant, and everything with red in it was more red.  My dad and nephew's cars are both red, one more maroon, and the boys each (without hearing each other) told me that the cars were super bright.  When they are older (and not getting new glasses every year) we will look into getting their glasses coated with the colorblind technology.  I think that'd be so cool for them.



Marilynn Raatz said...

Here is the link to the research I told you about. It's exciting!

Ashley B said...

We don't have anyone in our family with color blindness, but this whole post was fascinating to me too!

Holly said...

Superinteresting. I wonder if 100 years from now there will be some corneal implant that eliminates it all together?