The First of Many

Posted: September 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Today was the first day I ever noticed the looks/stares. Mike and I decided to go and do a little shopping and have lunch. The Monster of course was with us, he wasn’t having the best day today either. When we were getting ready to leave the restaurant we were at, Mike went to the bathroom while I sat with the Monster. While we were sitting the Monster started to have a meltdown. A few tables down was a family. A husband and wife with a young child and I am assuming this child’s grandmother was with them. So when the meltdown started the Monster tried to push me away and I noticed the older lady was staring and she kept staring. The mother of the young child then turned around and stared at us. When Mike came back to the table I informed him we had some rude people staring, he then turned to look real quick. I have never noticed anyone stare and give us that look as if ‘wow control your kid.’ At that very moment a lady that worked at the restaurant came over and asked if everything was okay. We told her ‘yeah we are fine.’ She then offered to get our son a milkshake, something to drink, fries anything that he needed or wanted. We told her we were actually leaving soon and thanked her for offering. After she walked away, a lady had sat down in the booth next to ours. The Monster then tried to grab her purse through the bars. We apologized to her and she said, ‘I have a 5 year old, its okay, I understand.’ And her husband then sat down and smiled at us. They never once said anything or stared when the Monster started to have a meltdown again, but sure enough the family close by turned to look again. Mike took the Monster to the car while I gathered everything up, I thanked the couple next to us. And I also thanked the worker, I explained to the worker that our son is autistic and at the time she had came over we were getting stares. She said that she had an idea of him possibly being autistic, that is why she decided to come over and offer some help. I then thanked her again for her kindness.

Today was the first day I have ever noticed anyone stare at our son during a meltdown and yet I know it won’t be the last. I am so thankful for the couple that sat next to us and I am so thankful for the worker that seen what was going on and came over to offer help. I get so emotional when it comes to my son. I tried my best to not let the stares bother me, but they did. I was going to say something, but at that exact moment when I thought about it, it is when the lady that worked there came over and offered to help with anything we needed.

Since starting my blog I was warned about these ‘mean’ people, I was told you will have the ones the stare, the ones that say, “control your child.” And the ones that whisper. I haven’t felt that low in a long time. Mike and I drove 40 minutes to go out to eat and go to the mall because it is the closest one to us, so its not like I have seen these people around our town, they were strangers, but yet they made me feel so small. And thanks to the kind strangers, they were most likely the only reason I didn’t cry to husband right then and there. It didn’t even phase Mike, but here I was so hurt by how rude these people were. I know I shouldn’t let people bother me, but I can’t help it. The Monster also shoved me away and it made him look like he was being a brat and I was being a bad mom. That’s not the case though, he was having a meltdown, he was ready to go and he needed to go then. I just wish people would think before they assume the child is being a brat. Even if the child is verbal and seems ‘normal.’ They can still be autistic, just because they don’t ‘seem that way’ doesn’t mean they aren’t. Today was a bad day because of that family that decided to be rude and stare at us. I never thought a few rude and disrespectful stares would hurt my feelings this bad. Even though today wasn’t the best day, today was a day where I found out that this world does have very kind people who is willing to try and understand. So, here we were on the way home and I cried. I told Mike how it bothered me because the Monster can’t help it, it’s not his fault. I guess it is time to get some thick skin and pick myself up. This is the first of many rude people so I need to shake it off and get ready for the next.

“You are stronger than any situation. You are stronger than any doubt. You are stronger than everyone else thinks you are, stronger than you were yesterday.”

  1. Amber Johnson says:

    You know what Alisha, you can be a trailblazer for other mothers who will go through this also. You should look into expanding your blog, creating a website, and eventually writing a book. All of these experiences you will have can serve as a guide for other mothers. It’s hard to go through, and I feel for you, but you were chosen to be that precious boy’s mommy for a reason. Yes, grow thick skin until you get to where it doesn’t bother you. You’ll get there. He’s still little. I don’t even like taking Berkeley to restaurants because you never know what you’ll get. My friend has an autistic child who had a meltdown at chick filet. She screamed I hate mommy over and over. Only would allow her dad to pick her up. People most definitely stared. I admire how you’ve handled everything. You’re a great mom. You’re doing a wonderful job. If you’re in Lafayette and you’re hungry, I’ll go eat with you. I can address the people who stare, so you don’t have to : )

  2. kim says:

    First off, I’m, sorry that happened to you. It sucks..No way around it, it sucks. Secondly, I think you did a wonderful job of handling the situation. Being in public with a meltdown isn’t easy at all. My son has autism but he is verbal so there have been a few times where I know people have heard him talk to me and then moments later see him falling down on the ground and screaming. I’ve experienced those looks and nasty comments. Your skin will grow thicker but it will still hurt. Because that’s your baby they are talking about and your parenting abilities even though they have NO IDEA what you are dealing with, everyone is so quick to make judgments. We were at our cities zoo a few years ago and it was hot and crowded in the aquarium and we were trying to get out as quick as we could but it wasn’t fast enough for him. He laid right down there on the floor and had a meltdown. These rude people walked by and made comments about my son being a spoiled brat and that “the mom” needed to do something about it, not “ignore him”. I was so angry that I laid it all out to them right there in the middle of the zoo aquarium. THAT family couldn’t get out of there quicker. I cried as we walked out of there. It’s situations like that, that make us stronger. We are good parents and we have learned, from our own situation to not judge a child throwing a tantrum solely by just that. It sucks but over time, it does get a little easier to handle.

  3. TJ Swan says:

    Just last year, on father’s day, My 12year old son had a meltdown. He had been doing so good lately, and he even wanted to go there. It was really very busy and rather loud (even with his noise cancelling headset). When he was finished eating, he started screaming. We tried to calm him, telling him that the rest of the family was finishing their dinner as well and we would be leaving soon, He continued short intravals of screams that made staff come running from the other side of the building. This had only gone on for maybe 30 seconds. We always try to calm him first before making the next move, it is safest for everyone. All of a sudden he hit his full drink glass so that all the liquid inside was covering me. (He had NEVER “hit” a glass before, so we were a bit startled) The entire restaurant stared, and made several LOUD comments. I asked my husband for the car keys and took our son outside, so he and my other 2 sons could finish their meals, as we were walking out my husband clears his throat and said quite loudly “This is real life with Autism!” He paid the bill, apologized to the staff for the small mess they now had to clean up and met me outside with to go boxes in hand.
    Many people are rude. It is a part of this life. It is very hurtful. Even with a thick skin, it still hurts. It always will. I try to remember people are judgemental, and even downright mean out of ignorance and fear of what they do not understand. While I don’t always have it in me to educate the masses, I do know that I owe it to my son and family to try to deal with everythng with grace and dignity, no matter how difficult it is. I wish the world was different. It seems there is no real understanding until it affects them personally in some way. Keep your head up. You are not alone. You have a community of Autism parents that will be here for support. Cyber Hug!

  4. Janice Pattison says:

    I think you and your husband do a great job. My son is four and non verbal. He has a lot of meltdowns when out. Sometimes people can be so rude as we have found out. These people need to be educated on so many levels. Keep strong I love reading your blog. Take care.

  5. wait are you the mom that went to portillos in indiana? i think i read your story in a newspaper.

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