Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Tried Not to Make a Scene

Let's just not mention how it has been over a month since I last posted. Agreed?


Moving on.

JR is in this art class. Well, it really isn't so much an art class as it is a big room with activities set up in stations. Outside of the very loose circle time at the end of the class period, there is very little structure. It is perfect for JR.

The very first day we went to class was a nightmare. While the little girls sat at tables and pressed their tiny hands into clay or happily twirled a paint brush, my guy ran around the room as if his head were on fire. He begged nearly every person in the room to help him escape the evil of a room filled with crayons, puppets, and puzzles. Let's be perfectly honest, some of those puppets can be scary.

He hung on ankles, pleaded with his sad blue eyes, and yanked with all his two-year-old might. He wanted OUT.

The first day was spent trying desperately to get him to stay, to try, to hang in there just one more moment.

He went over to the sensory table (a sand/water table filled with beans), filled his hands with beans, and let them fall through his fingers. The sensation was calming. Unfortunately, the mother standing nearby with her daughter didn't think it was so calming. She abruptly pulled her daughter away. "Let's go play somewhere else for now." For now.

For now.

I get it. I got it. I do. My child isn't exactly gentle. But, he was not out-of-control or violent. JR is just a little more robust in his play. He's a boy. He's a sensory kid. He's a toddler.

Her obvious disdain for our play was felt by me but largely ignored by my son. I'm thankful that he didn't notice the little girl being pulled away by her mother.

Flash forward to Wednesday.

JR has calmed immensely. He's in a playgroup that should help him with transitions and "proper" social interactions. They get that he is a sensory kid and they work that into how they interact with him. I love that. He needs that and so do I.

JR's behavior has improved in art class as well. He is calmer, more engaged in activities, and seems to enjoy socializing with other children (and inanimate objects--whatever works!).

Unfortunately, the mother from day one is still not convinced.

At the sensory table, JR and the little girl stood. JR raked his fingers the length of the table, she watched him intently as he looked up and caught her eye. They were calm, clearly engaged and maybe even enjoying one another.

Until mom came. "Let's go play somewhere else, for now."

She did not just say that again? I made an effort at eye contact with her, hoping my mom-to-mom gaze would speak volumes.

It didn't work. Off she went, little girl in tow. JR standing alone at the table.

Again, he seemed unfazed. I, however, was not.

Inside a fire was ignited. How dare she! Couldn't she at least make it a little less obvious? I know moving to the circle of other mothers to discuss exercise videos and vacation spots was clearly more important than letting her daughter socialize with the class pariah, but come on! Because it is my hope to keep this a family friendly blog, I will withhold the unpleasant (horrific) thoughts that filled my head and the poisonous words that clung to my tongue.

I've been there. I've been rejected. Neglected. I've been ignored. While in my youth these rebuffs would have sent me reeling, as I've grown older they barely register. I don't care. I will not force anyone to like me, to befriend me. Being fairly level-headed, I don't get worked up by much.

But JR. It is a wholly different. This is my child. He is innocent. He is sweet. He is funny. He is smart. He is just a little different.

A little.

I am pained to realize that one day he may realize those differences. But even if those differences no longer matter, I pray he will never, ever be the kind of person who lacks compassion, understanding, acceptance.

I want him to see beyond the differences of others, to embrace them, maybe even celebrate them. My greatest hope is that he is one who reaches out instead of turning around and walking away.


Pregnantly Plump said...

I am so sorry. I completely understand how rough that can be. We've had some issues as well. Some parents just don't understand. Hopefully she wasn't trying to be callous and was in fact just more interested in socializing with the other mothers than letting her daughter play.
The art time sounds like a wonderful play group.

MarĂ­a said...

Again. I'm still reeling over the fact that she said it again. I wonder how she'd feel if a parent treated her little girl that way.

Tara R. said...

I think as a young mom, I would have let that simmer, but not say anything. If I knew then, what I know now... I would ask the other mother if she had a problem letting her daughter play with my son. Put the burden on her to justify her obviously rude behavior.

Lori said...

As a mother bear, I am sure you want to lash out. but, this woman is clearly rude and has zero empathy or compassion. I have a motto I use for people like that "kill them with kindness" hard as it will be, don't go to her immature level. The saddest part of all is what she teaching her daughter through her actions!

Kat said...

OOooo. That just makes me so damn mad. I suppose we should feel badly for her. She clearly lacks compassion and understanding and any kind of social skills herself. But instead, I kinda just want to smack her.

Kamis Khlopchyk said...

That is very hurtful...I wonder if she even realizes beyond her own desires that her consequences have such deep impact on others. No matter what the answer is, it isn't good. I am with Tara. A little comment of "oh I am sorry were we bothering your daughter?" said sweetly and innocently is much more effective than the swearing and horrific thoughts. I'll be honest with you though, I am more about the swearing and the horrific thoughts until I get home and think about it and then the perfect response comes to me.

JR is perfect. And those that matter will see him for who he is.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

In the end it is her daughter that will suffer from this--but still, hard to take.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

wow..yeah, im not so sure if i can hold my tongue when it comes to my son. so good for you for doing so.
you took the high road, which i am sure was very hard for you. but in all it was the right thing.

Anonymous said...

J had a hard time in block buster the other day. I saw the eyes of all the other patrons. You could almost hear them in their head labeling my son a freak and me a terrible mother. It stings. I want to scream at them, you have no idea how hard my little guy is working, and how exhausting this all is.

Thinking about you, love.

Karen said...

He will be, because you're a mother with a much greater vision of what's important than HER mother is. I pity that poor little girl, never having the chance to ever make friends of her own.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately cute kids must bring their moms to these play times. Dealing with other parents is the hardest part of having small kids. I think it's our differences that make us great and clearly your son is already great. I'm glad he's doing well in his play groups. Don't let other people ruin your joy in your little boy.
-FringeGirl said...

Sigh... It hurts a thousand times harder when it's your kid than when it's you, doesn't it? All I can say is that it is absolutely true that it's the difficult stuff in our lives that makes us stronger. I mean, I only wanted to strangle the boys at the boy scout meeting who laughed at Justin when no one voted for him to be the new leader of their patrol. He was devastated. But I am hoping that he takes from this the understanding of what it feels like to be on the receiving end so that he never dishes out that kind of hurtful crap.

Glad JR is showing some progress, too. Little boys are full of energy and the need to destroy stuff. Moms of only little girls don't always understand that... said...

Oh. And glad you're back.

Kori said...

Since this is your blog, I cant use the words I might use to describe how just reading this makes me feel-and your restraint astounds me. I sned oyu all good thoughts today.

Unknown said...

That's just rude. Clearly she has issues and needs to deal with them, but probably doesn't think she does and even if she does, won't. That made no sense, did it?

Anyway, hopefully she'll come around, if not, her loss. Too bad for her daughter who could make a good friend.

P.S. Good to hear from you!

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

That woman was so wrong! I'm sorry but my Mama Bear Instinct just went right up. she was out and out wrong. Was she trying to send a message to if something was wrong with you or your parenting? I mean what was her purpose. Next time, if he's near her, I swear you should walk over, take JR by the hand and say, "Let's go play somewhere else FOR NOW." in the loudest voice possible.

I have very many words I could utter about that woman right now, but I know I shouldn't use such language.

April said...

I think I would've handled it the same way, being WAY too expect to trust myself to speak without having the police called!
But now that you know how she is, what she will do, you can be prepared next time to ask her, "oh, is there a problem?" And let HER be the one who is flustered!
Good to hear from you.

Cecily R said...

If that mother continues with that kind of behavior, her daughter is the one who loses. Think of the people she will miss out on because Mom said "for now" too often. Like Karen, I pity her.

I wish your two year old could come and play with mine. They could be as sensory and loud and two year old-ish as they wanted to be! :)

theotherlion said...

Beautifully written. That mom has no idea what she is missing. And it's too bad that she is unwittingly instilling those ideals in her daughter as well. =(

My son and I would totally play with you guys. He's a sensory kid, too, and we've received similar treatment. I've found that my spunky, hands-in-everything, explorer forces me to see the world in a way I may not have if I was sitting calmly at the table with my clay.

That being said, art class kind of sounds like a nightmare -- I applaud you for not only attempting it, but for going back!

painted maypole said...

the good news is that parents will eventually stop being so hands on, and the kids will make friends with each other without the parents interfering. i think it actually often works better than way.

Lindsey said...

Some people just don't get it! Hang in there, sweet friend!!!

Karen MEG said...

Oh come ON! How rude and insensitive. I actually feel a bit bad for her daughter and how she may turn out one day, learning by example and all.

Probably better in the long run that JR doesn't associate with her anyway. Heaven forbid that they'll want playdates and you'd have to deal with the mother. I know, nah, nah, I'm so mature.

But he won't lack compassion or understanding, because he'll get that from you.

RJTrue said...

want me to kick her ass??

just sayin'

Anonymous said...

I have endured this time and time again. It always hurts. I'm always THAT mom. I'm not those moms who get to sit in the circle and discuss those matters that I never get to partake in anyway. I have Boy Child. My love for him is frightening. He is special. He has a list of diagnoses that make our life different. However, it doesn't make those moms' lives better than ours. If anything we are the ones who understand humanity more. Hang in there, be strong, be kind, lead by example. Your son needs you to be, and so will your daughter.

tiarastantrums said...

that woman is CLUELESS!!! Karma is something that will come back to her - smile at that.

I just want to tell you, it does get a bit easier - but you must get used to this "reaction" from parents who have what they think are completely normal children. It continues - for a long time, unfortunately. And sadly! My son is eight now, and still struggles with sensory issues - it will be a life long struggle - because of these sensory "issues" he doesn't quite fit the mold of what is the 'perfect' role model child. Other kids sense that - other parents sense that - some can get past it - some just - well - they just don't. It is sad, and can be maddening. And all you can do is make sure that your arms are a great big bubble around your child to wrap them up and protect them from the silly people who live in glass houses!!

Woman in a Window said...

Maybe you're working on it and that's why I can't comment on it, but I just read of your uncle and even putting through a few words here, I'm not sure what to say. You wrote it too well. I feel it heavily. I'm sorry for you all, especially your aunt. I grieve, not just for your loss, but the weight of it too.

Hope you are bunch. How time flies~


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