Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Creepy Baby

I thought that perhaps we would have more time and yet, I am grateful that Ellie is still too young to understand.  To know that she was being teased.  All because she is different.

We were at one of our indoor playscapes burning off some excess toddler energy when two 5 year-old boys called my little girl "a creepy baby".  She was creepy because she was humming & waving her hands when she was happy and screaming & kicking her feet when she wasn't.  She was creepy because she was doing "weird things with her hands".  Those "weird things" were signs.  She was signing "my turn, help, please, sorry, and thank you" to the kids.  Obviously, I do not expect other kids to understand what Ellie was saying to them in her signing, but it still made my mama heart hurt a bit.

When she is excited, Ellie looks like she is conducting an orchestra!

One of the boys' older sister, told them that Ellie "isn't a creepy baby.  She is a cute baby".  Smart girl!  Of course the brother doing what all brothers love to do started goading her sister and saying that my Ellie is "creepy".  The boys would run because "oh no!  The creepy baby is headed over near the slide!".

I am grateful to the little girl who stuck up for Ellie and recognized her "cuteness".
I might be biased, but I think Ellie Bear is pretty darn cute too.

I graciously thanked the sister who defended my little darling and then I firmly told the two boys that Ellie isn't creepy, but rather she has trouble talking and hence the "weird hand movements".  I explained that it is really hard for her to talk so she uses her hands to speak.  The one boy seemed to understand, but it was still apparently really funny to called my little girl "creepy".  I do not think they were doing this to be cruel. It was more of pointing out that she was different in doing "weird things with her hands" and then it developed a game once the sister corrected them.

Ellie didn't understand.  She doesn't know what "creepy" means and she didn't recognize the they were talking about her.   She just wanted to run around and do what they were doing on the playscape.  However, that will not always be the case.  One day, she will understand and she will know that she is the point of ridicule.

Hmmm.  Me thinks The Bear is hitch hiking.

For the most part, I have learned that children can be very accepting and yet, there are those who taunt others Down syndrome or not.  I have seen kids tease for wearing glasses or even because they have dark arm hair.  I am not ignorant.  I do know that my daughter will be ridiculed during her life.   I was not prepared to experience it so soon.  I also know that I will not always be with her to defend her when she is called "creepy" or what other name someone decides to call her.  I only hope that I can teach my little Ellie and equip her with the right tools to be kind to others and to stand up for herself.



  1. I don't think there are words to ease the sting but I'm sorry..

  2. You seemed to have handled the situation very well especially praising the little girl who stood up for her. I don't think Awa Grandma would have been so nice to those two little punks.

  3. Maybe those boys will remember this when they are older and feel ashamed. Then maybe they'll teach their kids to be kinder. I hope their sister gave them a talking to when they left. Ellie is about as cute as cute gets, but I don't need to tell you that. :)

  4. Ellis is PERFECT excactly the way she is. I have a hard time confronting people, but I think in that instance I would have found the boy's parents and talked to them. I know that kids play games and likely didn't mean anything by it, however, it IS hurtful to hear those things - it would have hurt my feelings if kids said that to me! Good work, mama, with praising the girl who came to Ellie's defense. And I am right there with you - Elli is one darn cute little girl!

  5. Oh Anna, that hurt my heart to hear, I can't imagine how it hurt yours. Before I was in tune to kids with special needs, I'm not sure I would have recognized that a small child moving their hands a lot was signing either. I think it was a great point to make to the kids because now they may recognize signing by another child or ask their parents more about it.


  6. You did great. It would be hard to say anything at all I imagine. And the sister had it right. She is the cutest of cute babies.

  7. where was the mom here? I totally get that kids say stuff about other kids, and though mine are more sensitive now to others that we have Brooke and they recognize that everyone is different, there were a few instances when I had to pull Blake off to the side and explain about a special needs child he was staring at or not wanting to play with...and then he got it...even at the age of 4 or 5...and I know those moms were grateful that I didn't ignore my kid's behavior and instead set him straight and made sure there was no more staring or that any teasing started...

  8. You handled this really, really well. But I'm with Holly - where was their mom? It does still sting, even though the children don't mean to be mean - glad you taught them something in such a patient, caring way. :-)

  9. I don't know if this is the case, but I think the word creepy is something being used for everything in the Kindergarten set. My niece is 6 and just started first grade yesterday, but over the summer and before, I've heard her use the word creepy on everything, from her cousins to a food she didn't want to try.

  10. Oh, honey. It hurts just as much for Ellie as it did when it happened to my girl. This parenting gig is not for the faint of heart.

  11. When I saw the title of this post, I thought there would be something funny with like, a cartoon creepy baby, in like a clever meme horror movie spoof - not a beautiful child with special needs who happens to talk with her hands (heck, I talk with my hands like crazy...and it definitely is not sign language).
    Of course, as Kimberly above said - it is true that little kids do use the word creepy a lot - they aren't being nice per se - but they don't have any real clue what "creepy" means.
    By the way - your photos of your daughter are amazing. I wish I could capture that kind of beauty in a child.

    1. Thank you, Jennifer, for your very kind words! I completely agree with Kimberly as well. Creepy is a popular word among the 5-6 yo crowd. I am starting to let things roll off my back a bit more. I talk a lot with my hands too!


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