Mother asks: Don’t point, stare; just come over & say ‘hello’
Published 12:09 am Saturday, October 29, 2016
LAPLACE — When Sandria Davis gave birth to her son, Ernest Davis III, three years ago, the doctors and nurses attending her gave her some advice.
“They told me I needed to bring with me the strongest people I know,” Sandria said. “They told me my baby would not live longer than an hour.”
Little Ernest proved those doctors wrong.
More doctors told Sandria her son would never walk, sit up or do anything a normal child would do.
Ernest was born with achondroplasia, a type of dwarfism, a genetic mutation which occurs in about 4 to 15 of every 100,000 live births.
Even at age 3, his arms and legs are noticeably short, his head is unusually large. Officially termed a “little person,” Ernest is the youngest child with the condition in the River Parishes, according to his mother.
Today, Ernest is a healthy, happy and very stubborn 3-year-old who can charm just about anybody. He goes to school at Emily C. Watkins Elementary School. He knows his numbers and his colors.
He knows he can ask to see his picture on the camera after it’s been taken with a simple, “See?”
He also can climb up to the top of the dining room table to retrieve the little pumpkin he brought home from school and then kick and scream in the best toddler tantrum fashion when his lunch isn’t ready.
“He’s spoiled, but he’s just a healthy, happy little boy,” Sandria said. “He’s full of personality. He’s just a phenomenal 3-year-old.”
October is Dwarfism Awareness Month as designated by the Little People of America. Tuesday night the St. John the Baptist Parish Council issued a proclamation declaring it such in the parish.
Ernest even got to fist bump St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom.
Sandria hopes raising awareness of the condition will help local residents understand Ernest is not an oddity of nature. People do point and stare at him, she said, which just makes everyone uncomfortable.
“I just want to tell people, if you see us, if you see Ernest in the store, come and say ‘hello’,” Sandria said. “Ask me about him. Don’t point and stare. Stop and say hello because he loves that.”
Ernest is the fourth child born to Sandria and Ernest Davis Jr. None of her other three children, including daughters Sanai, 8; Enai, 6; and Myracle, 2, were born with the condition.
Ernest was a surprise, however, in more ways than one. She didn’t have any idea he was coming.
“I found out I was pregnant on Aug. 14 and he was born on Aug. 15,” Sandria said. “I guess because he was so small, I didn’t feel any kind of movement or anything. I had no idea.”
When he was born, doctors gave Sandria no hope that he would survive.
“They didn’t think he would live,” she said. “Not only is he here, he is here. He fills a room.”
Ernest not only lived, he has thrived and he has pushed his younger sister, Myracle, to keep up with him.
“She started walking at seven months,” Sandria said.
Ernest, meanwhile, keeps figuring out ways to do things himself.
“He saw (Myracle) opening a door and he wanted to open that door,” Sandria said. “He just kept trying until he figured it out. He is determined.”