On Saturday night we were invited to a friend’s place for Singaporean Crab. (They’re our fancy friends. They also own two cars – both Volvos, and holiday in the penthouse suite of fancy resorts up north in Queensland. Fancy.)
We know these fancy friends because my friend and I both grew humans at the same time and were put in the same mother’s group, which I was scared of and ran away from, and now we have our own mother’s group, an exclusive club of 4 mothers, 4 bubbas and a lot of takeaway coffee.
The kids all kick around together, stealing each other’s food, failing at the concept of ‘sharing’ and weeing in public the second we take their nappies off. They’re all about a week apart, so tend to band together for activities like teething, tantrums and stage 5 clinging.
They’re just regular kids. Some have more teeth than others (Q has lapped her friends in that department, recording a whopping 16 chompers by 12 months of age), everyone has more hair than Q, they’re just about even in height and weight and it just so happens that W was also born with achondroplasia, more commonly known as dwarfism.
The only difference between W and his mates is the size of their heads. Other than that, they’re pretty much the same.
I am pleased to report that just like Q, W whinges, yells at his mother and also manages the sneaky wee out the side of his nappy.
Crab night had been planned around the return of W and his parents from their first family holiday – the penthouse resort deal I referred to earlier.
Two weeks of sun, sand, surf and a salt-rimmed margarita.
I have envy.
Room service, fresh towels everyday, in-house movies…bliss.
But the absolute best thing about staying in a fancy hotel has got to be the breakfast buffet.
Don’t pretend you don’t like it.
What’s not to like? They offer everything.
19 different cereals, (although in my opinion that’s a pathetic choice as Weetbix is cheap and you can generally afford that in your real life). No, smart buffet eaters head for the boutique pastries, the freshly made organic poached eggs, the expensive, seasonal fruit artfully cut and arranged. You can get another cup of coffee if yours goes cold before it’s finished and try everyone of the juices.
Again I say, what’s not to love about a buffet?
So there they are in the buffet dining room, W in his mother’s lap while his dad finished off his stack of made-to-order pancakes and his mum sipped on her second skim latte.
Enjoying each other’s company, the weather and the ambience, until my friend became aware of the woman sitting behind her.
‘What’s wrong with that kid? His head is huge. Look at it. It’s massive. There’s something really wrong with him. Seriously, it’s making me sick just to look at him.’
On and on and on she went until my friend couldn’t even enjoy her coffee any longer, which is crime enough in itself if you ask me, as we all know how dear a coffee is to a young mum.
My friend sat there, uncomfortable and fuming, waiting till her husband (who couldn’t hear the nasty woman) had finished his pancakes so they could leave. When he had, he picked up W and headed out of the restaurant. My friend followed behind, but she paused at the table of the offending woman and said;
‘My son’s life will only be made difficult by people like you and your intolerance,’ and then she continued on her way.
And to her I say ‘bravo, my friend, bravo. You handled that situation with dignity, aplomb and far more respect than that woman showed your young family.
I’d like to think that if I’d heard that woman’s diatribe, I’d have handled things with as much finesse.
There are tough times ahead for all our kids, when they get picked on for the name their parents chose, the colour of their hair, or whether or not they’re any good at marbles. Remember those times you were acutely aware of not quite fitting in, of not quite getting it right, of having to take your turn to be the ‘hate sponge.’
And that’s without some ninny being deliberately cruel to you in public.
There’s a fantastic quote by Alvin Prince that my mum has always had stuck to the wall above her desk:
Parents need to fill a child's bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can't poke enough holes to drain it dry.
I reckon with a mum like my friend, W is going to be just fine.