If you are a parent of a child with autism, you know which one I'm about to talk about. As I just had happen again to me, times three, while out for pizza with my kiddo.
Yes, I was sure lucky to get that dripping with disdain expression from you, old ladies at the pizza place. That my son's mere existence in your world for about forty five minutes was almost to much for you to handle. That his noises coupled with my constant prompting to use a correct volume of his voice and to eat his food won me the chance to see you roll your eyes at each other several times. I guess I ruined your dining experience when I decided for two minutes to just try to eat as many bites as I could while he sang "Sha Boom Sha Boom". Hey, you think you could at least appreciate a song from your era.
I have no doubt that when you all piled in your car later, many remarks were made about my kiddo. You probably thought that time stood still while we were there, two tables over from you. Would we ever leave? Would he ever stop making noises or repeating lines from TV shows? I'm sure we gave you quite a lot to talk about on your ride home. Here's the difference between you and I. I bet you forgot about us as soon as you pulled into your driveway. Here I sit, two days later, wondering about you. Beating myself up over how he behaved. How I ruined your dinner. Wondering why couldn't you just see I was trying my damn best. Oh and while you thought his noises were so annoying, you do have it better than me. You didn't have to go home with them. You won't be woken up at 5AM by them. Or possibly even earlier. You don't have to do the autism dance of back and forth. Allowing him to have appropriate times and places to stim and teaching him when and where they are not acceptable. I bet you thought you could get him to stop. Good luck with that. Spend a day with my kiddo when he's in a high stimmy day groove. You wouldn't last an hour in my world. You just proved that by how you acted over one dinner.
I get it. Your age probably had a lot to do with those looks you gave me. I don't think my kiddo noticed. I'm hoping he didn't. I sure felt your eyes on me as I struggled to prompt him to take bites, dig another trick out of my autism mommy purse, and try to eat a bit of dinner myself. As much as your looks annoyed me, I'm not going to stop going out with my kiddo. No way. No how. With all the studies and stats on autism, I know it's in your families too. Maybe not close enough like it is in my house but it's there. You probably never even heard of autism until some celebrity's kid had it and they told their story exclusively on some television show. Here's the thing, these kids aren't tucked away anymore. He won't learn how to be unless I take him out. There's no better learning than real like experience.
But let's break this down a little more shall we? You were at a flipping pizza place. I didn't drag my 9 year old into Brasserie Les Halles in Manhattan. I took him to the local pizzeria that just happens to have wait service in the back room. I was sipping a soda while you were sipping screw top bottle wine. (I don't judge screw top but please let's not pretend that makes you fancy schmancy) As restaurants go, that's where any parent brings their kids without thinking twice about it. So if you want that real high end experience you feel you are entitled to, you best start going to places that don't have a Pepsi cooler full of soda and Vitamin Water by the front door. Sorry that the wait staff ignored you for a moment but they were being nice by fetching us a coloring book and crayons without me even asking for them to help keep him entertained. The waitress who looked barely old enough to drive seemed to be a little more in tune with my kid and what we might need to make this easier than you three Bitches of Eastwick. Did you notice that all my prompts were mostly my concern he not bother you? Trust me gals, it could of been a whole lot nosier. You got off light.
My son is nine and I'm getting damn tired of that look. I know it won't be the last time we get it either. If there is any silver lining to this, that look tells me pretty quickly who to bother with and who not to even waste my time. I guess I'm lucky that these people are not in my life. At one point, I did lock eyes on one of you and you quickly looked away. Didn't like the look I had on my face did ya? Oh well. Too bad. So sad. I'm still sitting here thinking about yours. Thanks for the nice blog fodder though. Till we meet again because we eat there a lot. ;-)