Following my "script", I gently explained that it was the way God had created her and that each of us were different in our own ways. Although I was pleased with my answer, I completely forgot to consider the fact that my daughter is, was and perhaps, will never be satisfied with a single question.
She then asked if her fingers would become like ours once she grows up. (At times like these, you know at the back of your mind that you are treading dangerous waters -- but I had to answer her so I carefully chose my words.) I told her that when she no longer had colds, her doctor would work on releasing fingers. Her big brother, being the curious child that he is, then asked how they would do it. I didn't want to say that the doctor would use a knife (because they might decide to do the deed themselves) so I told them he would use a scalpel emphasizing that it was a tool that only doctors could use.
Nathan suddenly had that worried look in his face and asked if his sister would die to which I assured him that she wouldn't and that she had already undergone surgery before on her head. I told him that a doctor also used a scalpel when they opened her head to fix her bones and that even after they did that, there was his baby sister beside us happy and healthy.
Nina remained quiet for a time and the next thing I knew she began tearing up. I asked her what was bothering her and in between sobs, she said that she was scared of the doctor's scalpel. Needless to say, I was devastated. As I hugged her and reassured her that everything would be okay and that we would all be there for her, I knew then that we should have gone through with her surgery sooner and that we should expect a very distraught child when we do schedule it.
I know that it's too late to do anything now except to prep her so that when the time comes, she will be ready. But geez, I have no idea how to do it :-( Wish us luck please? And while you're at it, do say a prayer that we get this thing (the syndactyly release -- and the tube for the ears) finally over and done with.
P.S. - I knew something happened in school which prompted her to ask about her hands and so I asked her about it. And true enough, one of her classmates asked why her hands were "sticky". Note to self - talk to Teacher Joanna about this so that she can perhaps incorporate something into their lessons about the differences in each person