We are on a little trip this weekend, dh is taking some continuing ed for his business. Anyway, while he was in class, the kids and I were at a mall. I was in Lane Bryant looking at stuff, and Ryker (my 5 yo ds, who I believe is vaccine-damaged, at least in part) was running around the store, dancing in front of the 3-way mirrors, etc. He really was being fairly good (for him), and the store staff didn’t seem to mind. After a bit, a woman with 3 girls came in, one of them was around Ryker’s age, and the others were older and younger. Now, Ryker likes to make “new friends” (and he considers any kids he meets for any length of time friends), and he especially likes girls, so he was going a bit bonkers. He came and told me that he was going to play with his new friends.
Shortly thereafter, I went into the dressing room with the stroller/my other 2 sons, and could hear Ryker running and playing, getting pretty excited. I called out to him a few times, telling him to calm down, not be so loud, don’t run, all the “Mom” stuff we say. In the next dressing room over, I heard a girl’s voice saying something about not wanting to be in the dressing room with her Mom, she wanted to wait outside. Her mother replied: “No, you stay here. I don’t want you around that little boy.” The child asked why not, and the mother then said: “Because he’s a brat.” (That last word was said in a whisper, but it came through to me loud and clear, given that the tops and bottoms of the dressing rooms are quite open.) I stopped for a minute, and wondered just what to say to let her know I’d heard her. But the baby was crying, my 2 yo was fussing, I was hot, blah blah blah. Her words cut me to the very deepest part of my soul. I could’ve cried right there.
As I was putting my clothes back on, I heard the girl ask again to wait outside, and her mother said: “No! That boy is going to hurt himself or someone else, and I don’t want you in the middle of it.” By this time I was dressed, and called out to Ryker that we were leaving, we were done.
“How come? I want to play with my new friends.” In a loud voice I said:
“Because their Mom thinks you’re a brat.” And I left. How I wish now I had spoken up right at the first, or waited for her to come out of the dressing room. I am not really what I’d consider confrontational, but when it comes to my kids, watch it. The lioness protecting her cubs, as they say.
I began lecturing Ryker as we left the store, and he was really, genuinely puzzled about why he couldn’t play, what he had been doing wrong. He wasn’t purposely misbehaving, he was just very, very excited. We worked our way down to the lower level, and I just felt so defeated and broken inside. I let him ride a little train in the mall, then we all had ice cream (note to self: Do not give 2 year old a cone with chocolate-peanut butter ice cream, unless a hose is handy to wash him off afterwards.) As we sat there, I thought more about what I would have liked to say, and was watching for her as well, hoping the chance would come to give her a piece of my mind, in a way.
I’d have told her that I hoped she never had a vaccine-injured child to deal with. I’d have said that calling my son a derogatory name was a very nice way to teach her children how to treat other people. I’d have said that regardless of what she thought, I cared what my son was doing in the store, behavior-wise. I talked to him before we went in, as we went in, reminded him while we were there. He has a severe lack of impulse control, coupled with high excitement and energy levels. He has a problem, and we are trying to resolve it, even to the point that we are looking into medication options, at least to give us all a breather while we consider what he needs, and what we as parents need to do to help him learn how to help himself. Maybe I’d have told her of the hundreds of dollars I’ve spent on books to give me insight and suggestions, and the thousands of hours I’ve spent online researching and learning in an effort to help my son. Then again, I might have told her to go screw herself AND the spotted pony she rode in on.
You can roll your eyes at what I have said, you can agree with the Mom, you can think I’m a flake. But next time you see a “brat” in the mall or the grocery store, or wherever, try to see past the behavior and consider what might be happening in that little brain. Sometimes there’s a problem that’s not helped by time outs, spankings, groundings, lectures, or the tears of a mother. So give us and our kids a break, okay?