Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Life in our preemie world: Stares

8 minutes and 12 seconds.

That is the longest amount of time that someone has full on stared at my daughter (that I noticed and timed out of pure curiosity). Granted it was a ten year-old boy but still. Awkward. When we go out places we often attract first, second, and sometimes even third looks from people. We went to Disneyland last year and two different people walked into something because they were looking at her and not the big huge bush in front of them.

For the most part I don't mind the extra looks. A two-year-old with oxygen is an unusual site indeed. Add her feeding pump and that makes for even more attention worthy notice.

I usually just smile at the kids that stare and then ask their mom or dad half whispered questions about "the thing in her nose." The 8 minute stare came from a boy who walked over and just stood directly in front of us while we were watching my son ice skate. I tried to get his attention to see if he had a question but nope - just kept staring.

My husband and I actually don't mind when people ask questions about our daughter. We want to spread the word about prematurity. Personally I do get a bit frustrated when people just stare without saying anything or ask "what's wrong with her?"

I know I'm not alone. I've talked to other preemie moms and dads that have had people stare at their child, ask ridiculous questions or compare how their kid is doing to yours. So I've decided we should fight back. Let's stare at all those weird full term babies who hit their milestones on time, are average size and basically "normal." Let's ask silly questions. Here are some completely tongue-in-cheek, just for fun suggestions to get you started:

1) How old is he/she? When they give their perfectly normal answer that matches the size of their kid than you ask - "Isn't it boring to have a child whose size is so...predictable?"

2) When they talk about how they only go to the pediatrician for immunizations/well baby/sick visits, than you say "So, you only have one doctor for your kid? I have 7!" We may not be able to beat them at some things but doctors - we win every time.

3) When they talk about how their kid did xyz at whatever age than you just stare for a few seconds and say "interesting." That will throw them off. Or you can say "doesn't that get boring?"

Do you have any strategies or thoughts about dealing with the curious people of the world? Please share!

1 comment:

Trish said...

LOVE this.

Robbie's only "extra" is his G button which isn't generally visible... but I always get "how old" and when I answer- the gasp!

So I punish them by telling them to the whole damned story.