I realize that we are interesting. Well, at least that's my best guess as to why people would stare at us all the time. As I told John today while we were enjoying a great day at the park, we are the circus freaks. We are the family with the little girl in the wheelchair. We get glances, looks, stares. Even after all this time, it's still unnerving, like you have indeed forgotten to put on pants. Most of the time, the stares at Layla are met with a kind smile or gentle touch. And we understand that children will stare; it's just their nature. We're perfectly ok with that (to a point because there are parents out there totally oblivious to their childrens' actions; don't be that parent!). Children are so honest, they approach Layla and ask questions. Unlike adults, who just prefer to gawk with no regard to how rude they are being.
Case in point: an obnoxious "lady" ( I so want to use many other ugly words for her) that we enountered tonight while going out to dinner. We were coming into the restaurant as she was walking out with her family. She was probably old enough to be Layla's grandmother, thus old enough to know better. However, upon her eyes seeing Layla, she seemed to lose all sense of class and politeness because she just stared at Layla. And I mean stared. She stared at her so long, while moseying out the door, that John and I both noticed and stared back at her. We both caught her eye as she was passing Layla and made eye contact with her. I hope she was so ashamed of herself. And I so wish I would have said something. I don't know what, but I need to come up with something witty and sarcastic to put people in their place at moments like that. I hesitated to say anything because I didn't want to embarass her in front of her family. But, then again, it was she who was making us feel like we had a child with three heads and 86 eyes. Don't I have the right to put her in her place?
Most of the time, moments like this sting, but I usually just let them roll off my back. But she really, really bugged me. I'm getting tired of it. Layla is a beautiful, precious little girl and should be treated as such. I know people wonder what is wrong with her. I wonder the same thing when I see children like Layla, except now I usually ask. I'm not sure I would have done that before having Layla, but I certainly would not have stared.
I will work on coming up with something for us to say to those low-lifes who choose to stare at Layla rather than asking about her or telling us how beautiful she is. I may just go with John's idea: tell people she's the next Stephen Hawking and is working on completing her thesis on cold fusion. Oh, the irony.