In the December issue of Parents Magazine, there is a great little article called, "It's Okay to Stare." The writer and two of her children have a rare condition that causes them to be missing fingers and toes, so they have dealt with more than their share of rude comments and staring.
I loved the article because it is so similar to how I feel about the questions and comments. This was my favorite part of the piece. It is almost exactly what I have said multiple times when I speak about little kids staring:
"All young kids are curious when they see a person who looks different, whether it's a child with a disability or a grown-up who's obese. I've observed (even while being observed) that children blurt out what's on their mind not only to quench their thirst for knowledge but also because they're worried that the same strange condition could happen to them. Their poor parents usually don't know how to react, and so they stifle their kid's questions in order to spare themselves embarrassment. That mom at the Empire State Building may have had the best of intentions when she prevented her son from saying something that could have offended us, but she sent him the message that Ethan and I were strangers to be feared, rather than individuals who were worth getting to know."
It's worth a read, either in print or through the link above. I was really excited when I found it online, because I really wanted to share it with ya'll! :)