Friday, May 9, 2014

growing pains

it's quickly gone from spring to summer here in NC.  when i got done with work yesterday we had to take dax to get some water friendly shoes so we decided we'd let him play in the play area at the mall.  i am a nervous nelly in there with 50+ kids running "hog wild" every which direction.  at one point will looked at me and gave me this "look" as we saw one kid go flying through the air one way and then one kid go tumbling the opposite.  its a lot to take in, but dax surely seems to have fun running around the zone and checking things out.  he likes to "follow" other kids around the play area and run if they're running, or climb if they're climbing, or jump if they're jumping.  but, if anyone turns around and looks him in the eye he will almost immediately cease what he is doing and run off and do something else.  

last night he almost ran head on into an about 4 year old girl.  she stopped, dead in her tracks, and looked at him.  when she looked closer at his face she made a "not so friendly face ((yucky))" and then ran off.  i watched him to see what he'd do and he just kept on being his happy self and ran off to do something else.  about 5 minutes passed and said girl came and sat down right beside me.  she looked me straight in the face and she said: "what's wrong with his eye?  is it broken?"  i quickly responded and told her that the muscle in his eyelid was too long and couldn't keep his eyelid up like hers or mine, but that when he turns 3 he'll be having a surgery to repair it and then it might look similar to hers.  she mumbled something and then went across the play zone to (who i presume was) her mom.  i could hear her telling her: "see, it is broken.  he has to have a surgery to fix it."

(i should have told her that God made him in his image and he was perfect just the way he was.  you always get the perfect thing to say after you've left the situation. sigh.)

the whole thing made me kind of queasy to think about.  especially the "not so friendly face" that she'd shown him, which he was thankfully oblivious to.  it just broke my heart that people naturally see differences as being "broken" and therefore not as "good" as or "less" than something that is what they've been taught or lead to believe is "ideal".  i wondered how many parents teach their children about differences if they don't face anything major in their childhood experience and how then the cycle repeats and repeats until one generation faces a challenge of some sort and then they're forced to talk about it.  

i asked will to remind me to tell him something after dax had gone to bed.  it made me cry just to tell him the look said girl had on her face.  we just want to shield him from "yucky" behaviors whenever we can or at least make sure he's not the one dishing them out.

we love reading him this book about celebrating our similarities and differences at the same time:

Whoever You Are 

i wish other kid's parents would read it to them too.  it's easy for us to talk about physical differences with him because he is at that age where he is comparing everything.  he definitely knows all three of us have different hair, but he and mommy have the same color eyes, and that my freckles are the same color as his skin.  we've never talked with him about his eye and we don't think he knows any different.

i worry for our little fellow and what challenges he will face because of this ptosis.  husband and i don't even see it anymore and that is what really kind of threw me off when the little girl asked about it.  i guess i just didn't think it was that noticeable.  especially not for a "not so nice face" response.   his spirit is so kind, so gentle, and so sweet that husband and i just don't want anything to hamper his self worth or impede in his social growth.  

watching your babies grow up is hard work.  we've been able to protect and shelter from this point, but now there's really no looking back.  we just hope his tender heart is ready for what's out there.

2 comments:

Amy Millikin said...

Your writing speaks what I often feel about what Janetta might go through...good reminder to teach our kids about God love no matter of the differences! Thanks :)

beth said...

I do not see his eye anymore either. As for the little girl, I applaud the fact you told her exactly what caused Daxton's eye to look different. I think too many times we underestimate what children can understand. What worries me more is that her own mother did not address the situation. Daxton does have a wonderful, tender spirit. As a mother of a child with a wonderful tender spirit, also do not underestimate what they can handle. I have watched James shrug off things that would put me in the stratosphere. He told Mike and I yesterday that some kid at school came up and just slapped him in the face. I asked what he did and he said "I walked away, it was the manly thing to do" We did of course tell him to let the principal know (which I am going to write an email myself). Anyway, you are raising an amazing young fellow and unless he notices someone treating him different, don't sweat it.