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I Prayed For The Ground To Open Up & Swallow Me!

Children, in all their innocence, can say some really embarrassing and inappropriate things at times. I’ve often laughed at stories other mom’s have shared about how their child has asked, in the outside voice, why the lady in the checkout at the supermarket is so fat or why someone is in a wheelchair etc. I always thought these stories were really funny, mostly because I’d never had to experience it first hand, until yesterday……

We attended a family function, attending the function with us was one of Walter’s cousin’s best friends, a really pretty young woman and really inspiring to. She was born with a birth defect, leaving her with only one leg and arms that resemble the birth defect that resembles the birth defects seen in children who’s mother’s where prescribed Thalidomide when pregnant. This young woman is a 8 x competitor of the Midmar Mile and has won it 7 times under the disabled category. She’s lovely, inspiring, interesting to watch and a really sweet person. But Ava nearly killed me yesterday.

From the moment we walked in, she pointed at her and in the loudest voice possible exclaimed: “Look Mama, broken arms!”

I’m not someone who gets embarrassed, I don’t know why, but I just don’t embarrass easily but as soon as I heard those words, I felt my entire body heat up and the blush creep into my face , even the tips of my ears were burning!

I tried to not make a big issue and said yes, I see and then left the room to go and sit in the dining room, where Ava followed me and exclaimed even louder: “Mama, that lady in there has BROKEN ARMS!”

Yes my angel I saw.

I swear I prayed in that moment for a sink hole to appear in the floor and for me to fall right into the middle of it. My face was on fire, I was so embarrassed and was so desperate for to just… SHUT… UP!

No such luck of course!

For the entire afternoon, each time we past her, each time we walked past where she was sitting, Ava would point and exclaim: “Look, BROKEN ARMS!” I even heard her going around to every single person at the function and saying to them: “That lady has BROKEN ARMS!” Can you say MORTIFIED????!!!!!!!

And then just when I thought it could not get any worse, after watching in utter fascination as a Pinata got smashed and sweets had scattered across the floor, Ava dived on top of them and proceeded to hand them out to everyone in the room, when she came to the lady with the “broken arms”, she stood in front of her, staring at her deformed arms, with the thumb like protrusions where her elbows should have been but where her arms ended and proclaimed loudly: “Your ARMS ARE BROKEN, you can’t open the sweets!” Kill me, kill me now!

One thing is for sure, I was quite unprepared for to cope in an embarrassing situation like that, I wasn’t sure if I should apologize  for Ava’s curiosity and open mouthed staring and exclaiming, or if I should just shrug it off in the hope that this girl is used to getting such reactions from children, all I will say is that I’m bloody glad she was wearing jeans so that Ava did not see her prosthetic leg because that would only have added to hot, red flushes and prayers for the ground to open up and swallow me!

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9 Comments

  • Reply ankia

    Shame man… What did the lady do? Kids will do things like that. James said out loud the one day in a mall: “Sheesh mommy did you see that lady’s fat boobs??”

    January 20, 2013 at 10:19 am
    • Reply Sharon

      She didn’t react at all, so either she was trying to hide how desperately she wanted to smack Ava, or I’m hoping she’s just used to that reaction and chooses to ignore it!

      January 20, 2013 at 10:21 am
  • Reply tolovebella

    Shooo yes… I don’t know what I would’ve done. It is a very, very awkward situation! I really hope that the lady was able to just shrug it off and realise that it was just the innocence of a little child.

    January 20, 2013 at 10:50 am
  • Reply Sian

    OMG! I’m sure she must have realized that Ava wasn’t being malicious.

    January 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm
  • Reply sophie

    Oh God, that is very embarrassing at the same time … maybe kids are right and adults are not so right in “trying to hide” those obvious things that are in fact nothing to be “ashamed” of.
    Anyways, thanks for sharing this post …. I’ll remember it if I am once in similar situation ….. !!

    January 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm
  • Reply Beth

    As someone with an obvious physical disability I must say that the honesty of children is not a problem for me at all. I would rather have a quiet chat to them and tell them why I walk funny, and why my leg is made of metal and foam. I think its better for you, or the person involved, to have a chat with the child straight away, rather than try and ignore the situation.
    Children need to learn that not everyone is the “same” as them, and eventually they won’t make perhaps hurtful comments to disabled people. This will also help them grow up into more tolerant adults.

    January 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm
  • Reply cat@jugglingact

    I think she is possibly used to it. Here’s what I do though and I think it teaches my children something but soemone with a deformaty suggested it to me years ago – take the child to the person, ask them to say hello and try to explain (with the person’s help) what is “different” than the ordinary and that people are all different. It has always worked with me apart from a very fat woman that I thought would not deal with it the way disabled people do. There I just moved them as far away from her as possible!

    January 22, 2013 at 10:29 am
  • Reply Mash

    After my horse riding accident I have a scar on my throat. Adults often stare at it but children will walk right up to me and ask what is THAT? And you know what, I love it because it’s honest 😉 as only children can be honest.

    I once travelled with a three year old (my friend’s daughter) to Cape Town on the train. As we were about to disembark she went up to an overweight woman with a moustache and asked her, umm excuse me, but are you a woman or a man?

    February 5, 2013 at 11:28 pm
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