Whoever would have thought of McD's play place as being a place to learn some interesting lessons? NOT ME.
LESSON ONE: Age Appropriate Description of Scars And Surgery
Lis went with me to the office at 7:30 this morning. She held on until 10:45, when that feral toddler look came into her eyes, and we quickly made our exit, ending her time as the Office Baby on a high note. As a reward, I took her to McD's, where she has never ben before. I got her a happy meal; she ate the apple slices, and looked at the french fries. She held one out to me and asked, "Stick? Stick?" She thought I was trying to feed her tree bark. She did not eat the french fries or the chicken nuggets.
I turned her loose into the play place area, and she went wild. She was DELIGHTED. Two little girls, obviously sisters, who were about five and ten, began playing with her. The three of them laughed and giggled and climbed and slid, and generally had a blast.
When Lis came up to me in between frolics and gave me a hug, the girls asked me about her scar. "What's that?" asked the little one. "How'd it happen?" asked the older one.
I was momentarily stunned. For the most part, people never ask about her scar anymore, because you can't see it. Her hair is long and curly, and it covers the scar. Whenever anyone did ask me about the scar, it was always adults, and obviously, you give a different answer to adults than you would to kids.
"Um. When she was a little baby, she had a problem with her head. The doctors fixed it, and that mark is where they fixed it." The five year old nodded like of course, and ran off with Lis. The ten year old stayed for moment longer. "What was wrong?" she asked. Oh God, how do I explain this without being graphic or scary? "Well..." I paused as I tried to translate. "When she was a baby, her head wasn't growing right. So that's why the doctors had to fix it."
The girl smiled. "Doctors are great. My mom's a nurse. She helps fix people, too." I nodded. "Yes. We loved all of Lis's nurses. They helped us so much." The girl ran off to join Lis and her sister.
After a few minutes, the mother came over. "Sorry about that," she said. I shrugged. "Kids are curious. I would rather they ask and get an answer." She smiled. "I'm a nurse at Riley. I recognize the scar your daughter has, so I really appreciate you telling them, but not telling them the gory details, you know?"
Whew. Okay. I guess I took the right track on that one. We chatted for a few more minutes until...
LESSON 2: My Daughter Is Not A Pushover
A six year old boy was playing on the play place with all the other kids. Out of the blue, he walked up to Lis and shoved her to ground.
Obviously I was on my feet in record time and was going to intervene. In the time it took me to stand up and start forward, Lis stood up, walked up to him, and SHOVED him as hard as she could. He stumbled backward, a surprised look on his face, and almost fell over.
Lis walked off, and if she had known the motion, I am pretty sure she would have dusted her hands off, like mission accomplished.