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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tricky Question

Today was a beautiful day for mid-December.  The temperature was relatively mild and the sun was shining so even though it was late(ish) in the day (around 3) we took the kids to the playground down the road from us.  It is actually a really great place for the kids and a nice walk to get there.  We get to walk down a country lane through a horse farm that runs behind the school.

Today we took the kids in wagons and as we walked across the baseball field towards the playground we were approached by a very enthusiastic developmentally delayed female adult.  Admittedly both Greg and I were a little wary at first but simply because we weren't sure if she would try to pick up the twins or not.  But since she was with her father and they were playing at the playground I figured we didn't have anything to worry about and returned her happy greeting.

The kids were a little wary too and weren't so sure about this large person who was behaving more like a little kid.  We played for awhile at the swings then moved over the play structure.  The other "kid" was also playing over there and would occasionally emit sounds of joy or stress as she played.  Lizzie turned to me and very loudly asked me why this person couldn't speak.  I think she was very confused to see an adult acting like that.

At this point I had to stop and think.  I was presented with a question that I wasn't sure how to answer.  I didn't want to offend this person's father who was standing right there and I wanted to explain it to Lizzie in a way that made sense.  So I told her that some people grow up differently and can't do things that other people can do even if they are big.  Then I pointed out that she may not be able to talk but she was having fun just like Lizzie was.  This was not a situation I had anticipated nor something I had thought about would you explain it to your 3 1/2 year old?


The Olsons said...


I think you handled it very well. Our kids are naturally curious and you framed it in a very positive way. As Hannah asks similar questions, I will use this way to answer her.

DBL-LV said...

i agree. that was a perfect explanantion. since i work in a nursing home and the twins go to day care they are exposed to "different" situations during our intergenerational programs. they are learning about diabilities but to them they see no difference.