Three-year-old Lydia knows her birthmark makes her look a bit different to her classmates, so on the first day of preschool she came prepared and opened up a discussion about diversity (with a bit of help from a great book and her class teacher.)
Lydia’s mum Kelly Wilson Bossley had probably been preparing herself for her daughter’s first day at preschool for all the usual reasons, but Lydia’s facial birthmark added an extra layer of mental prep. Lydia looks different to her classmates and we’re guessing her mum may have wondering how the class would respond to their new little buddy.
Kids are innately curious and notice the interesting things about others. They can also be innocently tactless when it comes to pointing out their differences.
Kelly says that some of the kids noticed that Lydia had a visible difference, especially as she’d just had some treatment on her birthmark.
“This morning at preschool drop off, I could tell my daughter noticed some of her new classmates staring and whispering when they saw the fresh bruising on her face from her latest treatment to keep her Port Wine Stain birthmark healthy,” Kelly writes.
Little Lydia had obviously been thinking about how her new pals might respond too. She had packed her preschool bag with something that helped explain her difference in a kid-friendly way, just in case the subject should come up.
“Instead of getting upset or self conscious, Lydia simply walked over to her cubby, pulled out the copy of Sam’s Birthmark and handed it to her teacher to read to the class,” mum Kelly explains.
Not only was she completely heartened by her daughter’s proactive and straight-forward approach, she realised that encouraging acceptance and education was part of Lydia’s self-care approach.
“She isn’t even 3 yet but her resilience and ability to self-care blows me away. I cried nearly the entire way to work – not because I worry how her peers will treat her in the years to come but because I know this girl is gonna do big things!” Kelly says.
The writer of the book Lydia took to preschool, Martha Wardlaw Griffin, read the post about Lydia and was equally touched and delighted. Martha’s child also had a Port Wine Stain birthmark on his face and she’d written Sam’s Birthmark to help other families broach conversations about their birthmarks positively and proactively.
“I am the author of Sam’s Birthmark. When I see posts like Lydia I tear up!! Our son was born with a Port Wine Stain covering half of his face. We soon realized there was not a positive message children’s book where the child character had a birthmark so we wrote one. Connecting with birthmark parents from around the world has been truly amazing!!!” Martha posted.
Acceptance and awareness
Martha explained that the book has a buy one/give one program to ensure that education and acceptance is as widespread as possible.
“Our goal is to spread Vascular Birthmark awareness and acceptance. When you buy a book you get a 2nd book complimentary to give to your school, doctors office, church, etc…” Martha says.
If you’d like to get a copy of Martha’s book, pop over here. We’re so glad Lydia told everyone about it!
If you’d like more information about the causes and treatment of Port Wine Stain birthmarks, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne has further info.