I am so excited you are back this week!
If you missed my post last week, I explained the genetic and physical differences of having dwarfism (check it out here). Today, I want to talk about the unique circumstances Andrew and I face in our daily life.
Most people, from strangers to even friends and family, are curious about how we drive, adapt our apartment, and go about everyday tasks. I think we are all born with a natural curiosity about the world and others around us. I know I am!
I don’t think curiosity about others is wrong- I think it is actually a good thing. The more we understand each other and our similarities and differences, the more we break down the walls of racism and discrimination. Our differences lose their prominence and we see each other as individuals.
Some of the most hurtful ways people satisfy their curiosity are when they stare, take pictures, or call us derogatory names.
Thankfully, Andrew and I have never faced any bullying in school or in the work place. We have been blessed with great environments to thrive in. However, I know this isn’t the case for everyone living with dwarfism. For us, we face most of the negative opposition while we are out in public.
Asking questions and starting conversations are some of the best ways that people can fulfill their curiosity!
One day, I was out to lunch with a girlfriend and a little boy was staring. I could tell his mother was trying to explain to him what was different about me. She surprised me when she brought him to our table and said, “Hey, I’m sorry to interrupt but my son has never met a person of your stature before and I explained to him that you are a little person. Would you mind if he asked you a question quick?” I was so grateful this mother was not hushing her child but teaching him to confront his curiosity head on. I said, “Sure!” He wanted to know how old I was and once he figured out I was 24, he wondered how I could drive. We had a great discussion and they went back to their table.
That interaction will always stay with me because I loved how the mother was showing her son it was okay to ask questions and how to explore it with love!
I want my Instagram and blog to be places to see into our daily life and understand more about people living with dwarfism.
I explained last week we were both born into families of average sized parents and siblings. Growing up, we had to learn how to adapt to the average sized world we were living in. Both of our parents bought LOTS of step stools and placed them in every room in the house. We were both very active kids- involved in all the sports and activities our siblings participated in. Some things were a little more difficult to do, like finding a bike that would fit or finding a violin small enough for my arms, but with a little extra research, all of those barriers were removed.
We both loved school and were blessed to go to schools that were very accommodating! In elementary school, our parents met with our teachers before the start of year to go over the adaptations we needed. Some of these adaptations included step stools throughout the room and under our desks, smaller desks, and lowered hooks in cubbies and lockers.
A lot of people wonder how we drive. In high school, I started driving with my dad when I turned 15 and got my license when I was 16. My parents did some research and found pedal extenders on the Little People of America website. Pedal extenders are common adaptations for people that are shorter statured. They clamp onto the regular pedal and extend to the height needed.
This was the only aid I needed to adjust the car to fit my needs! The pedal extenders are great because they work on almost every car and in about 10 mins, with a few basic tools, you can install them and you are ready to go! Andrew and I have even enjoyed them on rental cars while we’ve traveled!
If you want more information on the pedal extenders here is the website where we bought them!
After we graduated from High School, Andrew and I both went to college. We both moved away from our parents and lived in the dorms and then in apartments of our own with friends. Adapting those apartments was pretty easy. The only adaptation we really needed again was a few step stools scattered in the bathroom and kitchen.
One day, when we buy our own house, we will be able to make more specific adaptations to fit our normal lifestyle but right now we love being newlyweds in our first apartment together!
Thank you so much for joining me this week and again if you have any questions please email me or leave a comment below! Feel free to share this with your friends who may not understand dwarfism or are just “curious”!