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Posts Tagged ‘special needs parenting’

So remember that post I wrote awhile back about grocery store judgment? Well I had one of those days at the store today. Every mom has them, but having a son with SPD, I have more of them than most. My son was pretty out of control and I headed to the checkout line as soon as it was clear that he would not be calmed. There was one item it was vital I purchase otherwise I would have just left all together. Because my son bit my my daughter (which is really my fault- he was really orally fixated all morning and when I am good about giving him a chew toy he does not resort to biting… but that’s besides the point…) He bit my little girl and she was crying, he was screaming, I was desperately trying to get out of there. A kind cashier opened a new lane for me and I handled my purchase all while singing to baby and trying to calm my son. As we finished paying and were turning the cart towards the exit this woman stopped in her tracks, glared at me and shook her head.

I haven’t decided yet if I am proud or ashamed of what happened next.

I looked at her and said “Don’t glare at me, bitch.”

The cashier cracked up. The glaring woman turned around and left. I walked calmly to the exit and continued singing to my baby.

These are the kinds of things my internal filter usually catches. I think my internal filter took the day off.

This was not even by far the worst encounter I’ve had at the store. But it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. People need to get off their freaking high horses and let others live their lives. I was obviously trying to calm the kids. I was obviously heading towards the exit. I was doing everything someone should do in my situation. Why take the time to be rude to me?

The woman probably went on her way thinking my kids are little brats because I am a rude. vulgar woman. She’s probably telling this story to her friends with a very different perspective.  My perspective? When you have only seen part of the picture, you don’t know what you’re looking at.

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My sweet little Keagan was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder a few months ago.

What is SPD? I’m still learning myself, but I’ll give it a go.

We all have quirks with our senses. You can’t stand the way a tag feels on your shirt. You are easily distracted by bright lights. Or maybe you have a hard time sitting still for very long. Or you can’t stand loud music. There’s something about each of us that we’ve learned to handle that isn’t “normal.” But what is normal is that, for most people, it’s just a few things that we can look past.

When it’s SPD, you have a lot of of  those “quirks” and you can’t just look past them. It sounds like people are screaming at you when they aren’t. When someone brushes against you it feels like they hit you. When you get a drop or two of water on your shirt it feels like you’re soaking wet. This is what life is like for my son. His senses seem to misfire. And in addition to that, he tries hard to seek out sensory response to try and figure it out. So he’s always jumping, always running. He climbs to high places and tries to jump. He has no fear in that sense and yet is hysterical when I vacuum.  Before we started giving him melatonin to help him fall asleep, bedtime would  take hours every.single.night. Some nights it still does. His brain won’t slow down on it’s own. He wants to talk about the shadows on the wall or the car he hears driving by or the book we read before bed. It’s as if all of this stuff is swirling around in his brain and he can’t block it out.

For more information, check out this link http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorders.html

What SPD isn’t: It’s not a discipline problem. It’s not that my child is being “bad.” It’s not an excuse. It’s not made up. It’s a very real disorder that a lot of kids deal with.

This brings me to my point:

I’ve too many times heard people brag about telling parents to shut up their kid or complain about some kid who they thought was acting out in public. These people generally think that these kids they are passing in the grocery store or the like are “bad” because their parents are not parenting them correctly. Well that’s bullshit. I am sorry. My son may have a meltdown in a restaurant when he spills his water on his shirt. He may spin around in circles at the library. He may even slap a kid who touches his head. But he’s not bad. He has neurological disability and he and I are both still learning to handle it.  He’s only three. He looks totally “normal.”   And strangers passing us have not a clue how hard his days are nor mine.

So before you judge that mom in the store who’s child is throwing her shoes in the aisle or the dad at the park who’s kid crashed into you- stop. You don’t know what their life is like. You don’t know what their day has looked like up until that point. You don’t know if maybe mom only got an hour of sleep the night before because the wind kept their toddler up or if that boy got kicked out of preschool because he does not understand personal space and his mom is sad for him and desperate. You have NO CLUE WHAT SOMEONE ELSE IS GOING THROUGH.

Judge not, less ye be wrong. Move on, remove the plank from your eye and smile at the poor parent at the store. And please, don’t tell me how to raise my son. I am doing the best I can.

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