Monday, February 25, 2013

A Different Difference

"Mommy, that man ..."

I am sitting beside Ruby and Sadie, with Joe on the other side. I had been put in charge, for a few minutes as things got organised, of Ruby's movie snack. With my popcorn in one hand and her combo of a frozen blue drink, popcorn and a Kinder chocolate egg in the other I looked like a concession stand all on my own. Sadie had dropped her egg so Ruby was assisting in the search as I guarded over her stuff.

Then I heard the little voice from the seat behind us, "Mommy, that man ..."

A tense "shhhhhhhh" attempted to hush a child that wouldn't be hushed. Again, "Mommy, that man ..." I didn't have to turn to know that she was pointing at me when she spoke.

Mom whispered to her, "Yes, I can see he is in a wheelchair."

"No," the little voice growing more insistent, "that man ..."

Again, "shhhhhh!"

"But mommy, that man ..."

Mom more forcefully now, "I can see he's really big, now let's talk about something else. What's happening at school tomorrow."

"No!, Mommy that man ..." she pauses waiting for her mother to hush her, Mom by now has given up. She continues, "that man lets those little girls have chocolate eggs."

Sometimes what makes me different, it seems, isn't always the obvious.

12 comments:

Just Heidi said...

Dave 1 Mom -0 ;)

Louna said...

This made me laugh. I love that the fact that is most important to that little girl, when looking at you, is these chocolate eggs. She has her priorities right!

Tamara said...

That's perfect. I would have so been that mom.

Sher said...

Out of the mouths of babes! Their words can be humbling but so telling.

Andrea S. said...

See? Children know what matters most ... chocolate!

Jayne Wales said...

And you do! Bet she wished you were her friend!

LoriJ said...

I had this exact moment about a year or so ago but I was the mom. I took my 5 year old to McDonalds and while we were waiting for our order a young woman with Down's came up to the cash and ordered her food. I noticed my daughter staring at her so as we sat down I thought this will be a good time for a mom lesson. I mentioned to her that I saw that she was staring at the woman and that it isn't nice to stare and that just because she was different doesn't mean that we should be making her feel uncomfortable, etc... My daughter insisted that she was not staring and I corrected her and said yes, Bella I saw you and that wasn't nice. She finally sighed loudly and said, "I wasn't staring at her, she was getting a hot fudge sundae and you didn't get me one. She was really lucky. "
Yup, I guess sometimes we make differences where the only ones that exist are mean mothers who won't buy you chocolate!

Shan said...

Ha!

We're all totally conditioned to be freaked out and anxious and oversensitive and, eventually, apologetic for whatever our kid has just said. SURPRISE: they are kids. They stare at every damn thing, not just the stuff we think is stare-worthy. Sometimes we mothers need to back the f*ck up.

Anonymous said...

haha,excellent.
I dont really understand that social embarassment with kids though. Kids point,describe and talk about the world around them all the time because theyre learning about it. If a child points out that a person is in a wheelchair,or is huge,or has no legs,or is in any way different than the norm that childs used to then 'all' the kids doing is making that observation of a novel-to-them thing. I used to answer 'yes they are' to my son when he was little because acknowledging difference isnt wrong and shushing kids gives them the message that theres something shameful or wrong about the person theyre not allowed to speak about. Its dumb. Some people are the size of giants and some the size of elves,some have extra chromosomes and some have missing body parts,some use wheelchairs and some make odd vocal sounds or rant to people that noone else can see. Its 'The Human Species' in all its technicolour glory and maybe if we stopped silencing children in that discovery then theyd grow up to be more unbothered by difference.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the laugh Dave. I hope the lesson was learned by the well-meaning mother. It made me flash back to a story my sister shared. When her daughter "Maggie" was quite young, she was shopping with her mom. They happened to get in the check-out line behind a very large woman. For some reason this made "Maggie" frightened. My sister couldn't understand why - my niece was pretty young - and had never really shown any negative reaction to anyone (even clowns or Santa), so my sister when into the 'mothter mode' and tried to assuage her. Despite her best efforts, my niece kept saying in that high pitched, easily heard voice, that "the lady scares me". My sister was mortified. So she pulled out the big guns, as in me. "Your auntie "Cari" is a big women, and you are not afraid of her!!" "Yes mommy, but auntie "Cari" in is NOT that big!!!" Oh my, oh my. Once again, the so-called education of a mother backfired. And I wasn't too thrilled about it either upon hearing about it - my heart went out to the woman. All my sister could say, in her embarassment was that she was sorry - but even little knifes cut.

wendy said...

Now there's a child after my own heart! There is no difference more interesting than the one between chocolate and no chocolate!

Mike said...

Classic . . . we teach our children so much, but sometimes they can teach us quite a bit too, if we can listen. These moments that you are describing are so beautiful, Dave. Maybe it's time to collect these into a book . . .