Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Man in comfy shoes disturbs mama bear

with 15 comments

Out to dinner the other night with my mother, we had a conversation where I claimed that the general public crticizes my parenting on occasion, and she refuted this, saying it was mainly in my mind.  She does make a valid point, for the most part other people have more to concern themselves with than how I raise my children.  Also, for the most part, my kids reserve their most challenging behaviors for at home, and are generally well-behaved while outdoors.  Very occasionally though, we have an almighty meltdown with gawping witnesses, and I maintain that their snide looks and hushed comments are not imaginary on my part.  Sadly, I only had to wait until the next day to be proven correct.

On Friday we went to the Magic Kingdom.  Some of you may gasp in horror at the thought of taking spectrummy children there, but it provides just the right level of stimulation for my sensory-seeking girl.  Throw in princesses galore, and no fewer than eight places where she can eat, and I declare it Pudding Heaven.  On a good day.  She started out fine, but as the day wore on, it became too much for her.  She is in a strange environment, with unfamiliar social demands, and a ruptured schedule.  Throw in constipation, and all the fronts converge.

At Disney they have a playground which I hoped might offer a little respite from potential sensory overload. It looked just like one of those soft play areas at the mall, so Pudding dutifully took her shoes off.  I made her put them back on, because the outdoor surface would have hurt her feet, and the crying began.  She ran away (my major don’t at a theme park) and began kicking at me when I tried to get near the shoes.  Daddy had no luck either, and she began screaming and spitting in protest.   By this point she was beyond words, and beyond reason.  We took her to the safety of the stroller to get calmed down.

I sat down in front of her, meeting her flying fists and kicking legs with soothing words.  It takes all I have to remain calm in such situations, but past experience dictates it is the only way to deal with these outbursts when she gets too far.  She eventually stopped, and began asking to go back to the play area again.  I whispered that she would have to wear her shoes, and she began screaming.  When Pudding was first born, the midwife at the hospital in Luxembourg told me she had never in her 32 years as a midwife heard a child scream as loud as Pudding.  She continues to get louder with age.  Perhaps she has a future as a warbler of the Mariah Carey/Celine Dion variety, but right now it is just ear-piercing shrieks.  It is unpleasant, painful even for those with sound sensitivities (sorry Cubby) and I never feel more conspicuous than at such times.

I sat on the kerb in front of her, waiting for the storm to pass.  Next to me was a girl, with her father on the other side.  He gave a sideways look, and then told his daughter that this was not how she was to behave on time out, and she would be punished for behaving like this, with another glance at me.  Now, I’m okay with you using my kid as a cautionary tale, but he wasn’t saying it to educate his daughter, he was talking deliberately loud enough to let me know what he thought of my techniques.  He was talking loud enough for others to hear several feet away.  He was challenging me, and like most animals under assault, I was primed to fight back.

Had there not been my ever-observant daughter and this man’s own child to watch, I might have unleashed my fury at the man.  But I can’t require my overwhelmed child to gather herself together, and then display the same reaction myself.  And I’m not going to criticize somebody else’s parenting in front of their child, unless that child is being threatened or hurt.

Man in the street: I’m not asking for your compassion, I’m not even asking you to stop judging, I’m just asking that you keep it to yourself when I’m in the middle of dealing with something.  Even if you think I’m dealing with it very badly.  It is my kid, my parenting, my problem.    She needs my focus, you don’t deserve it.

As it was, I concentrated on what my kid needed, and a couple of minutes later she felt better.  We had a fantastic time the rest of the day.  It probably deserves a whole other post.

You don’t have to walk in my shoes.  I’m very glad about that, you aren’t cut out for it.  The compassion, understanding and sensitivity would be beyond you.  Besides, your feet wouldn’t look as pretty as mine in sandals.

But man, you disturbed a mama bear.  Your lucky I was in cub protection mode, because if you’d got me on attack, there wouldn’t be anything left of you now.  Or your comfortable shoes that you are so fortunate to be wearing, but aren’t half as awesome as mine.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

December 5, 2010 at 9:14 am

15 Responses

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  1. I love disney, but there’s always some self-rightous donkey who seems to think (s)he (usually he) is the only one who’s paid quite a bit of money to be there & is superior to everyone there, shouldn’t have to stand in line & will push to the front of your children to get the best view of the parades. Sorry you found him yesterday. Hopefully he’s gone home today (most likely with his own child in meltdown mode – Karma’s a b*tch 😉 ! 🙂


    December 5, 2010 at 9:24 am

  2. Interesting note: whenever I have had trouble in public concerning my children it always came from a man…ironically other mothers never seem to comment, no matter what they think. Something about the male ego that thinks that they know everything, inadequate losers if you ask me…just like you know that moron behind the wheel who is tailgating you is a man, as is the idiot who is honking at you, texting while driving and talking on his phone without a bluetooth headset while driving too.


    December 5, 2010 at 9:26 am

    • I don’t have much experience of this, with the kids still bring young, so interesting that you’ve only seen this from men. Jerks!

      Spectrummy Mummy

      December 5, 2010 at 9:42 pm

  3. We went to Disney last April. Utter fail for Katie. She is a sensory seeker, but also has a fine line between seeking and complete overload, and we hit overload pretty quickly. She did not have a good time. Thankfully we had the disability pass and, for whatever reason, no one gave us sideward glances during her almost constant meltdowns (headphones might have tipped them off). I have been there, though, and have to remind myself what strangers think doesn’t matter and not to be mortally embarrassed. AND, men are generally less understanding…I don’t really care when a guy gives us a look.


    December 5, 2010 at 10:01 am

    • You know, she was so good the rest of the day! I find it pretty funny that she only had a meltdown during the “quiet time” we tried to give her on the playground. It doesn’t make sense!

      Spectrummy Mummy

      December 5, 2010 at 9:47 pm

  4. SONOFABITCH! I hate that. Self righteous jerk. But you’re better than I am. I’d have said something. We were getting looks from some old man once at a restaurant my parents took us to. Finally, after about the 18th time he looked over with that sideways glare I said (pretty loudly), “Can I help you with something?”

    My mom was mortified, but he stopped looking. Some people are assholes.


    December 5, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    • I LOVE that you got so riled up for us. Yay Laura! The thing is, the sooner I get Pudding calm, the easier the whole thing is on both of us. If I’d given that guy a piece of my mind, she’d have got way more upset. He deserved it though, lucky I’m not a blurter 😉

      Spectrummy Mummy

      December 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm

  5. I’m so glad that guy was dealing with you and not me. I would have had a hard time with this one. I can forgive afterwards, but during an attack that involves my child, well let’s just say I still need to work on this.

    D. S. Walker

    December 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    • I didn’t take this one as an attack on Pudding, or I might not have tolerated him so well. I took this one as him telling me I was doing it wrong, rather than directed at her. But he is still lucky I didn’t have anything pointy in my hands!

      Spectrummy Mummy

      December 5, 2010 at 9:54 pm

  6. When people ask me if I am sad or upset that my son has Autism, I say no. In fact, it made me such a better and different person. I have so much more empathy and such a different attitude towards judging others. I was the queen of judging and now rarely judge anyone. I have posted about his before too. You never know someone’s situation. That waitress who was rude may have just lost her husband, that parent letting their kid act out may be dying of cancer and not caring about what their kid does wrong. My kid has Autism, which you can’t tell from just looking at him…most of the time. So when people look or judge I could care less. Because they have no idea. None.


    December 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    • BTW, you handled the situation very well. You are an awesome mama!!! And what you said about it being about you and your daughter at that moment and that’s it is so right. It is about you and helping her. No one else.


      December 7, 2010 at 8:48 pm

      • I’m not so awesome, just lucky that Pudding chooses most of her temperamental moments for at home. On outings she is generally easy to be around, making it far easier to be patient on the odd occasion she has a meltdown. If I were going through this several times a day with an audience, you can bet I wouldn’t be keeping my cool quite so well!

        Spectrummy Mummy

        December 8, 2010 at 9:29 am

  7. […] to be a bit much, but that is the level of stimulation Pudding needs all the time.  Her little meltdown there was because we changed the rules on her.  To her mind, you always take your shoes off on […]

  8. […] mama bears shoes – Yes, but were they comfy? […]

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