Saturday, April 2, 2011

This may be trickier than I anticipated

Today we spent a lovely afternoon at the park, enjoying the last few hours of warm weather before the forecasted cold April shower sets in.  We played on the swings, tried to give Mommy a heart attack with our climbing antics, toppled down slides - it was great.

As we got home, some neighborhood kids were playing outside and came over to meet WanYing.  It was all going well until I heard the shriek of, "Aaah, what happened to her hands?!?"

Realizing with my keen parental senses that it was time to intervene, I joined the knot of seven-year-olds as Ben was doing a great job explaining Amniotic Banding Syndrome.

I lost track of Ben's explanation as a boy looked at me and earnestly said, "I was just wondering if she was an alien or a child."

Great.  Seriously?

I mastered my initial urge to thwack his head and explained that she is very much a child and that these are just the hands she was born with, that it doesn't hurt her at all, and that her hands work for her in really amazing ways like her "super pinky."

The conversation went better from there as the whole group really latched onto the "super pinky" concept (seriously, if there is a place in the Guiness Book of World Records for World's Strongest Pinky, I think WanYing is a strong contender).  And as the kids walked away, the girls in the group enthusiastically agreed that when WanYing goes to school everybody's going to think she's the coolest kid in the world and that she's already super-adorable.

I walked away wanting to cry.

I know, I know, the idiot boy meant no harm, he was just candidly expressing his reaction and concern.  I know that this is just the first of many such encounters.  I know that through my answers I am equipping all of the kids to answer such "questions" with accurate information, patience, and love.  I know that we knew that having somebody in the family with more "obvious" need would expose us to lots of extra attention.  I know that we decided (and continue to decide) that we are more than up for the challenge.

But right now my heart just aches for my little girl who will someday have to face (a minority of) people who have trouble seeing past the ends of her arms.


Shelly said...

You handled it well... and it's okay to feel like crying! Words, even out of kids mouth's can sting!
She is precious!!! How does it feel to have FOUR? I am still overwhelmed at times, in a good way! Three felt easy, though! :o)

Luciana said...

Mommy and Ben handled it amazingly. You are truly and inspiration. Sasha and WanYing look adorable playing. xo

Kelly said...

Our daughter was born "normal" but had to have radical brain surgery for a rare brain disease when she was almost 3. It left her with a left arm that doesn't work, and a leg that limps even with her b race. I think you will find, as we have, that kids just need the information and then they will include her just fine (or at least for the most part). The ones that still get to me (6 years past surgery) are the adults that ask her questions very rudely like, "What's wrong with you." She now is 9 and answers with things like, "Rude people are what's wrong with me," or "shark attack," or "football injury" etc. You'll have to raise her with a lot of strength and independence so she can take care of it herself. Every now and then our daughter caves in and falls apart about her situation, but it is incredibly rare. Your family obviously is close, and will be well equipt to deal with all of the bumps.

Susan said...

OH MY GOSH, you handled this so well-i love how you and Ben Double teamed it and the kids left thinking she was so cool because she was different. I know you will arm her with the confidence she needs (and humor cuz that i think is really key) to respond and have everyone laughing. I just got a book for Leeza called stand Tall Molly Lou Melon-by patty Lovell. It's a great book and how this lil girl overcomes taunting and her bully turns into her best friend. it's a great book and the pictures are hysterical.
Kudos to you for handling this with such aplomb.

Lori Printy said...

Wan Ying is learning through each one of these encounters by watching your confident unapologetic response. It is just one of the special skills kids need to be armed with when there is an obvious difference.

We need to build super self esteem in our super kids.

Of course feeling pain over the extra obstacles, the anticipated hurt our children will face...that's part of the Mom job too.


table tennis junky said...

Anne reads your blog every day. I don't get time to read in my busy work at GameStop. Anne told me about this incident, so had to come to your site and read it. Good blog Jamie.

When the kids grow, we teach them about love, respect, good, evil, God, Jesus. The time has changed. You can just take this incident as the other kid who made the comment is ignorant. You did not hurt the other kid's feelings. Someday he will realize his foolishness. Pray about it.

D Facer said...

She's got her tongue OUT on the approach down the slide. That’s perfect. A natural.

Reena said...


I think you and your son handled the situation very well. I truly commend your ability to resist thwacking the kid on the head. ;)

Our 3-year has Microtia Atresia, malformed ears. We are now starting to get some of the comments and questions from kids. We do the same-- simply answer the questions honestly.

Nicole said...

What grace you handled that with! I know we will have to answer questions about our DD with un-repaired CL/CP when we bring her home soon - it is great to read about how you handled your first encounter! Go Mom!

'Becca said...

I know: Don't I have anything better to do than peruse my neighbors' blogs? I just can't sleep (future IEPs on the brain), and enjoy getting to know you guys, albeit virtually so far. Just wanted to let you know: I hear you! (


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