Esther asked the following in yesterday's comments:
"do you ever hear smirky comments behind your back as to why one of the girlies wears pull-ups? i mean, i know that they are little girls but still, you can tell, i am sure, by the way they talk and behave that they are older...i hope you don't get those negative remarks because noone can know your situation...so just wondering, if you don't mind."
The answer is no.* No one that I can think of has ever asked me why Anna is wearing a pull-up at an age when she shouldn't be wearing a pull-up. But there are probably a few reasons for that. 90% of the time, you can't obviously see that she's wearing one. For her weekly gymnastics class, she usually wears shorts with her leotard. And for dance, she wears tights. In addition, she's a tiny peanut. She's about the size of a three year old and there are some three year olds who are still potty training.
That being said, there have been a few comments that were not intended to be cruel but sort of stung anyway. Mostly when strangers assume that she is a three year old who can't do all the dance steps or turn cartwheels or run as fast as the other kids because she is younger or not coordinated. During those moments, I have shared that she has spina bifida and that we are "lucky" that she can even walk, never mind participate in a physical activity. I speak politely because there has never been any rudeness.
*Now, Grammy has had one of those negative experiences, which she shared in the comments. That was also the same mom who said that it was IMPOSSIBLE to have identical triplets. And our gym, which has produced state champions, wasn't good enough for her daughter.
I don't share everything about Anna here. Some aspects of her life need to remain private. I share what I share with the hopes of educating others and because this is her life and our family. She shouldn't ever be embarrassed that she was born this way. Having Anna has taught me some important life lessons. I will never judge an older child wearing a pull-up for one. I will never wonder or question why a child isn't talking, running, playing, socializing, etc. like they are "supposed to be."
Everyone is good at something. Not everyone is going to be a straight A student. Not everyone is going to graduate from college. Not everyone is going to be a doctor or a lawyer or a prima ballerina. I want to support my kids and help them find something that they are good at and makes them happy. Anna is going to be a superstar. She is already a superstar.
When we discovered that Anna had spina bifida, I didn't immediately lament the loss of the life I thought my baby would have. Maybe it was because I didn't even know that I was having her and all of a sudden, we were surprised with "you are pregnant with triplets and one has spina bifida and we actually didn't even know if she had a bladder until a few minutes ago." I simply wanted my baby to have life.
Five years later and that life is a bit more complicated now. Rich and I fear that other kids will make fun of Anna. We've had such a great experience so far with the public school system. There are other children with special needs, both physical and learning, and there is even another child with spina bifida who is in a wheelchair. I know that at this young age, kids don't see differences yet. Call me overly optimistic but I have dreams that this generation will be different.