Monday, July 23, 2007

What to Say

Our family is so fortunate. We are surrounded by a loving family, church, neighbors, and friends so we don't get ugly comments about Jack like some other children with craniofacial syndromes have experienced. People who know us love Jack and just know him as Jack-that's just who he is. I've discovered that when we are and out about parents just don't know what to do or say. Their children, all children, just say out loud, sometimes very loudly what they are thinking such as "Mommy, that baby has a BIG head." and "Daddy, look at his weird eyes." Before I go on, let me issue this little caveat, the feelings I am about to describe are mine and mine alone. I cannot tell you how parents of other children feel.
David and I are not attempting to shelter Jack from your children's honest observations. We would rather that you not try to hush your children and quickly escort them out of Jack's presence. We know that he has a big head and his left eye protrudes a bit. If you look closely at his fingers and toes, you will find that they look a bit different, too. I think Jack knows that he looks a bit different from other children. We want him to know that he looks different but he is still essentially the same. We would prefer that when your children make their honest observations that you allow us to acknowledge or you yourself acknowledge that, "Yes, that baby does look a bit different but he is still a little boy who might like to play. How about we go say, Hi?" When Jack is older and he's on the playground and some little kid runs up to him and says, "You sure do have a big head." I would like to see him say, "Yep, so do you want to play?" No fuss, no muss. There's nothing wrong with being different and he is different. So, don't hush those kids, allow them their honesty, and come on over and say, "Hello." Your children don't require special preparation. They should treat Jack the same as they would any other child. When you come say, "Hello" you'll see that, like any other child, sometimes Jack will be in a great mood and flash a beautiful smile and other times he won't even notice you are there. Like I said, he's just like your kids. He just looks a little different. :)

7 comments:

Lisa said...

For 8 1/2 years my biggest frustration is what you put into words. When parents wouldn't acknowledge what they're children have said, and promply took their kids away to probably not bother her anymore. But then she'd just be standing there wanting to play, and not understanding what happened. A few kind words and I bet their child would have been over it. Many times when this happens I even wonder if the subject will ever be brought up again to their child, so they don't have to pull them away again from a happy kid who just wants to interact with another, and probably doesn't understand yet the mean comment they might have made. I think what you wrote should be forwarded to everyone you know. Then ask them to forward until the world sees it. With your permission I would like to do the same with your post. Your blog is wonderful and could change things.
Love Lisa Guyette (mother of Samantha 8)

Belly Belle said...

great post Marie! You have given me a great example to follow as Belle grows and gets more and more vocal about what she sees!

JebbieMarie said...

Thanks for such a clear thought out way to handle the innocent comments of children. I forwarded it to my daughter because my grandson has Noonans Syndrome which has him look a little "Funny" also. He is also deaf so he sounds funny.
I'd like to refer to your blog in my twitter and mytoyssign.com Blog. Do I have your permission?

Marie said...

Yes, JebbieMarie you have my permission to refer to my blog. :)

Pittipat said...

Thanks Marie! Learned a lot from this post. You and jack are a source of constant inspiration for us

Pittipat said...

Thanks Marie! Learned a lot frm this post. You and jack are a source of constant inspiration to us.

Marie said...

Pittipat,

Thank you for your kind words. I think we all have to keep encouraging and building one another up!