Sunday, May 1, 2011

Are your daughter's limbs short?

The other day, I was out shopping in a Christian bookstore in the beautiful city of Sydney and for the first time ever, someone approached me about Maddy's differences. She was talking with Maddy and Maddy was smiling at her and waving her arms and legs around wildly (as she does, these days!) and the lady asked me "Are your daughter's limbs short?"

I found the phrasing of the question somewhat unusual but I answered and replied that yes, Maddy has a form of dwarfism and that's why her limbs are very short. It turns out that this mother also has a child who has had some medical complications and we both shared a little of our "medical experiences" with our kids. Although I was a little taken aback by the question, it was overall a really nice chat, short but heartfelt. Probably because the other mother has dealt with medical complications, she knew how to be tactful but wasn't scared of asking in the first place.

In Hong Kong, people so far have been much less likely to directly ask questions like that and are more likely to avoid the subject altogether, although increasingly I am aware of people looking and talking about Maddy (I know maybe they could just be talking about how gorgeous she is though). I have thought that maybe it wasn't so noticeable to others that Maddy was "different" - but I know that as she gets older it is more and more obvious to others, particularly to other people who have children of their own and know what a baby's proportions are meant to be. (On a completely unrelated sidenote, since having Maddy, I have noticed that most baby dolls have Maddy's proportions. Maybe the doll manufacturers know just how adorable babies with dwarfism are - they are SO cuddly - and that's why they make baby dolls with dwarf-proportioned arms and legs rather than "average height" proportioned arms and legs!!)

I know that the experience was the first of many. I know that as Maddy ages, many people will approach her or me and ask questions about her size. I know that these experiences will vary in the level of tact and some may be even outright rude or discriminatory - but I'm so glad that we had such a pleasant first experience :)