I was having a hard time coming up with something to write today. One reason being I have had no time to think, let alone write. We hit the ground running this morning with school, aquatic therapy at the Children’s Institute, the grocery store and gymnastics.
In the midst of our crazy day, inspiration struck. During our appointment at the Children’s Institute, we encountered children working very hard to accomplish tasks that come easy to you and I. It was eye opening. Some of their disabilities were visibly obvious. I thought about what Haley would have said or thought had she been with us. Would she have asked me a question? How would I have addressed it? Would she have said something rude? Later, during this same day, we encountered a little boy who made a comment about the way Sienna looks to his mother. It’s the second time this little boy has said something. He obviously has questions. His mother covers his mouth and hushes him out the door. She doesn’t know what to do and she is embarrassed.
Here is what I want you to know. I get it. Your kid notices something different about my kid and your kid doesn’t have a filter cause he’s a kid. I am not offended. Let me help you. Don’t dismiss your kid. Don’t ignore them. Questions are good. Even if your kid says something negative about the way my kid looks, it’s okay. Ignoring it is not okay.
Teach your kids about differences. I like to tell Haley that God makes people in all different shapes and sizes. We are all special and everyone is beautiful. I explained Down syndrome to her by reading one of our favorite books, “47 Strings: Tessa’s Special Code”. I am happy to lend it to anyone. It explains chromosomes on a kid level. Haley still doesn’t completely understand, but we talk about it. We don’t ignore it. If you ignore something your kid is saying, you are teaching them that we can’t talk about it. You are teaching them that it makes you uncomfortable. Different is okay. In fact, we think different is pretty cool.