Nose members of the public

(81 Posts)
nesticles Thu 19-Sep-13 13:43:22

DH and I are both blind and very comfortable about talking/answering questions about it. but since having our sighted ds I am getting increasingly angry about one question members of the public ask us "is he blind too?" and when we say no they often go on to ask "was that a fear?". I litterally see red lol and often find it hard not to flip my lid. I know people have questions as we do things differently like pull our buggy and have Guide dogs but really? am I being unreasonable? DH things I might just be a bit over sensative. Am I? or is it a rather rude question?

limitedperiodonly Thu 19-Sep-13 16:35:23

I don't think YABU but I don't think they're necessarily being rude either. They're probably curious, but clumsy.

Many sighted people have a fear of blindness that probably people who've lived with partial or absence of sight their whole lives, or like my MIL, have developed it in later life, don't have, or at least they don't consider to be the end of the world by a long chalk.

sofia and maidofstars are probably like me. I'm professionally nosy because I'm a journalist. I'm sure I upset people all the time with dumb questions.

Sometimes to avoid all misconception I have to ask really simple questions. If you put me in my place, I'll accept it, as long as you're nice about it smile

I wouldn't have asked the sex question though grin

It's an old one, but my favourite Woody Allen quote is that if reincarnation exists, he wants to come back as Warren Beatty's fingertips. wink

I don't know if you're old enough to remember when Warren Beatty was a gorgeous shagger. Or who the modern equivalent would be.

nesticles Thu 19-Sep-13 16:46:33

I don't mind educating people about blindness, I also understand the need to be nice as I might be the first blind person someone's ever come across. I just find that question makes me very angry and I not usually an angry person. Madeof lol I have ROP (was born 16 weeks prem) so lucky to be alive really and DH has Retinal dysplasia. I'm using JAWS (a screen reader) and yes it tells me aboutt smilies but won't let me add them. Peter my dh is a foot taller than me as well...funny how noone has ever asked about how we cope with the height difference lol.

MrsDeVere Thu 19-Sep-13 16:48:58

nesticles I used to work for an organisation for parents with disabilities. I have pretty much hear it all when it comes to crass questions.

I worked particularly with Deaf parents and the questions they were asked were very similar. Why people think they have the right to ask if a baby is Deaf is beyond me.

I had some corkers from professionals.
I used to work on the information line and had HVs calling up in a panic because they had a Deaf mother. 'HOW will she know if the baby is crying!!!?' and one 'the child has picked up the mother's deaf accent, I am very concerned'. I suppose that is marginally better than 'how will the child learn to talk?'

My husband is disabled but no mw or hv expressed any concerns when I had DCs 4 & 5. I suspect it would have been very different if I were the one with the disability.

limitedperiodonly Thu 19-Sep-13 16:54:27

I don't think you have to be an ambassador for all blind people OP, but it's good of you.

If it's not a dumb question, what's ROP, btw?

froken Thu 19-Sep-13 16:59:39

Yanbu. I think that members of the public asking any questions that they wouldn't ask a sighted person ( do you have any weekend plans? Enjoying the warm weather? And that sort of thing) is really rude.

My dp's aunt and uncle are both blind ( coincidently with a sighted son) I often sit with his uncle on the train into tge city as we commute at the same time. He was telling me how people will offer him a seat to which he replies "no thanks I'm just as able to stand as you are" but if there is a problem with the trains and everyone has to get of and change over to buses at an unfamiliar station no one offers him help.

I have a question for you, I now have a 9 month old son, I was chatting to dp's aunt about her ds when he was a baby and asked her how it worked practically when her ds started moving around and crawling/walking away from her. She told me that he was always aware that he needed to stay close to his mum even as a small baby. Do you think it is rude of me to ask that sort of question? I really don't want to be rude, I am just interested.

nesticles Thu 19-Sep-13 17:04:24

ROP is Retinopathy of prematurity. My retinas were dammaged by giving me too much oxygen at birth. Mrsdebere don't even get me started on hvs. I had an IM in order to make sure I didn't have to explain my blindness to every MW each time I had an apt. HV was so concerned about the safeguarding of our unborn child that she called ss who were frankly uninterested and I made a formal complaint about her...new hv is lovely now that i've educated her and has become our champion whenever anyone in her department questions our parenting abilities.

limitedperiodonly Thu 19-Sep-13 17:21:00

Thanks for the explanation nesticles

The rest of your post about your former health visitor is terrible.

It's great that your new one has learned through you, because that's the only way you can become better in your job, or just life generally, and sometimes that's all people are asking for, albeit clumsily.

I understand how you'd get weary of constantly being the educator though. And there's no excuse for rudeness.

nesticles Thu 19-Sep-13 17:21:29

frokenthu- no I'm happy to answer any questions like that but just the is he sighted one gets me going. DS is 7 months old and is crawling. if we're in a friend or family member's house I safety pin some purse bells to the back of his top in between his shoulder blades so he can't reach them. I find that it's usually an unnecessary precaution as he is a noisy little monkey but just gives me comfort. At home he makes enough noise for me not to need them. We have safe places in all the rooms too so I can put him down quickly and know he's safe if the phone rings or bell goes. We also have a play pen mainly for the protection of our two Guide Dogs who he would terrorise given the chance. I don't think ds has no idea he needs to stick to me. The only way he acts different around us is when feeding, we're doing blw and after loading his spoon for him he takes it out of my hand and then gives it back when his finished but with my mum or mil he just chucks the spoon on the floor.

froken Thu 19-Sep-13 17:39:44

The bells are a fab idea! What a clever little boy you have giving the spoon back to you!

It is terrible that you have had all that trouble with your hv. Really shocking.

BatwingsAndButterflies Thu 19-Sep-13 19:28:28

Some people are just pig ignorant. How did it not occur to them (HV) that you would have thought through the implications of parenting with blindness? Its not like it was just sprung upon you.

BrianTheMole Thu 19-Sep-13 19:36:40

You're not unreasonable op, some people are just bloody rude.

DoJo Thu 19-Sep-13 20:52:20

Is it possible that people are asking if your son is blind because they are interacting with him (making funny faces etc as you do with a small baby) and want to check whether he can actually see them? I know it doesn't make it any less rude, but I can see how someone could sort of wonder aloud whilst doing something which they normally would not give a second thought to.

nesticles Fri 20-Sep-13 12:15:03

Lol, yep my Guide dog reads the paper while eating her breakfast. I joke but people really think that. I recently got lost in Leicester square and asked someone for directions and they got out a map bent down and started talking to the dog and showing her the way on the map. I was a bit pissed and so got the giggles and couldn't stop. The dog couldn't understand what this person was doing so being a lab tried to eat the map. I can see while you might wonder about the faces, but my ds is so responsive to things like that...smiling and giggling that it would be obvious. Batwings you'd think hvs would have used her brain, but no. New hv wanted to be so sure that we would cope she went too much the other way and wanted to know how we'd cope with homework, playing in the park and teaching to drive! The classic question for me was "how will you make sure he gets enough visual stimulation?" like we were the only two people ds would ever come in to contact with! I just have to laugh. excuse the spelling on Iphone.

BrianTheMole Fri 20-Sep-13 12:55:35

No, they didn't show the dog the map? No way? Really? grin

Saffyz Fri 20-Sep-13 13:03:10

Might be worth turning the tables in a jokey way to make them see how ridiculous the questions are.

"Can your dog read?"

"No I'm afraid not. How about you, do you have any pets that can read?"

edam Fri 20-Sep-13 13:10:51

grin at showing your dog the map, that's priceless!

YouTheCat Fri 20-Sep-13 13:14:57

Right I'm going to teach my cat to read. grin

That's is just crackers.

Earthymama Fri 20-Sep-13 13:30:04

I never get the snorting tea thing but I did choke on my apple when I read about the man showing your guide dog the map!!
Still giggling now!!

My friend had a guide dog that was much loved in our town, as was his owner. He said that one Christmas he was visiting friends, in fact doing the rounds, iyswim. in one house they couldn't stop laughing and couldn't talk, they were just rolling around laughing.

Apparently the dog was surreptitiously sneaking the nuts and choccies that everyone had set out in little bowls and no-one wanted to tell his owner as they loved the dog and didn't want to upset their friend. They were all ringing one another to say, keep an eye on him but this one family said the dog's sneaky movements and look of innocence just cracked them up.

My friend was mortified and, of course, asked that they moved all goodies in future as he didn't want a poorly pooch. But that dog was irresistible and when he visited me at work in the library we stocked up on doggie treats and kept the goodies for the humans and the librarians.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Fri 20-Sep-13 13:30:48

grin If the dog had eaten the map, they'd probably have thought that was how she processed the information.

GingerBeerAndTinnedPeaches Fri 20-Sep-13 13:45:09

grin at them showing the dog the map, that is hilarious. Yanbu OP but I guess people will always be curious so it's a good opportunity to educate.

Dobbiesmum Fri 20-Sep-13 13:47:56

I've been lurking on this thread for the past couple of days and am still sniggering at 'how do you have sex'.... Sorry blush

nesticles Fri 20-Sep-13 13:52:10

Yep they really did show the dog the map. Oh god I nearly woke up ds I laughed so hard at my guide dog processing the information by eating the map...but I'm sure thats what this lovely man thought. I've tried asking if they know any dogs that can read but I always get "she's specially trained so I just assumed that would be part of the training?"
Oh god commuting used to be fun before mat leave.

Cluffyflump Fri 20-Sep-13 13:55:57

I'm actually laughing (not 'lol') at your map reading/eating dog grin

You sound very patient!

ExitPursuedByADragon Fri 20-Sep-13 14:01:11

That is quite amazing that at 7 months your DS has learnt how to interact differently with you and others

<impressed>

bashifuku Fri 20-Sep-13 14:07:42

Re: the map thing, my (sighted) MIL trains guide dog puppies. She told me she was in an unfamiliar town centre and asked someone for directions. The person bent down and started telling the puppy. hmm

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