small is good//petite and precious
By @meriahnichols on August 15, 2011
The lady bagging my groceries at Trader Joe's just could not get over how tiny Moxie is.
"She's 15 months?"
- I smiled, nodded.
"When's her birthday?" (yeah, she's thinking somehow I - who pushed this child out WITHOUT DRUGS somehow got it wrong, huh - fat chance, lady)
- May. 7th.
"Wow, so she's really 15 months," she pursed her lips, tilted her head, trying to figure it out.
This tiny person. Her age. This tiny person. Her age. TINY. PERSON. Her age.
I just stood there and smiled. Offered absolutely no explanation to ease the curiosity of that woman - or any other that I encounter. It happens with increasing regularity, that look of puzzlement. The tilt of the head, the scrunching of the eyes, trying to make sense of the 1+1 that I am telling them.
This child is 15 months old. She might look like she's 9 months, but no. She's 15.
Sometimes I might join in - if I feel like it, if I can hear them well enough, if I have time:
"She's 15 months?"
- I smile, nod
"Gosh, she's tiny!"
- YEAH, isn't she?! Isn't that AWESOME!
- I am so happy for her, getting to be the petite one - I always wanted to look up at a boy, not down
I say nothing about Down syndrome. I never do.
I am far more comfortable with their ambiguity, with their puzzlement, curiosity and their not knowing than I am with giving them a box in which to place my daughter.
This is the thing about boxes: they are so easy to construct and so hard to break out of. I'd just as soon stay well away from them. Besides, I get annoyed with "knowing" nods that people give as soon as you toss them fodder to work with. Because they think they have a grasp on something that really, they know nothing about.
Like after Moxie was born and she went from a plumply round baby weighing in at 8.8 to a wrinkled, shriveled starving newborn at 6.9. She lost almost TWO WHOLE POUNDS. Person after person - from the midwife to TWO La Leche League leaders heard "Down syndrome" and nodded that knowing nod, attributed her slowly shriveling self to a "weak latch" - which she never had.
And what was really happening? A piece of placenta was rotting inside of me, inhibiting milk production.
Moxie's small for her age and what of it? Do I need to tell people that she's small because she's got an extra chromosome locked in every single cell in her (tiny) body? And so saying, they'll lock in on her almond-shaped big blue eyes and nod their knowing nods? Slake their gazes over her expressions and "see" delay when only a moment before it was delightful wonder?
I don't think so.
I don't think they need to know.
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