Sunday, November 23, 2008

Learning to Lighten Up...

B takes a tumbling class every Friday. She isn't exactly at the tumbling stage right now, more like the jumping on the trampoline and doing somersaults kind of stage.

When she first started, we met one of her teachers, Teacher Frank (not his real name). Once he met her, he started calling her "Peanut Butter and Bella". At first, she couldn't even look at him. And she would whisper to me, "Why does he say that? Doesn't he know I'm ALLERGIC?!"

And she refused to have him teach her. So she joined another class with kids MUCH older than her just so she wouldn't have to be around him. Poor guy - he had no idea why she didn't like him. So he would keep trying, and he kept opening with "Hi Peanut Butter and Bella!". And you know what he would hear?

Crickets. Accompanied by a cold stare. After class, I tried to tell her that he didn't mean any harm, that peanut butter wasn't a bad word for everyone, and that it shouldn't actually be for her either. It's just the name of a food. And the name can't hurt her. And after that, it became a game for us. Any time he said it, she would look at me and laugh, like "what is it with this crazy guy?"

After a few classes, I took him aside quietly and told him why this particular phrase might bother her. And he was mortified!

Now he calls her Bella Bean. And she loves him. But guess what she started asking me?

Yup - "Why doesn't he call me Peanut Butter and Bella anymore?"

Kids. You can't win.

What's the point of this story? I don't know exactly. That it's one step towards B living with her allergy and not taking people who don't exactly get it personally?

Or maybe it's just a story about tumbling class. Maybe that's enough too.

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