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Christmas is a hectic time of year for shopping. Most of us dread the long lines, sold out sale items and kids having major meltdowns in the checkout aisles. But while I was out shopping the other day I saw something that so reminded me of when Carter was younger. There was a child that obviously had special needs, having a complete tantrum in the middle of the store, and the mom is trying to deal with it while people just walked by and glared at her. The look on their face was one I have seen many times: horrified shock that she was disciplining this poor child. She wasn’t out of control or anything like that, she had just had it with this kid and was at her limit too.
It took me back so many years ago when Carter was finally mobility independent. You know that period when you start teaching them to walk in the store, rather than put them in a cart? Most kids go through this around 2? Carter was probably closer to 4 and had an extra few years worth of excitement in him. He would roll down the aisles and sweep stuff off the shelves in pure joy. And I would get mad. Like any other parent would, like I did with Connor, and I would tell him “if you can’t behave yourself I will take that wheelchair away and you will sit in the cart” and people would glare at me with their fingers ready to dial CPS and I would say “what? he is a KID! Would you let your kid knock stuff off the shelves? Of course not!”
That is the thing most important to remember. Under all the ‘special’ is a KID. One we hope will grow up to be a productive, functioning member of society…..not an adult who purposely knocks jars off grocery shelves. Yes, our requests may sound weird to you because a wheelchair or whatever equipment isn’t part of your vocabulary, but the way we discipline our kids isn’t really much different. Yes, I have sent him to his room, yes, I have grounded, yes, I have lost my temper and yelled at him. I am a mom, not a saint.
Please don’t hold special needs moms to sainthood standards. Our kids may be ‘special’ but they sure can be brats at times too!