Dear Lady with Your Comments,
I know the other day when my son was tapping the salt and pepper shakers and pretending they were dancing that something rattled your core. I sensed the hair stand up on your skin and thought I saw your eye start to twitch when you chose to scold me for my son’s inappropriate restaurant behavior. It is not that I didn’t respond quick enough and make him behave for you. It was not as if I was ignorant to the fact that his tapping, fidgeting and playing may not be acceptable restaurant behavior. I know this.
In fact, I was keenly aware of my son when he was tapping the salt and pepper shakers and pretending they were dancing. I was in a full conversation with my husband about our day, family and life. We were happy. Our boys were sitting there patiently and lovingly awaiting there food. The tapping and the fidgeting to us was busying him. He was in our world fitting in with yours. We were celebrating that we finally were out at a restaurant as a family; something our son with Asperger’s could not do until recently. We were at that moment, proud he was behaving.
And then mam, you did something that was not unusual for my world. You lashed out.
You picked up the sugar holder at your table and began to tap it loudly on your table. You got my attention as well as the entire restaurants. It got quiet as everyone looked over to you as you continued to tap away madly. You stopped and looked at me with a gleam of anger. You said to me Yes, you over there! Do you not hear your son tapping away? Can you not control him? And, you turned away and started a normal conversation with your partner. Mission accomplished.
My response was not soulful and dear Lady, I apologize.
I looked at you and said, You have problems, huh? I am guessing some issues, no? Yes, I guess you do. You should work on them. My son is behaving beautifully, thank you.
And, I looked away also.
You see your comment is one of hundreds, maybe thousands that my son and I have received over his life time. This was one of the very first times he was behaving in a restaurant. The salt and pepper shaker were keeping his nervous system busy. Being different in terms of Asperger’s or Autism does not define how we should love a child or judge a child. It should not be assumed poor behavior is done on purpose or that a child who misbehaves should be punished, ridiculed or persecuted especially in public.
Your issues I mentioned are from the lack of love here. You are not seeing it from your heart, but your anger. However, I should have not judged you back. I should have explained this to you. And, perhaps you also have Asperger’s and can not take the noise of the tapping. I should have had compassion with you as well. Or, maybe your behavior is due to some other life related event. I missed an opportunity to embrace and teach you.
My son can only learn the acceptable social behaviors you want him to have by being in the restaurant with you and learning them. If tapping salt shakers keeps him from whirling around, we will take it and move forward from here. As he learns to sit and be part of the dining world, we will teach him not to tap or play with things on the table. Small steps make big changes.
Can you mam, embrace kids like him? Welcome them into your world of eating, dining and yes, shopping and compassionately help moms like me teach them how to behave as society so desires (this means for them how to control their nervous system.) Take your ego out of this. I assure you, children like my son are not planning to anger you nor do they mean to ruin your meal. They simply are trying to fit in.
Come from kindness always, dear Lady, as I will to those who will continue to throw comments at us.
Your Friend in Health and Happiness,
This is the fifth post in Naked Moxie’s Soulful Motherhood Series.
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