…and other Frequently Asked Questions
Mommy, why does that little boy have a beard?
Why can’t I have a beard?
Mommy, why is that man short?
These are some of the questions I hear when I am out in public and there are little kids around. Sometimes kids will point at me and start asking questions. The parent usually shhh’s them and redirect their eyes and whisper “Stop that!” It doesn’t bother me if they are curious and they ask questions. I prefer it rather than hearing a parent scold their kid telling them “be quiet, don’t stare!” Most of the time if I spend a few minutes with them, the kids are cool with seeing someone that is fully grown at 3 feet tall. Except for the little boys – they get really upset because they are as tall as me and cannot grow a beard.
Kids often ask me “why are you short?” or “why do you look like that?” Depending on their age and maturity level depends on the answer. If a kid is around 3 – 6 years old I just politely tell them that I was made this way. There have been a few times when I’ll look at older kids with a shocked look and say “What! I am short? OH NO!” Of course, I only do that in good fun and make sure they know I am playing with them. They get a laugh from it and I can give them a more detailed answer.
The most memorable experience came happened in the summer of 2001. I was in Toronto, Ontario for a Little People of America conference. I was at the mall running around on my scooter. There was a lady who was from India walking with her 4-year-old son. She approached me and asked, “Can my son touch you?” She explained to me that in her culture that if he gets to lay his hands on someone who is different, then it would be an honor for them and will be blessed with good luck for the rest of their life. I agreed. It was years later when I realized I resembled a deity in their culture.
Another memorable moment I was at my nephew’s birthday party at Chucky Cheese. I was hanging out minding my own business and some guy walks up to me clutching his son’s arm. He pulled his son towards me and says “My son has something to say to you. As we were walking by he started laughing hysterically at you.” The father looked at his son and waited. The boy apologized. The father went on to explain to him that people are born differently and he shouldn’t laugh at people who are different. The father apologized to me and went back to the rest of his family.
More often than not I am at the mall riding around on my scooter. Most kids will start staring and pointing. Parents will begin to redirect their eyes or try to quiet them because they are embarrassed. As they are walking hurriedly away, I can hear the kid wanting to know “why does he have to use that?” referring to my scooter. At this moment the parent realizes that their kid isn’t concerned about me being short, but wants to know why I need a scooter. Their voice changes to a quizzitive tone and they are like “well, I don’t know, let’s go ask.” I’ll take the time to explain that I can walk but it’s hard to keep up with the fast walking people I am with at the mall (my wife and kids). Plus the mall is large and I walk slowly; it would take me forever to get through it. I love it when toddlers in their strollers look up and their pacifier falls out of their mouth with this jealous look as if they are wanting to say – “mommy, can I upgrade from stroller to that thing?”
I like it when parents take the time to bring their child over so they can ask questions. Or the parent can explain to their child that I am a little person. Or that I have to use a scooter to get around. Children should know that everyone is different and try to understand that is acceptable no matter what you look like on the outside. Children should get to know the person on the inside. I also hope when I talk to children that I inspire them to want to help other handicap people when they get older.
Talking to Adults about Dwarfism
It is easy to deal with kids and explaining to them why I am short. When it comes to adults and explaining to them about being a dwarf; it can get entertaining. Adults usually have more questions. Just the other day I was in my office and a co-worker sat at my desk for almost an hour and I explained to him about being a dwarf and all of the issues I have had in the past and what I know about the other forms of dwarfism.
I figure you probably have read several stories on my blog and have a list of questions of your own. Here are the frequently asked questions from other adults.
- Question: Do you have brothers or sisters?
- Answer: Yes, I have sisters
- Question: Are your mom, dad, and/or siblings short?
- Answer: Nope, just me and I am not short. I am a Diastrophic Dwarf.
- Question: Oh, is dwarf the correct term?
- Answer: The correct term is “Dwarf” or “a Little Person”.
- Question: (usually asked in a hushed voice) What about the M word?
- Answer: M word? Oh, you mean Midget? Not a good word. It is a dirty word.
- Question: Are those your kids or your wife’s from a previous marriage?
- Answer: Those are my kids; they act too much like me. I was there for the conception for each one.
- Recently, friends of ours were asked how me and my wife had sex. Our friend responded “I don’t know, I have never been around them while doing it. I am pretty sure they have it figured out.”
- Question: (If the adult does not see my kids the usually ask) Are your kids short like you?
- Answer: Nope, but there is a greater chance their offspring will be a dwarf.
- Question: Do you know this other dwarf (they provide a name)?
- Answer: What just because I am short I know all of the little people in the area? Yeah, I do know most of the little people in the area. I know who you are talking about.
- Question: I see a lot of little people who have proportionate arms and legs to their body, what type are they?
- Answer: Those are Achons. Achon is short for achondroplasia. Peter Dinklage (or Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones) is an Achon. Matt Roloff from Little People Big World is a Diastrophic Dwarf.
After the adults ask all of their questions I usually move on to the fun facts about dwarfism. I like talking about the Little People of America convention held every year around North America. Though I have only been to one convention. I will say it was an awesome experience to look at people at eye level. I also like to remind adults that little people are capable of living a full productive life. There are little people that are martial artists, lawyers, doctors, actors, teachers, students, writers, singers, artists, gamers, counselors, IT specialist, business owners, engineers, athletes, dancers, standup comedians, activist, and work for Presidents of the United States of America. We go to school, we get careers, we own our own homes, get married, and have families.
I personally enjoy being a little person. I get a kick out of the small things in life. For example those mini bottles of Coca-Cola, I love holding them up and asking “Soooo – is this what it’s like to be average height?” The look on their face is priceless. They do not know how to respond. I love making “small” talk and short jokes. My favorite thing to do is knock on the door to a co-workers office and announcing that I am representing the lollipop guild when they answer. I did this the other day and one guy began laughing hysterically and paused in horror and said; “oh no, I am going to hell for laughing aren’t I?”
Do you have any questions about dwarfism? Feel free to leave me questions in the comments section below or send me an email. You can also leave comments on any of the Karate Kickin Dwarf social media accounts. Are you a little person who has had similar experience and want to share? Feel free to share your story in the comments section below on any of the Karate Kickin Dwarf social media accounts.
For people who are interested in u dwarfism, here are a few links.
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