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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.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Talk, but Don't Touch

I am thrilled to report that Robby has gone a full seven days without diapers. He has not had any accidents and proudly assumes his position on the potty when the need arises. He continues to insist on an audience for his potty performance. While I'm not thrilled about being a spectator and narrator of the "event," it is a giant improvement over diapers. To celebrate the diaper free week, and as an attempt to escape from the sudden heat wave, I surprised my perfect pooper with a trip to the House of Bounce.

Our bouncing experience began normally. Robby and I kicked off our shoes and began to play. Since it is not as much fun to slide by yourself I put on my best "fun Mommy" face and considered it my aerobic exercise for the day. After 45 minutes other kids began to arrive. Hot, sweaty and with brush burns on both elbows from the giant slide, I thankfully accepted the much needed break.

Apparently the only thing more fun than sliding and bouncing with me is playing with a group of new friends and Mommy. I was ushered into the giant birthday cake moon bounce by a group of 5 happy preschoolers with my son as the ring leader. Unwilling to acquiesce my status "super cool fun Mommy" I shimmied my way through the child size opening and began to bounce.

Instantly I noticed a little girl as she stopped bouncing and simply stared. Quickly her little friends followed suit until Robby and I were the only two bouncing. I stopped and smiled at the little curious bouncers.

The leader of the group was obvious as she was pushed forward by her friends. She timidly asked me about my leg. This happens so frequently that I have my responses memorized.

"I was in a very bad accident a few years ago. The doctors tried to fix my leg but they couldn't so they gave me a new one. Isn't it cool? I can run and walk and play and bounce just like everybody else. But I can take it off when I get home."

Typically this satisfies kids and they move on. This particular group of children was ultra-inquisitive. I spent the next 30 minutes sitting on a cake shaped bouncer, being peppered with detailed questions. They wanted to know the details about the accident, if I got to hold my old foot and if it was fed to tigers at the zoo.

I patiently answered all of their questions as I scanned the lounge for their parents. I was hoping to establish eye contact with a parent so that they could redirect their offspring. I don't mind the questions from kids, but this was turning into a full blown cross-examination. I didn't want to spend our entire bounce time satisfying their curiosities. I wanted to play with Robby.

That is when I realized that I was missing Robby. He does not view my leg as a novelty and apparently became bored with the conversation. I took his escape from the cake bouncer as my opportunity to leave. I said goodbye, and I slid out of the non-figure friendly hole of the bouncer.

I found Robby climbing through the inflatable obstacle course. With the little inquisitors on my tail, I tried to hurry up the steps to meet him at the top of the slide. My foot got caught and I fell. That is when I realized that one of the little buggers was holding onto my prosthetic and was trying to pull it off.

Surprised and horrified I sternly said, "Do not pull off my leg." That statement got the attention of the mother. She put down her cell phone and coffee and came over--to defend the actions of her children! She reprimanded me for not being "open and honest" about my disability.

I calmly informed her that I have spent over 30 minutes educating her children, answering their questions and even letting them hold my leg, and that now I wanted to play with my son. I also mentioned that it is both inappropriate and dangerous for her children to try to pull a prosthetic off of an amputee.

She began to apologize, explaining that she didn't realize that I had spent so much time answering her children's questions. I kept smiling and, although it was difficult, I bit my tongue from saying anything witty. She gathered up her brood and went home.

Robby became animated when he saw his little bounce mates pack up to leave. As soon as the door closed behind them, he shouted "hooray" and gave me a high five. I asked him if he was happy that the other kids left. "Yes, Mommy. I want to bounce. I don't want to talk about your leg. Your leg is not fun. Bouncing is fun. Let's bounce." I have to agree with Robby- my leg is not a lot of fun!

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