Sunday, November 26, 2006

We Can All Stop Worrying Now

We're leaving the store after dark, and Peanut is looking sadly up at the sky.

Bad Mama: Are you looking for the stars, Peanut? I think they're all behind the clouds.

Peanut: And the moon?

Bad Mama: I think the moon is to, Honey. It's cloudy out.

Peanut: I don't want it to be cloudy out! I want it to be starry and moony out!


So, yeah, that whole walking thing? She's totally into it. Walked all over the grocery store this morning, and we spent more time in T*arget this afternoon than I want to admit to you. She Has. To. Touch. Everything. It probably took me 10 minutes just to get her to walk away from the animal crackers.

And you know how one of the things they talk about in interracial adoption, about being a "conspicuous family"? I think I have an inkling of what it must be like. She couldn't have gotten more attention if she was running naked painted lime green through the aisles. The hippie food store was pleasant that way, with everyone simply smiling and saying how cute she was. The other place, not quite so much. There were plenty of people smiling, but there was a lot more outright staring. And so very many children pointing and asking loudly, "What's that she has?" Obviously, I can't get upset about that, but it did get a little old. I think it was particularly bad just because most people talk to their children about wheelchairs, but not about other kinds of assistance devices. The worst was actually something that was meant to be benign, I think, and that was when a child asked and the parent said, in front of Peanut, "Oh, it's a walker to help the baby walk". I don't know about your kids, but boy, mine is not happy to be called a baby for any reason right now, much less when it comes to walking.

But before anyone feels too bad for her, let me tell you how she handled it. When she heard what the woman said, she stopped dead in the middle of the aisle, blocking the way for everyone, and fixed a stare on that woman that I thought would burn a hole through her head. She said nothing, didn't smile, just stared. The woman was smiling at her, but kind of lost her smile as she edged by the freaky little girl in her pink sweater and walker. Peanut turned her head to watch with an expression that made you think it was about to start spinning on her neck, and then, when the woman was past, she looked up at me, smiled and soldiered on down the lane.

She did it again to a very rude little girl who was too old to be pointing and asking so loudly, and it clearly freaked the kid out. I wish I could explain properly how proud I am. There is no better retort that I could have made, no better response to the staring than this dead-eyed stare back.

I wasn't kidding when I said she was scary.


julia said...

Heh. Good for her.

My daughter has type 1 diabetes and wears an insulin pump. She perfected that stare after one girl said "Ewwwwww, gross," while pointing at her infusion site. (Pointing! and she was, like, 13 or 14 years old!! I could have slapped her.)

It's great that they have the balls to do that, but it also makes my heart hurt a lot.

Mel said...

She's my kind of woman. You rock Peanut!

Carrie's Mom (and damn proud of it) said...

Gosh...wonder where she gets that attitude from....maybe the girl who proudly wore the "I Love My Attitude" T-shirt to school, where it wasn't especially appreciated...?