Two years ago, after it was mentioned that the doctors suspected that our daughter had a form of dwarfism, I remember thinking “We got this. She’s just going to be smaller.”
Looking back, I was both right and wrong in so many ways. Sure she is smaller, she has the same intellectual ability as her peers, but that’s not quite all that we are dealing with while loving a little person. It’s also health concerns and not reaching the steps on the stairs; it’s slower physical milestones and things she will do completely different than her average height siblings. And it’s immeasurable joy … just like our big kids.
A lot of people ask what it’s like having a daughter who is a little person so I thought I would highlight the good, the bad, and the ugly for y’all.
Sutton is a little person living in a BIG world. It sounds cliche but watching her toddle around the last couples months, it could not be more clear to me. Typical two year olds are walking steps like a champ at this point. Sutton does walk but with much more effort (and anxiety from me). You see, the steps are the length of her whole leg. Yes, you read that right. Imagine how much more effort it would be to walk up and down steps if it was the length of your legs. Yikes! The good news in this is that she doesn’t know any different so it is just another day in Sutton’s life.
Little things, such as potty training, bring a whole new set of obstacles. Finding a potty that she can comfortably reach, finding underwear tiny enough for her, and wondering how she will reach the sink to wash her hands are all a challenge in this next phase of life. It makes finding her independence that she is craving a little harder to obtain. Thoughts of her going to real, big kid school? Paralyzing. Who will help her? Will she get trampled by average height kids? Will she be bullied and made fun of?
This is one of the hardest to talk about, probably because it is completely out of my control. The sad truth is that the world we live in puts a lot of emphasis on size and looks. People say the most hateful things without even batting their eyes. They’re so quick to point out every single flaw they see, and it can be so hurtful. Being different brings so many stares and unwelcome comments. The word midget is considered highly offensive and derogatory in the world of little people. It’s just not something that you say. People don’t always realize this either. I can’t say that I completely agree with or understand this, but you should always call a person by their name and not what they look like or what size they are.
Joy. Radiating joy. Sutton is easily one of the happiest toddlers I have ever met. She has a radiance about her and people flock to her like moths to a flame. I don’t know what it is, but God knew what he was doing when he gave her personality to her. She has THE BEST sense of humor at just two years old. She loves passionately without second thought. She’s extremely people oriented and loves to go, go, go and talk to as many people as she can. When you’re around her, you just don’t want to leave. Kids follow her around like she has a treasure map, and they’re just along for the hunt. She teaches us kindness and forgiveness without even realizing it.