Sometimes albinism comes at you when you least expect it. I had been feeling very positive for the past few months since Emerson started walking and increasing his sign language. In fact, I had pretty much forgotten he had albinism - except for the occasional person who gives us long, dumb stares as we wrangle two kids with white hair in public. Even little Fionn is doing much better with focusing and smiling than we ever expected.
Then a few weeks ago we took the boys to the mall as a cure for cabin fever (mine and Emerson's). Emerson loves to climb up and down all the steps and play with the interactive video game that they project onto the floor to suck little kids (and their parents bearing wallets) into spending hours in the mall. After we had sufficiently worn him out, we were trying to make our way to the exit when Fionn announced that he needed to be fed - now. So we took Emerson to the children's playground area - an area I have dubbed "excellent birth control" - and took our seats on the bench covered in dubious stains while he joined the swarming children.
He jumped in with enthusiasm, but then was quickly knocked down to the ground by another 2-year-old. That boy's mother screamed at him from across the room to be more careful, so as he towered over a stunned Emerson, he began to pat his white hair. Emerson sat there, being petted like a dog, with his lower lip trembling in apprehension. Eventually he got to his feet and attempted to escape this strange situation- only to be immediately plowed into by another larger kid. Now the tears came full force and he looked around for us to rescue him. It was heartbreaking because I knew he had been knocked down because all the movement made it difficult for him to focus. And to make matters worse, we were only a few feet away, but he couldn't tell which parents were his.
I was nursing Fionn, so Robbie ran out to get him and place him in an area where no kids were playing. This helped with the getting knocked down situation, but then he just looked so sad standing there all by himself. He must have thought so too because pretty soon he went looking for us again and again struggled to find us. As he broke into a second round of tears, Robbie swooped in once again.
There's nothing like these moments to slap you in the face and say "Hey, don't forget your kid is visually impaired." ugh.
On the bright side, Emerson has been keeping us laughing with some unusual new tricks. Like putting crackers in his toes and then using his toes to hurl the crackers to the dog. Or sneaking up to tickle me when I least expect it. Such a strange, funny little man.