Ewing is currently doing serial casting in an attempt to help lengthen his calf muscle so he can flatten his foot and wear his AFO (Ankle Foot Orthotic) without getting crazy blisters and sores. An added bonus of having a child who’s being serial casted (aside from the awesome smell emanating from the limb for days post-removal) is taking him into public.
Most people assume he’s broken his leg or foot, and surprisingly, they’re not afraid to ask about it. I get that they’re just making conversation and are usually well-intentioned. In fact, I don’t normally mind questions anymore because it presents an opportunity to educate someone about pediatric stroke, hemiparesis, and cerebral palsy. Even so, there are a few people who can really drive you batshit crazy with their stares and questions and judgement.
Following a particularly unpleasant exchange with an older woman the other day who, from her reaction to Ewing’s cast and my attempted explanation, likely felt I was only one step above Hitler for casting my son, I’ve been brainstorming ways to put the judgey and starey types in their places by making them feel so totally uncomfortable, they want to melt into the floor and die immediately.
Feel fee to try for yourself these responses to both verbal comments and those people send with their eyes. (But be prepared to skedaddle ASAP, as it’s only a matter of time before somebody calls the authorities.)
Stranger: Why don’t you learn to control your kid’s meltdowns in public?
- What kid? We don’t have a kid. *nodding sympathetically* I’ve heard hallucinations are perfectly normal at your age, so I wouldn’t worry.
- He promised he wouldn’t have a fit if I let him out of his cage just this once!
- He’s not a child; he’s my father, and he has a serious case of Benjamin Buttonitis. HAPPY NOW?!
- Oh, that? He’s just exorcising his demons. Church-sanctioned, I promise.
- Careful. Last person who said that lost part of his calf muscle and the smallest two digits on his dominant hand. He’s a biter, that one.
- He just takes after his father. But you know that, being that it runs in your family. Isn’t that right, Carl? OR IS CARL NOT EVEN YOUR REAL NAME, YOU TWO-TIMIN’ SONUVA…?
Stranger: Why are you constantly telling that kid to use his right hand? Got something against lefties?
- Left-handedness is a clear mark of the devil, YOU SATAN WORSHIPER, YOU!
- What’s that, sir? No, you may NOT rub against me with your lefty!
- Studies show serial killers prefer using their right hands over their left. It’s never too soon to prepare for one’s profession, amiright?!
- It’s his sister’s turn to use her left today.
- As a product of divine virgin conception, he is required by holy law to use his right.
Stranger: Oh. My. Goodness. Was Mommy not watching you very well when you broke your [foot/leg/hand/arm]?
- Who, this kid? I have no idea. I just kidnapped him from the park not more than two hours ago.
- What? He was fine just a minute ago. You must’ve used your mind powers to put that thing on him. NOW USE THEM TO TAKE IT OFF!
- Oh, no. That’s just the tracking mechanism the aliens left on him the last time they visited us. *whispering* Inu zolta bintrom.
- About as well as your husband was watching you before he married ya.
- That’s not for a broken limb. That’s to keep him from transforming into a Chevy Camaro and insisting we call him Bumblebee later. *leaning in as if to tell a secret* You let ’em watch one movie, and they adopt the molecular structure of the characters on screen, I tell ya. When are kids these days gonna learn that shape-shifting is so last century?
How have you put insensitive strangers in their place?