My friend Kelly shared with me that I don’t write very much about how different Thorin is from other kids. That is probably accurate. Sometimes I don’t even write about Down syndrome.
This past week I decided to notice what is different when it comes to Thorin. You know, really focus on what stood out to me.
On Monday we encountered Abuela Rosa. She is one of the volunteer grandparents at Thorin’s school.
“There’s my Baby! Baby, come hug Abuela Rosa!”
Me, sounding clearly annoyed, “He’s not a baby.”
“Sure he is. Hug me, Baby!”
Thorin scurried out of reach and went in the school.
Sounding super rejected and disappointed, “My Baby didn’t hug me!”
So, you won’t find me culturally insensitive she only refers to Thorin as a “Baby” and has been talked to by school staff to refrain from calling him that and asking for hugs and kisses.
On Tuesday a parent from Thorin’s school told me she understands why “he pushes other kids because of his communication issues”. This chick never says anything like – “So, I understand Thorin is a real fan of the Hulk.” or “Thorin sure seems like a nice kid.” It’s always about his perceived difference.
I know nothing about this woman’s life. And if I knew anything that might come under the heading of personal information I would not mention it but then again I am from Wisconsin.
On Wednesday This on-on-one aide was out sick. His substitute aide seemed great and they went off happily to class. When I picked him up she asked me, “How old is he?”
“Seriously, Dude, you spent the entire fucking day with him and you didn’t think to ask him?” I can’t help but wonder if he was a ‘typical’ six-year-old would she have asked him?
On Thursday we pulled up to school and a classmate of Thorin’s and her mother walked over to the car. The mother leaned in and said in a really loud voice, “Hi T.! Are you unbuckling yourself?! Can you unbuckle your seat belt?” And then she clapped her hands together twice.
The fact she made it home without a concussion speaks again to my Midwestern niceness.
On Friday Thorin was home sick. The thermometer needed a new battery. I had to lug him to Ride-Aide. While I am trying to find the correct battery a sales lady came up to us. She asked me how old he was.
Through gritted teeth I said, “Six.”
“Six! Really?! Why is he so short?!”, she asked.
“My husband is a pygmy.”*
“What?! Really?!” she asked in a weirdly excited way
Me, completely bored out of my skull, “Yeah, really.”
Insert long silence here. “Uh, you…um, where did you two meet?”, she inquired.
“Graduate school”, I said in a very deadpanned sort of way.
Rest assured even though I do not always write about Thorin being different I am always quite aware others see him that way.
*I am not using the term ‘pygmy’ to be derogatory. Instead, I am trying to combat rudeness and challenge stereotypes.