I wrote a post on tonight's parent/teacher conference night at Walter's school. I made a comment that I couldn't take Alex's stroller and I got a question...
"Curious - why no stroller for A? I'd drag a stroller for 4 if I had the money."
I could mention a hundred thousand reasons why not, like 17 stairs to the front door, but they'd all just be covering my embarrassment of the truth.
Truth is, I'm scared.
I act like things don't bother me. I hide behind anger or sarcasm or mockery. I do my best to turn it back on them. I crack jokes, I subtly or straight up make fun of what is said or call them out on their ignorance, arrogance, and bad manners to make sure they know their words can't touch me... but, really, sometimes it bothers me. Quite a bit.
"Frankly, it's embarrassing that you cannot even get your child to walk when he is obviously capable of doing so (as well as being capable of doing many other things that you are not making him do)."
"The fact that you apparently have the same problems with your other kids also suggests that you need to start acting like a real parent to them."
"And I would suggest that Alex is capable of learning to listen to you and not wander if he isn't a rebellious brat."
"Perhaps you could teach your son to not step right in front of people? You and he are absolutely entitled to go though your life not getting The Look, but, um, teaching your kid to give others the personal space to which they are entitled would likely work better."
To hear this from a stranger is fine. Well, it's not, but it's not unexpected. As one of them said, I can easily say that they don't know the situation, that they don't know Alex, that they can't possibly understand. I can take a few minutes to set them straight and have fun doing it until I actually get pissed off.
But what would the school think seeing me roll him down the hall nice and easy, calm and content? They have to walk him all day. If not in the same halls we're walking, in halls that are similar.
Or, even worse, what are the other special needs parents going to think? They are walking their kids. What is wrong with me that I'm too lazy to put the effort in when I am no different from them and Alex is no different from their kids? Granted, I haven't seen anyone else's hand wrapped in their kid's shirt yet but I'm usually busy making sure my own kid doesn't run off.
Their judgment I can't take. Not on something I'm not 100% sure on.
I can take his stroller to the doctor's office, the store, to the library, the zoo, wherever we go that he won't be able to walk the whole way or stay with us without getting overwhelmed by the things around him and the things expected of him and drop to the floor or bolt for the door but to take it to school?
No. I have a hundred thousand reasons I can give you...