We don’t make a big deal about the Butterfly’s missing hand in the Komplexify household. It’s partly because the Queen B and I don’t want her growing up viewing her limb difference as a handicap or an excuse, but mostly because we just plain forget about it given how fiercely independent and resourceful she is.
It’s not just us, either: our neighbors across the street have two daughters with ages that match the Butterfly and the Ladybug, and so the four girls can often be found playing together on weekends. After about two months of more-or-less continuous play over summer, the neighbor girls’ mom one day out of the blue suddenly asked me “Wait… has the Butterfly always been missing her hand?”
However, kids are typically less oblivious to it, and often ask the Butterfly questions about what happened to her hand. She usually takes these questions in stride, with her typically matter-of-fact answer of “Oh, you know, I was born from China,” as if that was the default limb configuration for Sino-Americans. Interestingly enough, that answer usually satisfies kids her age.
As the Butterfly has grown and developed, though, so too has her mind and vocabulary, and the result has been a explosive increase in her imagination and storytelling skills. Which is to say she’s becoming one hell of a fibber.
For example, recently when a kid asked her what happened to her hand, the Butterfly replied, “I was born from Clock People. I’m like a clock, see? I have a big hand and a little hand.”
Or when at a family gathering her many cousins repeatedly asked her about her hand, she said, “Well, see, I was at the beach and I was playing in the water, and then a shark came up and just bit off my hand. There was a lot of blood, but I was brave.”
This particular story so impressed her cousins, that she took to repeating it to others, slightly embellishing it further with each subsequent retelling, until it had finally become: “I was playing at the beach, in the water. A great big shark swam up to me and bit off my hand. Then it came back up to me and bit off my legs. Then I bleeded and bleeded and bleeded. Then I died.”
I said she had a lot of imagination. I didn’t say she had common sense.