Little Tommys of the World

In Columns, Just My Bellybutton, Opinion by Nathasha Alvarez

Nathasha Alvarez recieving
a hug from her
youngest sister, Tanya.

Raise your hand if you love to be stared at by little kids? Hmmm…no one raised their hands. I guess that theory went out the window. Parents of staring kids sometimes find it “oh-so-cute” when little Tommy is gawking at the person in the wheelchair. Little Tommy needs to be careful that he doesn’t catch me on a bad day. Overall, I don’t mind when kids look at me. They are curious and I have no problem with that. However, I must blame the parents for this situation. So, I have decided that I will give some tips that might finally put an end to stares and finger pointing from all of the Little Tommys of the world.

First and foremost, mommies and daddies, please take your children out! To the mall, to the park, the fair, to the movies, anywhere. Why? Because we are there, too! Yup, that’s right, we have a life, and we go out, too. Ok, you can close your mouth now. All that gaping reminds me of your child. Here is the logic behind this tidbit of advice: if you take them out more often, then they will see us more often, and we will be like a regular person on the street. Try it. Save some money, don’t hire the babysitter or give the nanny the day off, and take them along.

Secondly, talk to them and listen to them. They have questions, and these questions can probably be asked in the home if Mommy and Daddy don’t have the TV babysitting their children. I know I am being harsh, but hey, this is real life. Talk to your child about the differences in people. Kids have questions, and you need to supply the answers.

Thirdly: manners, manners, manners. I can’t say that enough! Teach them manners. I will give you a refresher course. First, don’t stare for more than three seconds at anyone. Don’t point with your fingers. Don’t scream out a question. For example, “Hey look at that bald woman, Mom! Look! Mom! Look! What happened to her?” Now, not only have your heard your child, but so has everyone else in the area, including the bald woman.

Furthermore, don’t scare your children. Many of my disabled friends have told me that they have heard strangers tell their children that if they don’t eat their vegetables they will look like the disabled person. So here is the truth: we eat our vegetables–and we are hoping not to look like you!

Lastly, set the example for your child. How many disabled friends do you have

? How many do you invite over for dinner or to a party? If your child is staring, the answer is there.

Remember that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So until next time, see ya around the mall, Mr. and Mrs.Woody!