Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Why Mommy?

When I met Lisa recently one of the things we talked about was talking to our daughters about the fact that they were different from other kids. She said that one of the tools she uses is watching Little People Big World with Lizzie. Unfortunately, we do not have cable so that is not really an option for us. I have talked to Han before about how she is special, that God made her look different, but that she is just as smart and can do just as much in her own way.

When talking to Lisa, I said something about the fact that Hannah had not yet noticed that she was different then any of the other kids and that I was not sure if I wanted to ruin her innocence on the matter just yet. I just wanted her to remain worry free for a little longer. I do not know if that is the best approach, and I was struggling with what to do about it. How do you make a four year old understand what most adults don't understand?

Well, recently she has started to notice things. Like, that her two year old brother can reach the light switches and she cannot. Or that on most bikes/trikes she cannot reach the pedals while most kids can. This has caused her to start asking questions.
"Mommy, why can Alex reach the lights and I can't? I even stand on my tipey-toes and can't."
"Mommy, why can't I reach the pedals like Dax (our next door neighbor)?"
"Mommy, why am I different?"
"Mommy why are my legs short and Anna's legs long? I don't want short arms and legs."

Although it is a little heartbreaking for me to hear her question and express these things, I keep reassuring her that she can do those things with a little modification. Such as using her light wand to reach the switches, and her pedal blocks to reach the pedals. I also reiterate how special she is, how much I love her and that she should not let her difference hold her back. That one day she will be able to do these things and until then she gets to do them her own special way.

She still questions why she has short arms/legs. I'm not sure what more I can do for her, other than surround her with love so that she can realize that, short or not, she is an amazing little girl. Now the pressure is off on how to tell her she is different, but the pressure is there on how to help her embrace her difference. Any great suggestions?


Sarah and Matt said...

Catie, you are a great mom and you just made that very clear in what you wrote. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I just loved reading what you wrote about her and she will love it and appreciate it one day too! Keep doing what you are doing loving her and being there for her.

Destini said...

Catie, that is such a tough one! I've gotten a little headstart explaining to Taylor about why Trace is little. I told her that there are different kinds of "big", and we met a man with achondroplasia when we were at Disney, and she seems to be okay with it. I think meeting a little person in person really helped Taylor understand - although it might not help Hannah embrace or accept so readily. Tough indeed. I know there has been alot on the POLP group about this issue.

Caden and Mommy said...

We aren't there yet with Caden so unfortunately I have no good words to give you ... however I think your attitude is awesome. God gives us these achon kids because he knows we can provide them the love and self esteem they need! And her innocence in her questions is priceless!

Alex said...

Obviously with Anaïs being only 5 months old, we are not there yet. However, I do agree that seeing an adult with achondroplasia might be helpful (on TV or in real life).
If you don't know any and can't watch "Little people Big world", maybe you can buy a book about dwarfism. We have two great books about dwarfism, one for grown ups and a children's book.
The first one is called DWARFISM, written by Betty M Adelson. The children's book is called "I'm just small that's all" written by Karalee Braithwaite. For the children's book, go on

I was very moved when I read your post, you are a wonderful mom and you are doing the right thing!

Kim said...

Catie-it is hard. I have not gotten any questions-in fact Presotn tends to gravitate towards the biggest kids he can. He is super independent and I know the older kids try to help him but he stands his ground.
Tell her that she and Lizzie are special-they are alike even if they are slightly different in height from the other kids. Remind her that one in 15-40 thousand is so cool! She is super unique!
Hang in there and keep us posted.

Tonya said...

Awww Hannah B! You are PERFECT the way you are!! Hannah A. can't wait to see you again!!!

Lisa said...

As you and I talked, this is obviously a hard subject! I always try to tell Liz that some people are tall, some are short, and some are really tall and some are really short.

People who are really tall like certain aspects of it, but there's also things they don't like. Same goes for really short people.

Brian and I are always trying to make a list about the great aspects of being short - all of the things she can do that us "average height" folks can't do.

Like - she can run under the table still standing - she can help me get the Christmas decorations in the crawl space without having to bend over. She actually loves running around our crawl space - and she'll probably never have to bend over.
Sounds like this might make a good post - "The best parts about being small."