Yesterday was "Show and Share" day at Robby's school. All students were asked to bring in something from home that helps them. Robby's teacher also invited me to speak to the class about my prosthetic because, keeping with the theme, it helps me. (We have tried to schedule this lesson several times, but it had never materialized due to Robby's illness.)
Scott and I have been talking with Robby about what he wanted to share for the past few days. Despite our suggestions, he never made up his mind. We had a minor spat in the morning when he informed me that he was taking Mr. Bill to school. His logic--Mr. Bill helps him build things. I tried to explain that he needed to bring something, not someone to school. The technicality seemed to be lost on him. I stood firm and he finally conceded, opting to take his guitar instead.
I dropped Robby and his guitar off at school, knowing that I was going to be returning an hour later for my leg lesson. I didn't have a prepared speech because I figured it was best to wing it. After all, I'm used to explaining my prosthetic. In retrospect, I should have invested more time in my preparation.
When I entered the classroom all of the students were sitting in rows in their little blue chairs. My first impression was how Robby looked so cute sitting in the front row. It was also glaringly obvious that he is at least three inches taller than all of his classmates, but I suppose that is a topic for a different blog.
I began my presentation with my usual explanation. I simply told the children that my leg was hurt and that the doctors tried to fix it. They realized that they couldn't fix it anymore so they gave me a new one. I then took off my prosthetic and explained that my leg didn't hurt anymore. Typically this suffices.
Robby's class is anything but typical. I was quickly peppered with questions from a group of enthralled Kindergartners who had left their seats and were standing around me. "What happened to the foot after they took it off?" "Are worms eating the toes?" "Do I worry that my dog will dig up my foot and run with it?" Robby chimed in with "we don't have a dog, we only have two cats. They don't eat bones." His classmates accepted this explanation and sat down.
A little girl raised her hand and asked me where I got my leg. I explained that I go to somebody who builds me legs and he is called a prosthetist. She informed me that I was wrong, because only God can make legs. I explained by saying, "God made my first two legs, but Mr. Elliot makes my prosthetic leg." She looked impressed and then uttered, "Wow, Mr. Elliot can make more legs than God. Cool." The students then proceeded to engage in a lengthy discussion about God vs. Mr. Elliot, with the verdict in the prosthetists favor. Apparently the fact that Elliot can manufacturer as many legs as I want in a variety of colors and designs was the tipping point for the debate. I really wish I could be a fly on the wall during her next Sunday school class!
Typically I don't remove my liner during presentation. The sight of my residual limb can be off putting, especially for an unprepared child. Finally, with the kids begging to see my leg and Robby pulling off my liner, I agreed.
Seeing the actual limb, without wearing the liner, seemed to make the most impression on the kids. They were able to connect where my leg stopped and my prosthetic began. Most were cautious and respectful around my leg. I told them that they could touch the bottom of my leg but warned them to be gentle. Robby hovered around me, acting as an unofficial body guard.
One little boy, named Blake, made a fatal error during my presentation. He walked up to me, looked at my residual limb and began to belly laugh. His teacher scolded him, but he continued to laugh and began to point.
Robby apparently took Blake's laughing as a personal attack on me. In a flash he pushed his little classmate to the ground. He stood towering over him and warned, "Don't laugh at Momom." As if on cue, Robby's friend Nick joined the crusade by kicking the little boy in the bum while chiming in "Yeah, don't laugh at Robby's Mommy." The teacher separated the boys and I wrapped up my lesson.
I don't condone Robby's behavior, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that part of me was proud of him. In his eyes he was simply defending me. I love that he wants to stick up for me, and that he has friends who will rally behind him. That being said, I would rather he use his voice rather than brute force.
My Kindergarten presentation was nothing like I was anticipating. The question/ answer session turned into an inquisition based on theology. Follow that with the smack down by Robby and his wing man, and I was ready to go home. At least I have a year to work on my presentation; I've heard first graders can be brutal!