I have been waiting for Robby to "notice" that his Mommy has only one leg. He is four, but he has never questioned why I need to use a prosthetic, nor has he demonstrated any inkling that his Mommy is unusual. He seems oblivious to the fact that using a prosthetic is not the norm and phrases like "I want to get your leg" or "Do you have your running leg on" roll off his tongue naturally.
I have a variety of legs lined up against the wall, and he knows the specialized use of each device. Robby will retrieve my running leg, my biking leg or my Proprio without hesitation. He accepts that sometimes "Mommy's leg hurts" and I can't run with him. He also discovered that my prosthetic makes a great cave for his dinosaurs to attack from. For him, living with an amputee Mommy is normal.
I love that Robby does not consider my limb loss to be anything unusual. To him, I am simply Mommy. However, I know that this naivete will be short lived. Soon, he will realize that I am different. I have been contemplating how I am going to respond to his questions since he was born.
Most of my friends don't know that Scott is, technically, an amputee himself. He had an accident while working a construction job and suffered the loss of his big toe. Yes, in a strange twist of irony, Robby is the only one in the family who can count to 20 using all of his digits.
Scott is sensitive about the loss of his toe. He infrequently goes barefoot. Even in the hottest temperatures of summer he will wear socks and sneakers. He typically walks around barefoot only around the house.
Yesterday Robby and Scott were walking back from the kitchen when they stopped in the hallway. Robby was chatting up a storm and Scott's voice became serious. When they didn't immediately return to the bedroom I began to eavesdropping on their conversation.
Robby noticed Scott's missing toe before he noticed my missing leg! He asked his Daddy what happened to his toe, where it was now and if it hurt. He then sat in the middle of the hallway and showed his Daddy that he had all of his toes, pointing out again that Scott did not. Poor Scott was put through a full cross examination by our little inquisitor.
Deciding to give Scott a reprieve, I called Robby. He came running towards me to tell me about his discovery. He told me that Daddy didn't have a toe. He then counted his toes and showed me that he had 10. He proceeded to whip off my sock and counted my toes, proving that Mommy had five. He then looked at my stump. I readied myself for the questioning to resume.
Instead, Robby reached down and grabbed my prosthetic. He was frantically trying to remove the shoe from my Proprio. He pulled the sock off and counted the toes on my foot shell. Yes, there were five. He then removed the shoe from my running leg and counted. Then went down the line, counting the toes on my swim leg and my "beater" leg.
"Cool" he said. "Robby has 10 toes, Daddy only has 9. But Mommy has 25 toes. That's a whole lot of toes. Wow!"
I know that someday Robby will realize that "Mommy's 25 toes" are not all attached. But for now, I am happy to be deemed cool. After all, I have the "mostest toes of all!"