When it comes to pass-remarkable comments to do with my parenting, I’ve tended to let them go in the past (okay, I’ll admit I may have fetched my imaginary voodoo doll once or twice…). Let’s be honest, pretty much all parents encounter them every so often, be it for giving in to a tantrum “too easily” or co-sleeping on a bad night.
I’ve had my fair share when it comes to Brody, more so when he was younger and it was unclear to everyone that he had disabilities. When your child’s disability isn’t immediately visible, some people see you as a helicopter parent. They just don’t get it. And they don’t get them. I admit I was a renowned worrier pre kids, but when it comes to my little boy I need to make sure he is safe. Because he can’t.
“But he’ll eat it if he’s hungry”. When he couldn’t eat finger foods and could only manage smooth baby jars until just before he was 2. To some people starving him would have “fixed” his inability to chew and sensory issues. Never mind him choking or the endless vomit I encountered on our very long weaning journey.
“Why is he gagging – don’t be silly Brody!” When he gagged whilst touching wet washing or the coloured spaghetti I had thought would be fun for him to explore. The joy of predictable – and yet majorly unpredictable at times – sensory processing disorder. I’ve learned along the way this is a hard one for a lot of people to get to grips with (admittedly it still surprises me sometimes).
“I think what he needs is to not be around Mummy all the time”. When he was significantly delayed in all aspects of communication, understanding, gross and fine motor skills – basically everything. Ouch. Voodoo doll was reached for here. More than once.
“I wish my child got free nursery hours”. When he got an earlier placement just before his 3rd birthday because his paediatrician had recommended that it might help his development to be around other children. Yep, and I wish we didn’t need the early placement funnily enough!
“Why does he need a wheelchair? He can walk”. Sigh. I will blog later on this one.
“Have you thought about potty training him?” I. Can’t. Even. Just smile and nod! (We’re actually about to give this a go now).
I was recently told by an old friend that I shouldn’t refer to Brody as non-verbal. You know – state an actual fact. Because I was apparently labelling him and using negative language. Had I not heard that Einstein didn’t talk until he was 4 years old? (Never. Not once. Honest).
I have at times lost my ability to channel my inner Dory and keep swimming. But then, I shake it off. People judge. That’s life isn’t it? Parents are good at judging other parents by their own standards or ideals. Sometimes this is well-intentioned – even if it doesn’t feel like it.
We are our children’s biggest supporters.
We are their constant. And always will be.
We celebrate every milestone and every achievement.
We love them for everything they can do and everything they can’t.
They are perfectly perfect.
No one can love them more.
And no one can tell us otherwise.
Other people, especially other people who should know better can be so hurtful Last summer before Mr O had his Mic-key button he was on a strict only thickened food diet due to aspriation… how many times did I have to really harshly repeat… No he could not have some water, not even a little sip.. yes it’s just water… but it’s a thin liquid that will cause him to choke.
I still remember another harsh comment when his twin sister started crawling and cruising.. O obviously not due to his type of Cerebral Palsy “Oh at least you will only have one to chase after”
Sadly I have many more stories
Now we are at the stage where people take double looks, give us looks of pity, sometimes horror…
it’s harsh. On good days I ignore.. on bad days it upsets me deeply.
Guest we have to try to have more days where we just ‘shake it off’ like you say.
I know sometimes easier said that done Sheri. It really does depend on what type of day you’re having. You know you’re doing your best though and you know Mr O better than anyone. X
You do make me laugh lovely. The Einstein comment, too much! Again though, a brilliant post that helps myself and hopefully others understand so much more of what you’re facing on a daily basis. So important to state the facts. All our love.
Thanks Ruth xxx
Honestly, that Einstein comment…if I had a pound for every time.
Nobody should be telling you what’s right to say about your own child – I mean you can call him verbal when he’s non-verbal if you want to, it’s entirely up to you (although personally I’d find that a little odd… but I’d at least think you might have a reason to and that it was totally your call!). I do worry sometimes that I say the wrong thing though, I’m not so good with words that come out of my mouth, so I do try and consider if people have made an honest mistake… but we all know those who think they know best. Best to give them a wide berth 😉