Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Contrary To The Saying, Ignorance Is NOT Bliss...

At least not for the people who have to deal with your ignorance.

Now, I don't often talk of the more negative aspects of life. Because one day, Reese may read this and since several of those negative things revolve around her...well, yeah. Yes, Reese throws fits. Yes, she disobeys. Yes, there are days where I would love for her to just be quiet. But I love her. And she's 4. Whoever said there were terrible twos, never saw four year olds.

But anyway.

So, we went to visit my nephew, Jonathan, in the hospital this evening and took Reese with us. And no, this is not Arkansas Children's Hospital. We were in the room with my sister and her husband and, of course, Jonathan. Mom was holding Reese because Reese isn't fond of hospitals, nor my sister's husband, for whatever reason. A nurse walks in to check on Jonathan and she sees Reese and says:

"Hi, honey. What happened to your face?"

And I just had a moment of 'oh no you didn't'. Mom explained it was a birthmark, and that Reese had applied base over it (more on that momentarily). And the nurse goes:

"Oh, I thought it was a burn."

Okay. This was an RN. An RN. And she can't tell the difference between a burn and a birthmark? Albeit her birthmark is not as dark as it once was, and it was covered with make up, but burns have a certain look to them. And sunburns don't get that slight purple-ish tinge to them. They are pink, even the darkest sunburns are pink-ish. Not purple-ish. Learn your Crayola box.

My sister was shocked, and commented as much after the nurse left. I mean, really. One, it was completely tactless, and two, hello, you're a medical professional! Some people just do not think before they speak.

And to compound things, Reese is at an age where, while many things may go over her head, those such things do not. She's well aware of her birthmark, comments on how it's on a different side in pictures (have you tried explaining that to a 4 year old? The physics of's not easy and I still haven't got her convinced her birthmark hasn't jumped sides at one point or another), and she always wants to wear our mother's make up. Or mine, when I rarely offer (big treat to get to use Sissy's foundation). She wants base, eyeliner, lipstick, the whole she-bang. And she's good at it. Applies it herself, which she loves to do. Mom will smooth out the foundation some if needed, if we're going somewhere, but when we're just staying home, we let Reese do all of it. If it's a bit uneven, well, hey, we're at home. She likes the base because it covers up her birthmark, not completely, but it does lighten it. And the child is excellent at applying eyeliner. For no more depth perception than she has, and 4 year old coordination, it's amazing. Mom has said Reese applies eyeliner better than she does.

But Reese is 4, and at that stage where she is getting self-conscious about herself, about her difference. And she's also hard-headed and stubborn, so nothing we can say will sway her. Every time she complains of her birthmark, I tell her she's beautiful, it's beautiful. And she won't answer, or denies it. She wants it gone. And if I could make it gone, I would, for her. She's beautiful with it, I know that. But she has to discover that for herself. All I know of to do is keep telling her she's beautiful, with make up, without it, before laser treatments, after. All the time. Because she is a gorgeous little girl. But our human urge for "perfection", to point out "differences", makes it difficult for her to believe me. One day, I hope she'll have the self-confidence I've seen her with, to deal with human ignorance. And I know she will, because she's a strong little bugger.

I just hope she doesn't often have to deal with ignorance from people who are supposed to be educated. That's ridiculous. A pediatric nurse who would say something like that. Unbelievable. Yet, it happened.

And I know, like many relatives of children with obvious special needs- birthmarks, limb differences, scarring, etc.- I hate those words: "what happened to so-and-so?". From small children who are genuinely curious, I don't mind it. They get an answer and go on with life like there was no difference. When people tactfully ask me, or my mother, what happened, out of an urge for more knowledge, where Reese can't hear them, I respect that. That is the way to go about it if an adult is to ask. Tactfully. Without making it seem like a direct hit to the child's ego.

Why can't people understand that small children understand everything, whether we think they do or not? They live in this world too, not separate from it just because they're little.

End of Rant.


Charlotte said...

Welcome to the World Monica ! People, even RN's say dumb things.

Luckily Reese has many people in her life who love her and are helping her to see her true beauty.

And besides that, she really is beautiful ! I will have to send you this one pic. I took of her, it takes my breathe away !


Cheryl D. said...

Thank you for expressing this SO eloquently...I am just glad that nurse didn't have to take on you and Michelle out in the hall :-)! I could feel the temperature change in the room when she said that...

Monica said...


I am well-aware of the world and its idiocies, having dealt with them a lot on my own before and after Reese.

I just wish people in general would think before they speak, especially to children.

She is an absolutely gorgeous child and anyone who fails to see that is just a fool themselves.

I'd love to see that picture, please send it to me.

Lisa Crook said...

This is Lisa Crook and yes I can believe it!! I know people are curious, but please have some manners. I always taught my kids not to stare or ask questions. Reese is a very beautiful little girl. Her eyes just light up and her beauty shines through when you meet her. I love looking at the pictures you take and post. She is very photogenic. God has given her this testimony and he wants her to use it. I remind Lauren that all the time. Down the road she will be able to use what she has been through to help someone. I truly believe that! I think Reese is beautiful. She might consider being a Mary Kay consultant with her love for make-up and technique. lol I will share with you some make-up Lauren used (I think called Derm-a-blend). We bought it at Dillards. The first base you apply covers everything, even tattoos. You can swim in it and it will not come off. Hard to believe at such a young age that Reese feels uncomfortable. She is so beautiful! She is a God given miracle to your family. God has a purpose and plan for her life. Seek God and always follow Him.


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