'Mommy, That Little Boy Has a Beard!'


I’ve always been pretty short for my age. It’s partly to do with my disability (something about limbs, growth and mobility). Over the years, especially in adulthood, it’s resulted in quite a few funny and strange encounters with people.

For the record, I have no problem with people asking me things related to my disability or having people look at me. Little kids seem to do it a lot. It can be a little odd some times, but mostly it’s just funny.

In my mid-teens, I decided to grow a beard. Guys in my classes were doing it, and I kind of wanted to fit in a bit and look “cool.” My mother was never too keen on it. Looking back, it’s funny to think, with all the issues and differences associated with being disabled, I still managed to do something in my teens that one of my parents wasn’t exactly impressed with.

Anyway, one day I was walking around town, running some errands, when I walked by a little boy and his mother. As I walked past, I heard the boy turn to his mother and say, “Mommy, that little boy has a beard!” When I was out of earshot, I laughed out loud. I could’ve been embarrassed, but 15 years old, 4-foot-9 and hairy is a pretty weird combination, so I couldn’t fault the kid. Still a funny story.

These days, I’m a little taller and a lot less bearded, but that doesn’t stop the looks (even more so from kids) or the odd question. Recently, I was actually asked by a guy if I was a “giant dwarf.”

Part of me was kind of offended, but then I realized what he called me made absolutely no sense. I just said no and changed the subject. Later on, I had a good laugh about it.

I know there are a lot of parents and individuals in the disability community who don’t like being asked questions and who are uncomfortable with stares, and that’s totally OK, but these stories have kind of shown me that most people are less rude and more curious or weird. Rather than being upset, I choose to indulge the former and ignore the latter.

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