Jul
31

We’re All Equal

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Hi, all!  I’m in the middle of my mom’s visit, and it’s nice to just be together.  We have done some ‘touristy’ stuff, though.  Wednesday we went down to the Carnegie Science Center.  It was raining, so it was crazy packed inside.  The kids thought the submarine was stinky, but really liked the robots.  We had a great time.

Science Center

But something happened in Becca’s little brain that day.  Shortly after we arrived (and I purchased a membership, BTW), we were all at a little fountain where you try to balance plastic balls on the streams of water.  There was a boy there who was probably 10 or 11, along with his chaperone.  I’m guessing the boy had cerebal palsy, or something similar.  He had a padded helmet on, and enjoyed the fountain.  Becca could not stop looking at him.  I was on the other side of the fountain, so I couldn’t really whisper in her ear not to stare.  Nobody seemed to notice (except for me).  I could see the little wheels turning in her head.  There was a mix of confusion and amazement in her face.

Well, I had forgotten about this little incident until last night.  We always seem to have our little heart to heart talks right before bed.  As I lay there with Becca, a told her that I saw her staring at the boy with the helmet when we were at the Science Center.  I asked her if she knew why he walked the way he did and had a helmet.  Well, she had no idea.  I’m hoping that I picked this chance to explain some things about people and life in the right way.  I told her that his brain couldn’t tell his body what to do very well.  I also said that he is probably a very smart boy, but it’s just that his body and his brain aren’t quite in sync.  She thought about that for a while.  She asked “Can he talk?”  I said that I wasn’t sure about him specifically, but that if he could talk, he probably had to practice a whole bunch.  I again emphasized that just because he might not be able to talk, that didn’t mean he didn’t have lots to say.  I told her to try to imagine having all these great thoughts in your head, and not being able to tell them to anybody.  She asked if he could snap.  I told her, again, that it was probably very difficult.

Then she asked if it was hard for him to breathe.  Which I thought was a pretty good question for a six year old.  I told her that breathing is different.  You don’t have to think about breathing.  I didn’t want to give her a whole science class, so I told her that the ‘automatic’ part of his brain works just fine.

We chatted some more, and talked about how he really isn’t any different than other kids.  That he probably likes to watch cartoons and be with friends.  I hope the little ten minute talk we had helps her understand that we’re all equal, even if we have different challenges.

As she lay there, ready to drift off, it hit me how lucky I am.  I need to be thankful for that every day.  And then she told me “Mom, you’re making me hot.  Can you leave now?”

Categories : kids, life, motherhood, parenting

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