Last fall during one of Robby's first weeks of school, I sat down with his class and talked about my prosthetic. I was hoping to quell the near constant peppering of questions that his classmates posed daily. His peers were inquisitive and attentive during my explanation, and talking directly about my need for a prosthetic seemed to stem their curiosity. After my visit I was seen as "Robby's Mom" instead of the "one with the robot leg."
Yesterday, when I went to pick up Robby from school, I was shocked by the reaction of his little friends. They were again utterly mesmerized by my prosthetic. I was surrounded by the entire class as soon as I entered the room, and they began firing questions about my amputation and leg. It felt surreal, almost as if they have collectively forgotten that I have already answered all of their questions.
Within minutes I found myself sitting on a little chair, circled by curious five and six year olds who were pulling and poking my prosthetic. I took my leg off and passed it around. The class showed an enthusiasm for learning everything about my amputation and prosthetic. It felt as if they were seeing it for the very first time.
I wasn't expecting to be teaching his class about my leg, but I certainly didn't want to make any of his little friends uncomfortable about my amputation. They were excited to try on my prosthetic and enjoyed stomping on the foot shell and asking me if it hurt. For some reason, it was novel again.
Finally, after nearly 30 minutes of "holding prosthetic court" I packed up Robby to go home. He grabbed his dinosaur bone, took my hand and we headed out the door. I still haven't figured out what sparked the student's newly rediscovered curiosity in my prosthetic, but I suspect it has something to do with the dinosaur bone. On some level I think that seeing a leg bone reminded the students about my amputation and, although they weren't able to verbalize the connection, they were certainly intrigued. It never bothers me to talk with children about my amputation and prosthetic, but I'm hoping that tomorrow I can drop off and pick up Robby without encountering the Kindergarten Inquisition!