Robby is an only child. We live in the woods which offers a wonderful play area for him but no playmates. Our neighbors are all retired, and Robby is the only little one. Because of the natural isolation, I have been making an effort to socialize him with other children as much as possible.
We take him to the park on a regular basis. As the weather is turning cooler, I have become more creative about devising social opportunities. We have become regulars at the "House of Bounce" where Robby can play and bounce with other children his age. I have also started taking him to various fast food restaurants that offer play areas. For the price of a cup of coffee for me, I found that he can play for hours!
I took him to McDonald's Playland tonight. He had been good all day, but I also knew that he had a lot of pent up energy, and the prospect of chasing a scooter and bicycle up and down the driveway for two hours just didn't appeal to me.
I am amazed at how easily Robby incorporates himself into a playgroup. He doesn't care about the child's age, sex or the language that they speak. Robby eagerly engages in whatever activity the child is doing and includes himself in the activity.
It is so sad when I see Robby trying to include himself in an activity with another child and to see that child reject his efforts. As a Mommy, I just want to hug him and start playing with him myself. Unfortunately, I know that it is best to just sit back and let Robby figure it out for himself. I am not good at sitting back!
Tonight Robby was trying to play with a little boy. He was following him around the slide and was eagerly mimicking everything the child was doing. It was obvious to me that the boy didn't want to play with Robby. Being only three, Robby was oblivious to the social cues.
After a few minutes of trying to unhitch Robby, the little boy went running to his Daddy, complaining about Robby. I heard his father tell the little boy that he needed to be nice because the little boy's mommy (that would be me) is "broken." The man then not so discretely pointed to my prosthetic leg.
The boy begrudgingly returned to playing, Robby in tow. Our casual playdate had become awkward so I packed up my tiring toddler and headed home. I am hopeful that Robby released some energy, but the whole event made me sad.
Obviously, people are going to notice that I am an amputee. Why then, am I bothered by the event that transpired? I suppose it has more to do with the term that the man chose. Yes, I resent being referred to as "broken."
The little boy, although a few years older than Robby, may become a friend of my son as the children progress through school. Although I doubt that the little boy will remember the event, he may remember that disabled people are "broken" and are, therefore, worthy of pity. I am anything but pitiful!
I wish that the father would have told his boy to be nice to Robby because he is younger, and that Robby just wants to play. Or perhaps the father should have explained that Robby simply doesn't understand and wants to be his friend. My disability should not have been part of the equation.
I am still a capable and loving mother despite the limb loss. I suppose I need to build up a thicker skin. Robby is only three, and I am sure that I am destined to experience a myriad of similar situations. Has anybody else had this experience?
- I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.