When she asked me that, I didn't know what to say at first. It's not like it was going to be a secret, but at the same time, I wondered, do all these students need to know, especially those that will only have contact with her for a few months? I asked J when I got home, and he said, "of course she can tell them- it's not a secret." I couldn't really say why I still hesitated, but I did wait a few days before going back and telling her that she could go ahead and mention it to the student staff. Then she asked me to repeat again the name of her condition, and I told her, but I said that all she needed to mention to the other staff is that Belalu has a bone condition that restricts the growth of her arms and legs. I also emphasized that at this time her condition would not affect her mobility in the classroom or call for special treatment. Then she said something that surprised me- the students had already noticed that her arms were short. I think I've mentioned here before how I'm so used to her proportions, that they don't seem unusual to me. If you work with children all day, however, differences are more obvious. When she told me that, I realized that I had been hesitating to give her the go-ahead, because deep-down I was thinking that if they didn't know she had a condition, they wouldn't notice she was different. Ridiculous, I know.
Essie and Belalu started back a daycare this Tuesday, and last weekend I decided to email the program director, who is also someone I interact with on campus for other things, and tell her about Belau's condition. She will likely be here through preschool, so I figured the sooner they knew, the better prepared they could be. I cc-ed the infant room teacher and attached a .pdf file of "It's a Whole New View," the parents' guide from the Little People of America's website. She responded that she didn't know about Belalu's diagnosis, and has not worked with that condition in the past, so "we can learn together." She also thanked me for sharing the guide, because it answered a lot of questions. She closed the email telling me that Belalu will surely thrive in such a great family and with the teachers there. Once in a while I still picture them all in a staff meeting, being "updated" on her condition, but I just have to let it go. Yes, people will talk about her. However, with her personality, I doubt that they will linger long on her condition. There'll just be too much other great stuff to say.