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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tonight we went out to dinner. You may recall that I have two children with special needs.

Anyway, so mid-way through the meal we hear what sounds to me like a child crying. There was a child sitting about five tables behind us in the uncrowded restaurant who is just around ds' age. We had said hello to her when we came in. Anyway, so when I heard the crying (I have hearing loss myself and have difficulty telling where some sounds come from), I assumed it was the child.

Much to my great pleasure, ds starts signing "baby." I was ssssooooooo happy because that is the first time I have seen him sign "baby." I knew the child behind us was not a baby, but I figure that ds knows she is a young kid, and he knows that babies cry, and the fact that he is putting all this together is fabulous. Plus, he noticed the crying! And a NEW sign!! How great is that?! So I start getting all excited and saying to him, "Yes, a baby is crying. I hear it too," and signing "baby" back to him over and over. ds signed baby a number of times before we left, but true to form did not give an indication of why. However, I just keep talking about the baby crying, etc. with him.

On the way home from dinner, dw confronts me. Apparently there was a much older child in a wheelchair in the table right next to ours who was making these noises. Clearly this was a child expressing herself, not a baby crying.

I feel like such a jerk. I had wondered why the woman sitting in the table next to us kept glaring at me. I truly hadn't seen the child at the table next to ours, or heard that this is where the noises were coming from. I had looked over at their table a few times as they came in and everything, and somehow missed seeing this kid.

When dw told me, I felt like crawling in a hole. This is right on the heels of me saying something to another mother of a child with special needs (also a child who uses a wheelchair) about the fact that my children are not "wheelchair bound" but both have special needs. I realized on my way home from that experience that this was not probably the correct terminology, and that "wheelchair bound" probably has a conotation/tone that I totally did not intend. I was so red in the face as I thought about it.

Why can't I get these things right?! I am just completely mortified.
 

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forgive yourself, you didn't intend to be harmful. believe me, there are so many embarassing moments in the back of my mind that pop up from time to time and I mentally kick myself in the butt! like the time I said "why didn't you just give me up for adoption if you didn't want me!" to my mother- in front of my close friend who I knew to be adopted and her mother!!! (granted I was only 13, but that haunts me to this day!) we ALL have moments we are ashamed of.

on the other hand yay!!! for signing baby! DD just recently started doing that one too. it's such a cute sign, sometimes dd gets so worked up about it that she's rocking the entire top half of her body vigorously
 

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Agreed that we all have these moments! The great thing is that if you had known, you'd have been so sensitive to the situation. Our wider sense of the world just increases with our kids with SNs, and you'll continue to go forth and bring kindness and awareness to these situations. Hugs mama.
 

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This happens with adults in the special-needs world too, all the time. Being (currently) "invisibly" disabled, I sometimes offend "visibly" disabled people by, for instance, following someone in a wheelchair because I know they're heading for the accessible entrance that I can't find, or window-shopping their mobility equipment (hmmmm... her scooter is four-wheel but pretty narrow... I wonder how it would fit in my car?)
 

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It happens.
The important part is how you felt when you realized the whole truth of the situation. The only way you should really feel bad is if you _didn't_ have a response, or if you could just blow it off.

You're sensitive, and that's a wonderful thing.
 

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I agree, we've all done it. The fact that you feel terrible about it proves that you are not an a**.

You said you have hearing loss - maybe you could set up some sort of signal with DW in case it happens again? Like a kick under the table or a special hand signal or something.

Take it easy on yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone for your responses. I guess I just needed to put this out there somewhere. Okay, ready to move on...
 
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