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Parents, It's OK to Let Your Kids Ask About My Prosthetic Leg

I am in a store, any store. A child sees my leg and is interested. After all, I am inviting curiosity by wearing shorts. Out of the corner of my eye, I watch to see what happens while I shop. The child points, the mother says, “Don’t do that! It’s rude!” But she doesn’t explain. She doesn’t explain my leg to the child or why it is rude to point.

The child is still asking her about my leg and she is getting angrier. He still doesn’t understand why she is so angry. He is just being curious. She yanks at his arm to pull him away. To save his arm from further damage, I walk toward the little boy and I explain:

“When I was born, I didn’t get two legs like you. Mine were different and the doctors had to fix one so that I could have a leg like this.” I point to my prosthesis. “The great part about it is that this leg is special, it has a computer inside.” I take the battery out and show them that the battery is just like one that operates their toys, cameras, computers at home etc.

They love it. They think that is the coolest part. They usually want one just like it. I explain to them first that it doesn’t hurt and that I can do things just like them, but I may have to do them a little differently. I tell them that I snow ski, but I have to do it on one leg with these little skis that are on crutches. I tell them that I scuba dive, I just do it without my leg on. I tell them that without the computer, I might not be able to ride a bicycle as well, so this makes my life a lot better.

That is about as long as a 6-year-old attention span lasts, but they have had an explanation. Now they know that people can be different, but different can also be a good thing.

This story originally appeared on Deb’s blog.