About Me

My photo
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.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Magic Lady?

I spent much of Friday preparing for my presentation to Robby's class. Although I wasn't nervous, I wanted to make sure that I didn't embarrass Robby by providing either too much or too little information. I also wanted to make sure that I could explain my amputation in a way that would answer questions but wouldn't leave his new friends scared.

Robby was as proud as he could be when I walked into his classroom. He quickly rounded up his classmates and announced that I was going to be the teacher for a few minutes. He perched himself right in front of my chair and was smiling from ear to ear. (I just love seeing him so happy!) After everybody was settled, I took a deep breathe and prepared to deliver my over-rehearsed spiel.

"I had an accident and the doctors tried to heal my foot. When they couldn't fix it, they decided it was best to give me a new one. My new foot is called a prosthetic, and it's special because I can take it off."

Simultaneously his classmates began shouting comments, observations and questions. Unfortunately none of the questions had to do with a prosthesis or living as an amputee. Instead, they all seemed to involve magic.

"Do you know how to pull a rabbit out of a hat?"
"Can you make me disappear?"
"What's your favorite trick?"
"Do you still have the sparkle dress?"
"Why couldn't he just make your leg re-grow?"

All of these questions seemed odd. I had tried to prepare myself for every possibility, but I was woefully unprepared to discuss magic. How did a discussion about my leg turn into a conversation about magicians? I must have looked confused because Robby's teacher stepped in and began to address the class. "Mrs. Chenoweth came to talk about her prosthesis. It is important that we all listen politely to what she has to say. Perhaps she can come in at another time to talk about being injured as a magician's assistant. She then looked at Robby and winked. 

The pieces of the puzzle suddenly began to fit together. Obviously Robby had provided some misinformation concerning my foot accident, and it apparently involved my working in a magic show.  Unbeknownst to me at the beginning of my presentation, Robby was peppered with questions about my prosthesis on the first day of school. He didn't feel that the true story was spectacular enough, so he decided to embellish it a bit. He told his classmates that I was the "pretty girl in the magic show. The magician had her step into the box because he was going to cut her in half. He messed up because he used the wrong magic word. He ended up cutting her leg off. It was very very tragic."

I can see how Robby's version of my accident is more dramatic and exciting, especially for young elementary students. I just wish I would have been prepared to answer magic show questions! Not wanting to throw my little guy under the bus in front of his new classmates, I knew I needed to change the dialog. I did the only thing I could think of--I stopped talking and took off my leg.

Immediately all of the questions ended and the class was mesmerized by the prosthesis with everybody eager to examine it. Once they were busy taking turns wearing my foot and hobbling across the classroom, his teacher and I had a chance to talk. She explained that Robby tried to answer his classmates questions truthfully but was pressed to provide more fantastical details. Wanting to impress his new friends, he embellished. His teacher did not think that I had reason for concern because he did confide in her that the story wasn't true. She even offered to use the magic show leg story as the starting point for a lesson on fiction vs. non-fiction.

Thankfully all conversations about the cause of my amputation became moot after being allowed to don my prosthesis. Driving home, I asked Robby about his imaginative leg story. He simply shrugged his shoulders and explained that "the computer monitor story is boring. I thought my new friends would like to hear about a magic show instead. I know you weren't really in a magic show Momom, but it would be cool if you were."

I think I need to help Robby figure out ways to answer questions about my amputation without resorting to imaginative tales involving feats of magic!

No comments:

Post a Comment