This is something I’ve not given that much thought to recently. What other families think of us, what our life is like and what’s “wrong” with our son.
When Jacob was little I was constantly aware that people stared or felt sorry fro us. I suppose it started with an innocent comment from a checkout lady in Asda…”He’s big for his age isn’t he?” “oh yes” I said. Well actually no, he’s way below the 25th percentile, It’s just that you think he’s 9 months old and actually he’s nearly 2 years old!
As he got older and it was more obvious ( and there’s nothing more obvious than a wheelchair) I was more aware of looks but there were no comments. When taking My daughter to a holiday event at the leisure centre years ago I can remember very clearly the most pitying look from an other mum. I was so angry ( not helped by the wheelchair access ramp being so steep I almost lost control of the tiny pre-school size chair. How you’d manage with an adult chair I don’t know) She had two small kids too, looked knackered, and much older than me. I couldn’t help thinking why hasn’t this happened to you? Awful I know, and now, a few more years down the line I don’t have thoughts like that, but it’s hard in the early days. While we were waiting one of her children slowly sidled up to Jacob’s chair, obviously curious. Quickly the child was pulled away. It was on the tip of my tongue to snap “it’s not bloody catching you know”. I’m so glad I didn’t..
While I was ranting about this later to my friend over a coffee she reminded me that people usually only want to be kind. This mum had pulled her child away cos she was worried about what she was about to say. We laughed when she reminded me of the “Goblin” story. My friend and her family had gone to eat in a burger restaurant with some other friends. In a corner booth there was a man on his own tucking in to his meal. She told me how he was a little odd looking and had “I’m going bald but can still grow my hair” hair in a pony tail. To her horror as they sat down at a table near this gentleman, my friends little girl (about 3 at the time) stood on her chair, pointed at this poor man and announced that there was a “goblin eating his tea!!!” .. When my friend tried to say in hushed tones that that wasn’t very kind and could she sit down and be quite, her daughter protested that she “wasn’t lying …and it was a REAL LIVE GOBLIN!”
So perhaps when children are pulled away from Jacob its because parents don’t want a “goblin” situation!! That’s what I like to think anyway