The Full Plate Family is currently parked in St. Louis enjoying the Little People of America (LPA) National Convention.
In case you didn’t know, we have a child who has Achondroplasia, the most common form of Dwarfism (the estimate is there are over 300 forms of Dwarfism). Bowen, who is 5, is a Little Person. We say “Bo has Dwarfism” or “Bo is a LP.” It would be acceptable to say “Bo is a Dwarf.” We choose not to because it conjures images of mythical creatures from Snow White in my mind and it labels him as a diagnosis first and a person last, but some people are fine with it. It is NEVER okay to say “Bo is a midget.” The m-word is tantamount to referring to a black person as the n-word. Please don’t do it.
That’s the end of my PSA.
We’re here to give Bo a community, but we’re also here to teach Bo about the beautiful differences within that community. You see, even though Bo has a visible difference, he also has a tendency to comment on the visible differences of others. “Hey, that guy SO FAT!” or “Hey, that man can’t walk!” Oh my gosh. Dude, YOU have Dwarfism! Stop making comments. Instead, we’re working on him seeing people as people first, the way we want him to be seen. We spoke endlessly about how when we came to the convention we would see people with all body types, people in wheelchairs, people on scooters and people who will be his height when he is an adult.
He walked into the Hyatt today and his jaw hit the floor. “Mom, all these people. They are little like ME.” Everything we said hadn’t quite sunk in. That’s why showing him is endlessly important.
He had a WONDERFUL day playing in the Kids Room.
I got to see Bill Klein, of The Little Couple, speak about his experience growing up with Dwarfism, the depression, the bullying and how, ultimately, he lives an amazing life. No, he didn’t have Jen, Will or Zoe with him (he joked about that at the beginning of the talk) and, no, Bo and Will look nothing alike. I met him briefly once and we joked about that. They are both Chinese. They both have Dwarfism. The physical similarities end there. People often confuse one person with Dwarfism for another. Again, people first, diagnoses second.
I also attended the Parent Meeting where we all sat in a circle and talked about our hopes and fears for our kids in the future. Turns out, I need my community too. It’s not easy parenting this size XL crew. It’s even harder when you worry about what lies ahead for some of them. I want Bo to have everything he wants in this world. I want his size to not factor in, or to hold him back. I think events like this will help him.
When the morning was done, he and I waited quietly at the front of the hotel for Joe and the kids to roll up in the giant van to pick us up. We talked about the day, his new friends and how much he liked coming here. Then I asked him what his FAVORITE part of the day was. “Um, I like watching the digger across the street.”
–FullPlateMom, who knows he’s ALL BOY.