Someone asked me today if my daughter was handicapped.
They didn’t ask if I was having a nice day or even say good morning, they merely approached me in the shop and asked the question “Is she handicapped?”
Is it just me or is that a little forward?
For example I didn’t take one look at the bearer of the question and retort “is that your real hair or did you buy it on sale?” To be fair the answer was obvious but even so on the basis that we had never spoken before I didn’t feel we had reached the personal probing level of friendship yet.
So as I stood in the shop next to the Christmas wrapping paper and opposite the Halloween Pumpkins I considered my response. My first was to whistle twin boy over and issue the command ‘sic em’ but to be fair he was engrossed in playing with a Singing Santa and since I knew we were never adopting it into our home I wanted him to enjoy it while he could. My next reaction was to simply declare, quite loudly, a statement of “how rude, and your hair looks like it was glued on.”
However my actual comeback was simply; “what do you mean?”
At this point my new friend with glued on hair seemed to realise that her question was not altogether welcome and awkwardly stuttered a response….
“Well, she does that odd crawl, walk, thing.”
Well that’s obvious then!
The fact that my daughter has chosen to get around the world on her backside rather than her tip toes has led to a complete stranger to asking me, a little inappropriately, about her ‘label’ in life.
It didn’t come at a great time.
BB is seventeen months old, she is not handicapped. She is beautiful; she is a bottom shuffler who can go from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds. She has a laugh that can make the world turn a little faster, she doesn’t really talk but when she does she is likely to only say ‘Tiger’, she likes Tigers. Her hair is starting to fall into her eyes, when I fasten it back with a slide it makes her look older than the baby I see her as being. When I embrace her in her cot in the morning she greets me with an open mouth kiss, she is my baby, she is my beauty, and can you see I am a little besotted with her?
If she were handicapped then that would be a part of her; my new friend with the glued on hair merely offended me with the abruptness of her question.
She also rattled some of my nerves, some of my parental worries, some of the unsettling feelings that sometimes assail me when I least expect it.
BB is seventeen months, she doesn’t walk, she doesn’t stand, she doesn’t talk much, but says ‘Tiger’ with a beam and can sign ‘please’ with a giggle. My fear is linked to her epilepsy, google late development and epilepsy and the results can invoke a little bit of nervousness.
Next week she will have another EEG, she has to wear it for two days. For two days my smallest angel will wear electrodes taped to her head, she will look different, my friend with the glued on hair will have a million questions.
The real me knows I have a healthy, intensely amazing daughter who has a condition that is almost under control. The paranoid mother in me is starting to hear ‘is she not walking yet?’ and ‘what can she say?’ more and more each day.
Google feeds my paranoia.
I am banning myself from Google.
To answer my new friend with the glued on hair….
‘It is simply none of your business.’