Some loser on a train this weekend asked me if my son had "cleft palate."
"No," I said.
"Oh, well my mom has cleft palate and she has a lisp like him," he offered.
"He just has a lisp," I said.
We were on our way to the door. Jonah had been talking my ear off for most of our two-hour ride into Seattle. Because he's six, he talks loud enough for everyone to hear. And because he's...eccentric and totally adorable, folks respond to him. Usually people say nice things like, "My, what an inquisitive mind he has!" or, "He has so much to say!" or, "You've got a very special little boy." Most of the time my heart swells with warmth at how he draws people in.
No one's ever offered the observation that he sounds like the bones in his face didn't grow together. Even though the guy didn't say, "Gosh, your kid seems kinda retarded," I flinched at the insinuation that sometime, somewhere, something had gone awry.
It must be said that our friend with the cleft-palate mom had been offending me for the past hour by drinking and making his nine-year-old daughter give him kisses. Around men like that, my victimized inner child rises up with breath of fire and weapons of mass destruction. I truly felt if I'd had the chance I would've shoved this fellow off the moving train and the world would've been the better for it.
Unfortunately, he was seated comfortably nowhere near the door. I kept walking.
It's hard to say of this situation what hooked me more: the way the man behaved towards his daughter, or his thoughtless comment about Jonah - seeing that Jonah does have some kind of developmental issue and I'm trying to get used to that fact.
Maybe I've just had a bad month.
Has anyone ever said something about your kid that made you grow horns?