This is a delicate issue, and one that doesn’t necessarily need to be addressed but it is something that babysitters do come across; be it infrequently, but still it’s a shock when it does occur. I’m not trying to be rude here for sure but, I swear sometimes children come to the door and your first inclination is to gasp! Not in horror; it’s because you’re surprised that the child isn’t in proportion with other children. There is something unique to the child that you can’t quite put your finger on but you do realize that their appearance is unusual at best. The parent comes to the door beaming with pride, and obviously doesn’t see what you see. You feel horrible that you feel this way. You feel guilty. Do these parents not see their child is not that good looking?
What do you do? Well you swallow the impulse to gasp that’s for sure. What I do: 1) Smile, 2) say hello 3) inquire to their name, and 4) proceed as usual. These children have yet to be vilified by society for their appearance yet, and the road ahead of them will more than likely be more challenging than the “pretty children” just because of their appearance.
This is a sad fact, tragic even. These children are so sweet, smart, energetic, say the most wonderful things that make you laugh, are loved, nurtured and protected just like any child that is born into this world to loving parents, and family. Who are we to begin their road to life with judgement because they don’t fit our ideas of what beauty is? Our tolerance for the unique is reflected in our children, and if they see us cringe, say something disparaging about others whether children or otherwise they will learn this behavior.
If we see someone on TV and we say awe geez, they’re hideous or something to that extent they learn that is ok to judge and say such things themselves. Life isn’t about judging others on appearance; fat, ugly, pock marked, etc. it is to love all just as we would want our children to be loved, and see the beauty in all human beings as their parents see them: beautiful, sweet, smart, kind, innocent, trusting, etc. That is our job as human beings; not just babysitters, teachers, childcare professionals etc. Remember we are protectors of children of all types and come to them with open hearts, minds, and much, much acceptance.