This past weekend my sister brought her children up to my mom's house for an impromptu picnic. My niece is 6, and my nephews are 4 and 3. The kids were happy to be playing with each other, but thrilled because they were going to get to eat cake. Yes, apparently the love of all things cake must be genetic!
I don't wear a cosmetic cover on my prosthetic, and I have never tried to disguise my amputation. I wear shorts and skirts without giving my leg a second thought. I often slip my leg off when I am playing on the floor with the kids. They have only known me as an amputee, and for them it is natural. Or, at least that is what I thought.
Walking down the hallway, I found my youngest nephew Jared standing in the doorway. As I walked towards him he quickly slammed the door shut. I've learned through experience that slamming doors by a young child is never a good sign and is often an attempt to cover a mess or mischief. Not knowing what I would expect, I opened the door.
I found Jared standing in the corner of the bedroom, cowering behind the play kitchen. Scanning the room I didn't see anything amiss, but he was obviously scared. I knelt down and asked him what was wrong.
Timidly, Jared approached me and pointed to my prosthetic. He asked me why I had it, and what happened. The poor little guy just realized that his Aunt Peggy has a prosthetic leg, and it scared him.
I reminded him that I have had the special leg for a long time, and that I was okay. He then timidly asked me if "Nana got mad at me one day and cut my other leg off with a knife." I'm not sure where he came up with that theory because my Mom, his Nana, is one of the kindest hearts around. I reassured him that Nana did not chop off my leg, that my prosthetic helped me walk and that I was not in pain. Satisfied, he accepted the giant marshmallow I offered and happily went to play with his siblings and cousin.
After speaking with my sister, we realized that Jared's attention was drawn to my prosthetic because I was wearing my running leg. He was accustomed to seeing me in my Proprio, so the fact that the leg was different spurred his "discovery." We can't figure out why he thought that his Nana was responsible, except that perhaps he was worried that he would reap a similar fate if he misbehaved.