Monday, December 11, 2006

A Brief Sidebar

The only problem with themed posting is that I don’t know what to do when I have something off-topic to share. So, I’ll interrupt myself, and we’ll get back on track shortly.

You must go read ADHD Mom, of whom you will all be insanely jealous, because don’t you wish you could have me over for lunch? Don’t you?

Anyway. The lunch was delightful. D. was really well behaved for a lot of the time, but he was also exhibiting some of his typical behaviors – namely, lying on the floor clutching a truck and threatening anyone who got near it. This is perhaps normal for a 3-year-old, I’m not really sure, but it’s not really what most 5-year-olds do, and we all know that D. is freaking huge. But the new people at lunch didn’t, so I felt obligated to mention it.

“My son, he’s really big, but he’s only 3. He has an overgrowth syndrome.”

The woman – OK, girl, since she was probably all of 20 – smiled politely. She was probably thinking, “What?” We continued conversing.

Later in the conversation, D. came into the room and said something that was only understandable if you are me, so I translated for Mr. WG, who then gave D. whatever food he wanted, and the woman said to me, “How old did you say your son is?”


“Wow!” she said. “He’s really big.”

Her husband gave her that look you give your spouse when you want to say, “Stop! Talking! Now!” But she wasn’t being obnoxious, and I was feeling generous, and I said, “Well, yes, he has an overgrowth syndrome, which means blah blah.” And we talked about that for a bit, and about the whole, “My baby was in the NICU for 11 days and we live with Uncertainty and yada yada” for a bit. And during this conversation, I suddenly noticed that her son, who had been in her husband’s arms for most of the meal, was missing one arm either above or below the elbow.

So I notice this, but I’m cool, and to my credit I don’t blurt out, “Hey, what’s wrong with your kid’s arm,” though it is close. And I mentioned something about followup with Children’s Hospital, and she says, “Yeah, we’re going to be at Shriner’s for his arm,” and I said:

“I want to tell you that I just now noticed, and, well, what happened?”

It’s hard to explain how comfortable I felt asking that question. It’s like I had special permission to put them on the spot because we had just discussed my own kid’s issues. At any rate, they were extremely gracious and explained that they had not seen it on any ultrasounds, and when he was born, they didn’t even notice in the first moments. After they held him – wrapped up – the nurses slowly told them, kindly and gently, and they are used to it at this point.

(I keep wondering if she didn’t go home and write on her blog about the obnoxious crazy lady she met at lunch, but hey.)

Anyway, we talked a lot about how it feels to go through crap with your kids and how it hurts to talk about and how it just sucks and life isn’t fair and it sucks. But in a good way.

I was just so intrigued at how I really did feel entitled to ask the questions I asked – perhaps inappropriately so? – and at how I felt afterwards as I walked home thinking, Would I want that for D.? One arm, but everything else is fine? Or would I want him the way he is? And thankfully, the answer is clear.

Also, if ADHD Mom invites you for lunch, make sure she promises to serve her peanut butter balls and lemon squares for dessert.


ADHD Mom said...

Thanks for plugging my blog :) I need to tell you that D's behavior is completely appropriate and normal for a three year old. Also, I should mention, that many a night this 33 year old clutches her toys (namely, laptop) and threatens the life of anyone who comes near. As for the one-armed baby lady, I don't think you were rude or inappropriate at all. I was in the kitchen or talking (make that yelling) at one of my kids for most of the conversation, but I am sure she wasn't offended. I didn't even notice lack of arm at all, which shows you how in tune I am to these things! And I agree - you get what you get, and I would rather have what I got, as challenging as it may be, than what someone else has got.

3MGA mom said...

You should create another category that you can just put random thoughts in. If you need a soap name, I'll think about it. I'm a little bit of a fan of the genre :)

I find the way I interact with parents of kids with some kind of health issue to be very different than my interactions with "normal" kids and their parents. I feel more in my element. I guess that explains who I hang out with in cyberspace, too...