The question I’d been waiting for

It finally happened. A total stranger approached us and asked; “So, what happened to her arm?”

And do you know what? It wasn’t awkward at all.

Maybe it was because this lady and her friend had spent all of lunch cooing and smiling at Kitty who, true to form, spent all of lunch baby-flirting with them. Maybe it was because her opening line was ‘isn’t she gorgeous?’

She then went on to tell us that her husband had lost his arm in a motorbike accident in his teens and that nothing much fazed him. I suppose that kinship gave her the confidence to approach us where others might not have dared, and we really appreciated her matter-of-fact approach and reassurances.

In a lot of ways, that two minute conversation made me feel as though a weight had been lifted. I’ve spent many a night rehearsing my response to any questions (one that doesn’t include any four letter words), as I’d just assumed they’d be negative. But so far, I haven’t had cause to use my little speech.

People do stare sometimes, like the entire family at a service station coffee shop who turned around, en masse, to have a look after granny clocked Kitty’s arm. And I’ll admit, I might have struggled not to leap across the table and slap them all round the face with a cheese and ham baguette. But then, I’d never seen a baby missing part of an arm before Kitty came along, so I’m not surprised that people look.

There’s still a way to go before I stop checking to see who’s looking and that speech is still filed away just in case. I suppose that instinct to protect your child from harm – physical or emotional – can never be subdued. But I’m definitely going to give people the benefit of the doubt from now on, swapping the glare for a smile so people feel confident enough to ask.

So, if you see us in the street, come and say hello. Kitty’s got her biggest smile ready and waiting.

image

Kitty attracts a lot of attention when we're out and about

Advertisements

3 Comments

  1. What a lovely blog! I must say Kitty is the most adorable little girl.. I smiled the whole way through reading this as I can totally understand the emotions you’re going through! You are doing totally the right thing with your approach to people’s reactions & this will give Kitty confidence when she’s dealing with things by herself.. You know I’m always around if you need anything! Keep up this fantastic blog!! Kisses to Kitty xxx

    Like

    Reply

  2. Hi Liz, amazing to read your blog. We also received a fantastic bundle of joy in March this year, Yvie, but like you at the 20 week scan we were devastated with the news that our bud (nickname given by big Bro) was missing her right forearm. At this point we got on the emotional roller coaster that you described. Looking back we too cannot thank the NHS staff enough for the time to adjust for Yvie’s arrival. By the time our new addition arrived we were pretty much ready having spoken to Jamie (big Bro), family and friends. We got off the roller coaster fairly positive and within weeks Jamie wanted to show off his little sister to the class. We spoke to the school and it was agreed so in we went. The kids and staff were fab with Yvie the focus (which she loved) and it was only towards the end that her arm was spoken about with some hard but inquisitive questions. All in all though very positive and Yvie is still the center of attention at drop off and pick up. We are fortunate that my mum can knit with her eyes closed and we too have a marvelous collection of lopsided woolies. Do you know if someone collects these for others? There have been stares along the way but I too was guilty the other day when I saw a young girl in a supermarket with a missing hand. We stopped and spoke to the family who were so reassuring and also said the same words we keep hearing ” they will be fine and amaze you!”. Keep up the blog and we will be following once i work out how…….. Iain, Liz Jamie & Yvie.

    Like

    Reply

    1. Hi Iain. Lovely to hear from you. It does sound like our experiences are incredibly similar, and I’m glad that yours have been mainly positive too. Kids are definitely more accepting, and I don’t mind those questions at all. Are you members of the charity Reach? They support families of kids with limb differences and people often offer adapted clothes on their Facebook page. I think they’re also collecting at their family weekend on the 31st. Thanks again for getting in touch and I’ll try to update the blog regularly. Liz x

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s