Rachel has become aware of her hands this summer. Obviously, she's known about them since infancy but now she understands that her hands aren't like everyone else's. She has realized that she is different.
A few weeks later, Rachel and I were sitting in a summer class. The teacher was distracted and there were too many kids and not enough adults and even Rachel looked a little daunted by the crowd. A 4 year old boy at our table suddenly shouted "Hey! She has a little hand!" Rachel clung to my arm. I stepped in and told the boy the usual yes-she-does-she-was-born-that-way story. But he wouldn't let it drop. The kid kept trying to grab Rachel's hand, stared at her, asked endless questions. I noticed that Rachel was hiding her hand, pulling it behind her back or wrapping it up in her dress. My heart sank. Rachel looked up at me and her eyes were full of tears. I turned to the kid, moved so my face was at his level and firmly told him that it was NOT nice to stare or touch people and that I did not want to hear him say anything else about Rachel's hand. He shut up. After class Rachel and I talked. She thought "that boy" was mean. I tried to explain that he was just curious, but he had bad manners and was really annoying. That was not a good day.
At China Camp Rachel met a little boy with a hand very much like hers. She was SO excited! She ran up to him at the hotel pool, held out her hands, and shouted "You have hand like me! Same!" She talked about that boy for days, always with a tone of awe. I realized that although I know there are lots of people with hand differences, she didn't know. She just thought she was alone with her hand. Meeting that other child made her understand that she's not the only one and that was a big deal to her. She's hold up her hands and say "I have one big hand and one little hand. Just like that boy." That was a really good day.
Last week we were on a playground when some kids came over. One little girl noticed Rachel's hand. Rachel just said "Yup. I got one big hand and one little hand. Let's swing!" And they did. That was a good day.