Saturday, March 07, 2009

It's Not Contagious

Today was a beautiful day, so we headed out to the playground. We went to Jordan's favorite one (and mine!), Everybody's Playground. It's an accessible playground--people with walkers, crutches, and wheelchairs can get right up onto it easily because of the wide ramps. We had Jordan's birthday party there last year and are thinking of doing it again this year.

The Stare Patrol, as we call it, is always out in full force there, and I try not to be bothered by it. But it is amazing the different reactions to Jordan--the ignorant, the rude, and the outright bizarre!

The parents my age don't stare that much or seem overly concerned with Jordan, but some of the kids stare and ask questions. I overheard two kids discussing Jordan's crutches. The crutches were lying on the ground near them, and they looked like they really wanted to touch them. The boy said to the girl, "They're fake," pointing to the crutches. He reached out slowly to try to touch them, probably thinking I wouldn't notice. When I glanced over, he said, "Uh, does he need these?" I said, "Yes." Then Jordan grabbed them and ran away, and the girl said, "They're real."

Then this was pretty cool, actually--Jordan kept using his crutches as "guns," so one boy in particular really wanted the other one to also use as a gun. My husband said to him, "They're not toys," but it was clear that they are to Jordan!

The older women, on the other hand, are the worst. First, the pity approach: I heard one grandmother say, as Jordan ran off using his crutches, "God bless him." Gee, thanks. God bless you and your grandchildren, too. Believe it or not, Jordan doesn't need any more blessing than anyone else.

This other older woman really got my ire up. Her grandson was a few years older than Jordan and kept following Jordan around. They were having fun playing together. Often kids do just come up to Jordan, and Jordan leads them around. He is especially commanding on the playground, and even more so on one like this with a fake pirate ship on it! He was leading this kid around saying they were looking for treasure, etc. But the grandmother was not happy about it. She told him a few times to be careful. Then she called him over to her and stage whispered, "I told you, go over there and play by yourself." He ran off but minutes later was playing with Jordan again. I saw him sitting on one side of the pirate ship, but when he saw Jordan, he got up and moved to sit next to him.

I told my husband I was going to say to that woman, "It's not contagious." I can understand her not wanting her grandson to be the one to knock over the "poor crippled boy." Ughhghg. But to ban him from playing with my son, when all the kid was doing was treating Jordan like any other kid? Strange, and if you think about it, truly terrible. Heartless? Selfish? Fearful? Is my beautiful, joyful boy someone to be feared? Or as that kid today realized, someone to conquer the playground with?

1 comment:

FridaWrites said...

I love the term Stare Police. I wonder why that grandmother acted the way she did--how rude. I've also pulled out the "it's not contagious" line for myself.