Monday, January 19, 2009

This time it wasn't my foot....

Most times I secretly, okay not so secretly, enjoy when people say something stupid and then visibly squirm afterward, as they try to recover. Yesterday, though, I honestly ended up feeling bad for the poor girl.

Emmi was invited to a birthday party. I talk to the mom at dance class, but we have never socialized outside of class which meant we would know nobody else at the party. No big deal. Within in minutes, Kenny and I had already laughed at some guy who smiled sweetly at Jill and Emmi and announced that he and his wife wanted another child as a playmate for their daughter. Kenny and I exchanged glances that said, "Playmate? You mean rival?" Then we moved on to another mom who was in the middle of a hysterical story about her acquaintance with poison control. This mom, we liked. We talked to her for awhile before the kids moved on to eat cake and find party horns.

Emmi, having what is technically considered a cleft of her soft palate, can't blow without plugging her nose. She came to me for help. We sat, me pinching her nose, her blowing the horn. The funny mom, from across the room calls out, "Are you plugging her nose!!" So I matter-of-factly explain, with a smile on my face to make it clear I am not offended.

Yet, the poor lady turns red. She looked like she was about to cry. Her husband looked like he wants to find the closest rock, and shove her under it. Everyone was looking back and forth between her and me. I continued to smile and mouthed, "It's okay," to her, but she still looked mortified.

And somehow I ended up feeling bad for her, even though she opened her big mouth and technically made fun of a disabled kid in front of a room full of people.


Allie said...

I think maybe if Emmi had some obvious signs that she was disabled maybe this woman would have realized she was disabled and not said anything. I know it sounds bad but people tend to shut up when there is something obvious but after meeting Emmi I would never have thought she was disabled in anyway, there is no obvious sign. Am I making sense here?
I know she has the cochlear implants but this woman probably thought her deafness was the only disability she has. I'm sure she felt like an ass nonetheless.

I am Trish Marie said...

I know most people don't see anything. Even the implants go unnoticed now that she wears them on her ears and her hair is long. I think the only thing people maybe pick up on is her speech, but she looks so much smaller than her actual age. I am not even sure people really get the speech thing, because most people don't know that she is almost five. They guess her age around three.

I just felt bad that the lady felt so bad. I know it is probably one of those things that she went home and worried about, and there was no good way to make her understand that no harm was caused.

Dave said...

The other day I had trouble hearing in a crowded store, I told the sales guy to repeat several times.
He looked at my implant magnet etc and said "well if you got off the phone, you would hear me"
"I'm deaf, this is my cochlear implant" I told him in front of many other store staff.
Fifteen shades of pink and red, and I was not sad in the least.


I think you handled the situation very gracefully. Sometimes people take for granted that what they see on the surface is what they get. I am physically exhausted because I am sick and I can't even shovel the snow without catching my breath every few feet, let alone pick it up because my muscle strenght is weakening. So my wife ends up shoveling the walkways. I am sure the neighbors think I'm a big ass.
Explaining to this woman what the situation was is exactly what needed to be done. I think you've probably helped her see things a lot more clearly before she opens her mouth again about something else.