OK, before you begin reading too much of this post, I’m going to start off by stating, that these are my personal thoughts. I warn you because what I’m about to say goes against every political correctness seminar you’ve taken.
My biggest pet-peeve as a medically needy mom is when someone IGNORES the obvious. If you’re are asking yourself, what I mean, here it is in black and white simple words. YES, my son looks “not normal” or “different”. Before you began shaming me as a mom, let me explain.
My son had a tracheotomy placed at 15 months old and is ventilator and oxygen dependent. For those not familiar, it basically means my son has a hole in his throat with a tube that goes to a machine that breathes for him. This is our families normal and yes, I’m pretty sure my six-year-old son doesn’t think anything about it because that’s his brother. Actually, if you ask Brody about his brother, he will tell you he is basically Darth Vader AND he has a robot heart! Yes, it is our normal but it is not everyone’s normal so when kids see him out and about they have questions!
These questions bring me to my point, parents it is OK for your child to come up to me and ask, “what’s that tube?” It is NOT OK for you to shush your child when they start to ask. I have never been offended by a child’s question but it breaks my heart every time I see a parent shush their wondering child. I actually pride myself that with the fact that I have come up with a very simple kid friendly explanation of my son’s machinery. It truly brings my heart joy when I explain it to a child because kids are simple and they really just want to know. I love being able to explain that yes although Nate may look different, he also loves things just like them, Mickey, Legos, and animals.
I think the shushing has become an epidemic because people are so focused on being politically correct and inclusive of those with disabilities, but in my opinion it has gotten out of control! I was recently in a medically setting that included kids of different abilities led by medically certified specialist. When a child approached Nathan and then looked at me and asked why he had the tube, I immediately began my explanation. The problem was the adult leader immediately pulled the child away and told them to stop speaking to me. This offended me way more than the question. That adult was so concerned about the child offending me, but that child now thinks he shouldn’t speak to Nate and avoid contact with him. The moral of the story is: instead of teaching your children that everyone looks and acts the same, instead teach them to interact with all people and encourage appropriate ways for them to ask questions.