It’s no secret kids can inadvertently be quite hysterical, especially when it comes to non-mainstream people. Old people, people of different nationalities, even if someone’s dressed a bit differently, kids always seem to put their foot in their mouths. But being that they’re so cute, they get off scott-free and rightfully so. They’re still learning the protocols of life.
And when it comes to people disabilities, kids can be downright comedians, their innocent questions providing excellent comic relief. Being the “wheelchair lady” for the past 20 years has definitely put me in some amusing situations when it comes to kidlets. If only I was quick enough to record what these kids have said to me; I’d be a millionaire.
The next best thing is relaying the best of the best crazy things they’ve said. From the cloyingly sweet to the lovingly outrageous, behold the crazy things that can come out of kids’ mouths.
“Were you born in your wheelchair?”
This question is definitely one that comes from the kids of the world and nobody else, “Were you born in your wheelchair?” And they mean this literally, metal glued to my butt as I came out at my mom’s stomach and all (thank god for my poor mother’s sake I was not, LOL).
“How do you sleep?”
This is another adorably naive question kids have asked me. Everybody wants to know what goes on behind closed doors and when it comes to kids who are able-bodied, this is one of the big ones. “How do you sleep?” they ask, and I always answer the same thing, “Why very soundly of course.” I usually follow that up with, “My wheelchair is not glued to my butt” to drive home the fact we can get out wheelchairs, with a little assistance of course.
“You must have lots of fun in that thing!”
Well, they’re not too far off on that one. Fun can be had when you’re going 6 miles an hour zooming on a beautiful trail, but overall– not so much. When they point with awe at my powerchair, it’s only because they haven’t seen one before or still like to look at it as a toy. When I can, I try to explain the kids how wrong they are, despite being constantly referred to as a go-kart, a zoom-zoom machine, a golf cart, a stroller, oy vey.
“You can’t get married.”
It’s always highly amusing when a kid makes a huge blanket statement about my personal life. Most kids don’t believe someone in a wheelchair can have a normal life, let alone get married. When I used to give disability sensitivity speeches at elementary schools, kids would always say this to me, “You know, you can’t get married” as a way to reassure me, just in case I have any grand designs. Who do they think they are? A pessimistic psychic?
“You can’t go up those.” (pointing to stairs)
My youngest niece is 4-years-old and everytime we hang out she likes to point out things I can’t do. She sees a staircase and if I’m nearby, she’ll point at them and say, “You can’t go up those you know.” I believe it’s her way of making sense of the world. If it was an adult I’d be all like, “What’s wrong with you?” but hey, this is what toddlers do.
”I wish I was in a wheelchair.”
Oh no, kiddo. You definitely don’t. The good parking spots are so not worth it. Heh. Whenever kids say, “I wish I was in a wheelchair,” I like to point out right away all the things they wouldn’t be able to do anymore if they did – riding their bikes, rollerblading, going on trampolines. That usually changes their mind real quick.
“Are you pretending?”
When I was at a comic book convention dressed up as She-Ra rolling around and having a great time, kids would always come up to me and ask the same thing, “Are you pretending?” They asked this because I look too pretty to be in a wheelchair. I always let them know that being in a wheelchair can happen to anyone. For reals.
Are your legs broken?”
Several years ago I was part of a haunted house around Halloween time. One of the fellow actors had a 5-year-old daughter and brought her to rehearsal. The first day she saw me, the first chance she got she came over and asked, “Are your legs broken? Is that while you’re in a wheelchair?” This was the only reason her mind could dream up. So freaking cute.
You gotta love those gosh darned kids, showing how brand-new shiny people look at the world. It may not always be that accurate, but that’s what we’re here for, to teach them otherwise and to show them that people who use wheelchairs can do a lot more than they’d ever expect.
Do you use a wheelchair? What crazy things have kids said to you?