Almost hysterical, he was taking great gasping breaths as he told me.
My son, for the first time, was exposed to the preconceptions surrounding disabled people. And it fractured my heart a little.
In his mind “Dada is stronger than the Hulk”, and he couldn’t understand why someone would say his Dad was anything less than totally awesome.
A little boy saying something mean to my son, allowed me to explain how some people, unfortunately, think negatively about the disabled.
“But why Mama, why do people think those things?”
Good question baby.
The kid actually articulated what a lot of adults also seem to think – disabled people are incapable of looking after themselves, let alone their children.
Disabled people not only have their own autonomy and competence, but also, their parenting capability questioned more frequently than able-bodied people.
“Is he okay to look after the kids?” a woman once asked me right in front of my husband – the children’s father!
When managing his daughter’s epic toddler tantrum, an old lady tried to lift her from his arms, assuming she was more proficient at settling a screaming child than a guy in a wheelchair.
Others have asked me “Is that safe?” motioning to my son sitting on Kev’s lap as he wheels along the footpath.