Went to the dentist yesterday, had to take RAD since he wouldn’t be quiet playing in his room and let the baby sleep while I was gone for that little bit. So he got to go with me. While waiting in the waiting room, he started talking to a woman next to us. A total stranger. He’s 10, this is taboo. She said “What? I didn’t hear you,” pleasantly, but which notified me that he was trying to start a conversation with her, as Mr. Charming does everywhere, with everyone, and I lightly smacked him on the leg and shook my head no at him, gave her a brief smile. She looked at me and said, “Oh it’s ok. I can talk to him.”
Mr. Charming is the kind to not disobey or act like a brat in front of total strangers he’s trying to charm, so he put his head down and pretended to see something very interesting on the floor. He knew what I meant and he knew what she meant, and he knew she had just crossed a line and all hell was about to break loose. ‘It’s ok, I can talk to him?’ I don’t know you, lady, no, you may not talk to my 10 yr old even if he did start the conversation! I’m surprised the fire in my eyes didn’t melt her on the spot. But I was good. I just shook my head slightly at her to indicate no it was NOT ok that my son talk to her and went back to my magazine. If she had pressed the issue, or if he had, she would have gotten an earful, but luckily, it was her time to go back and get tortured, uh, see the dentist. Because I had that feeling that she was going to push the issue, that she wasn’t going to let it go. And truth be told, my Mr. Charming will charm your socks off while he’s lifting your wallet and all your jewelry and you’ll walk away thinking, ‘what a nice boy’. Or what if he’s the type of kid that starts screaming that she hit him and suddenly she’s in jail for child abuse when she was just sitting there? Truthfully, lady, I was protecting you more than I was protecting my son from a stranger. But I was protecting him as well, because I don’t know you.
Which reminded me of someone’s story on a forum where their kid was playing with a neighbor kid, at the neighbor’s house. The same neighbor who’d called CPS on them multiple times for stories the RADling had told. No charges were ever filed, the lies were outrageous and easily found to be lies. And my first thought was, doesn’t anyone know what real abused children are like? Because they don’t go around telling everyone they meet how abused they are. They don’t show you a bruise and go into great detail how Mom or Dad beat them with some odd kitchen utensil in the middle of the night to get that bruise (the bruise that looks like they fell down on the playground, you know, the one from when they fell down on the playground?). If you’ve ever met a truly abused child who is still living in the abusive home, they are not all open and chatty about the abuse at home to everyone they meet. In fact, they may never share with anyone what’s going on and lie about if if asked. Why? Because they are scared of more abuse, more pain, worse things happening to them. You notice them because of their lack of interaction, their lack of care, wearing long sleeves in summer to hide the bruises, etc. CPS is no better, in most of these cases, but that’s a whole other can of worms I’m not going to open today.
So my thought was this: where has common sense gone? The woman who thinks she has a right to talk to my son and override my parental no, the neighbor who repeatedly calls CPS on another neighbor – even though the family has repeatedly provided her with information on the child, and the condition – but everyone else seems to think they know better than the parents. I wonder, is it only special needs parents who go through this, or is it all parents? Having multiple special needs kids of different varieties, I personally have experienced it a lot, I’ve had to teach a lot of non specialist doctors or therapists the intricate details of certain rare conditions my kid might have, and bring them up to date on the latest research, teachers who believe my developmentally delayed child should be doing macaroni craft projects instead of algebra, because he’s not good at reading, etc. (It did take awhile to train the neighbors not to feed my kids. But that was because they figured the kid was hungry, because kids eat a lot, NOT because they believed they weren’t being fed! Luckily my neighbors never put a bad thought towards us with my kid’s door to door begging for food and nobody believed him when he told them he hadn’t been fed for days.)
When did the parent become the complete idiot? Has it always been this way? Or is this a new thing? I know there are some bad parents out there – all of my kids came to me with some trauma or another, whether it was in utero or during childhood – but generally, outside of my circle, where parents keep their kids and send them to school and there are no large special needs, are those parents treated like idiots when it comes to their kid by pretty much everyone they come in contact with? Or is it just me, do I have idiot written on my forehead? Or is the multiple races of my children, they’re making a judgement about my character based on my children’s races? Or do I just look that stupid? (It’s possible.)
If you know the answer, please tell me. My patience with other adults is down about to zero with them thinking they know better about my kids than me. Now I will take constructive criticism from others, don’t get me wrong, I”m not saying I’m perfect or doing everything right, far from it. There’s a few teachers at our school that know us and our kids well enough that anything they say, I take immediately to heart. But at the dentist’s office, was that really a parenting teaching moment where you needed to teach me to be a better parent? Was I somehow harming my child by preventing him from talking to a total stranger, a conversation that he initiated?
Does this stuff happen to you? Let me know your stories in the comments. And if it’s just me… well, maybe I should wear my bangs long. Maybe there is a tattoo on my forehead.