I get asked variations on the following question fairly often: How do you raise 3 boys sitting in a chair?
It’s not a question that I can really answer with words. The people that know me and interact with me on a regular basis see it for themselves, so they rarely ask. I thought it would be fun to make a “day in our life” video for those that aren’t so lucky to know me in real life. This was a “calm” day, we are usually in and out of the vehicle often, but you get the idea.
I also get questions about why I have to use my chair on a regular basis, sometimes from adults but mostly from kids. Many parents are concerned that this is rude and inappropriate. Kids are curious and want to learn, so I honestly adore when this happens. Children learn by asking questions when they see something new. They will never learn to accept new things if they don’t question them and learn about them. I can’t speak for everyone but if the person looks friendly, chances are you can accompany your child and politely approach them.
If you prefer, try to make eye contact, and if they are as awesome as me, they will likely approach you and your child. It’s an amazing opportunity to look them in the eyes and depending on their age, explain why I use the chair and why my legs don’t work.
I usually find that an extremely simple answer works, other times I give them a little more detail. I’m always able to steer them to how cool my wheels are when I don’t want to go into anymore detail. Kids LOVE big wheels and mine look like a giant toy. The parent is almost always grateful that I took the time to talk to their child and the child is usually grinning from ear to ear.
It doesn’t happen very often but I sometime see a little one pointing at me and I know he’s about to ask his mommy or daddy why…but he’s quickly hushed or in rare instances yanked away away. This breaks my heart. The child is being taught that it’s not okay to be different and it’s not okay to learn about different disabilities (and probably every other difference for that matter). I try to evaluate the situation and very frequently approach with a smile and answer the question. Once again, the parent is always relieved that I wasn’t offended and openly talked to their little one.
My hope is that this gesture, softens their heart and opens up many conversations on all the differences in the world.
Please remember that there is no shame in a child’s natural curiosity and desire to ask questions. Please also remember that you may encounter a person not as willing to engage you and your child and this is NO reflection on you as a parent or your child. It is also not a reflection of the person you are approaching. Sometimes there is damage and hurt that runs so deep they don’t want to talk about it. Some people are extremely private. I’m clearly not one of those people. However, ALWAYS use your best judgement.
I like to find humor in my situation. It makes life easier and it keeps things interesting. When you are a parent, you need to mix things up a bit, when you can. I’m not always sure how people will react but it seems to always be positive.
Case in point, within one day of changing my bio, two of my twitter followers messaged me and told me they followed me JUST because of my bio.
You know you want to follow me so you can learn how I juggle 3 boys while sitting on my butt all day.
It would appear that everyone wants to know the answer to this mysterious question.
The only problem is, I do not know the answer to that question. I don’t know how to explain to everyone that it’s really not that different. There is no magic answer. I just do it. It’s not amazing and awesome. I’m an average parent, just like you.
I’m grateful and truly honored that people find what I do inspiring, but at the same time I want everyone to know that it’s really no big deal. I’ve always wanted to be a mom and that’s what I do.
I blog about it so my kids will remember their childhood and to hopefully encourage other women to follow their dreams. I would not trade being a mom for anything in the world. Not even walking. Walking is overrated.
Who needs to walk when you can have hand controls put on your vehicle and still drive? Who needs to walk when you can put a ramp on your door and still get in the house? Who needs to walk when they make these nifty, lightweight wheelchairs that can easily be disassembled and put in the seat next to you? Not me!
I’m not sure my kids would know what to do with a mom that walked. They’ve had so much fun stealing my wheelchair when I’m on the couch, “pushing” me across the street in parking lots and helping me get my chair in the van, I’m not sure they would be happy any other way.
How else would we get good parking at the mall and grocery store?! Having good parking is vital to quickly and safely getting into a store. I’m sure you can all agree.
My middle son didn’t learn to walk until he was 18 months old. I blame the chair. He was always in my lap and didn’t need to walk, so why bother?
My oldest son is now as tall as I sit so it should start to get easier to be able to look him in the eyes when I’m scolding him for his latest attempt at throwing more drama into the mix that is our life.
So parenting from a chair has it’s advantages.
I won’t bore you with the horrible and disgusting disadvantages. That’s another post; another day. That’s not humorous. At all.