Its Halloween. Tonight a lot of creatures will visit your door. Be open minded. The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy might have poor fine motor skills. The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy might have motor planning issues. The child who does not say trick or treat or thank you might be shy or non-verbal. The child who looks disappointed when he sees your bowl might have an allergy. The child who isn't wearing a costume at all might have Sensory Processing Disorder or autism. Be nice. Be patient. Its everyone's Halloween. Make a mom feel good by making a big deal of her special child.
It is a good reminder that maybe we, as in parents and society, should not be so quick to judge that woman who has her 5 year-old in a stroller (seriously, do you honestly think she would be pushing her child around in a stroller if she didn't have to?) Or that child who is screaming in the shopping cart without her shoes in 50 degree weather (aka me and the Ellie Bear and yes, I am aware she should be wearing shoes and socks. Thanks for asking me if I am aware it is cool out). Or the mother who refuses to give her child foods with high fructose corn syrup or red dye #5 or anything processed in a plant that works with oats.
You do not know the situation. You do not know the child. Yet many people have no qualms about dolling out unwanted, unsolicited advice. Perhaps the child is in a stroller because he tires easily or maybe he has cerebral palsy or he just had a broken leg. Perhaps the screaming child is trying to cope with the environment which feels hostile to her. Maybe the lights are emitting a horrendous buzz that is deafening to her and feels like fiberglass breaking into her eardrums. It is also possible that diet plays such a huge role in the behavior of a child. Maybe he is allergic to corn and oats or is on a special diet for medical purposes.
I have a child who screams in the store unless I am shaking the cart. She also casts off her shoes no matter how I try to keep them on; short of stapling them to her feet. Maybe I should try duct tape. Ellie also chews on her shoes, which I KNOW is nasty so you do not need to tell me. It is why I bring a "spare" unworn shoe for such oral craving instances. Oh the looks I get. As society and as parents, we are so quick to judge. We are so quick to give out advice.
Remember this, no one knows your child as well as you. At least, that is what I keep reminding myself when I get such stares or unwanted advice.
We are all mothers (and fathers) trying our best to encourage our children to grow and navigate life to the best of their abilities. Some children just need a little more encouragement or help than others. I get it. After all, I am the one walking around Target with the sensory-seeking, screaming, dairy-allergic child who is mouthing the grocery cart handle, throwing her shoes into the aisles, and still wearing a bib.
I hope that everyone had a great (and safe) Halloween. It is the only day of the year when you can walk up to strangers and beg them to give you candy. Here are some pictures. Chunky Chicken was a fail due to a bit of well-time reflux. Fortunately, Ellie still fit in last year's costume. . . barely.
|Ellie with my Godson Grant and little Grace|
|Trick-or-Treating is such hard work. It is important to stay hydrated.|
|Notice Ellie is signing "daddy".|