We went to the park today.
After we had been there for about 20 minutes, a guy walks over pushing his daughter in a stroller.
“Good Morning” I said.
I hate it when people don’t say anything and you’re supposed to just pretend their not there.
“Good Morning.” he said.
“She’s too cute!”
“Thank you. We’re trying to get rid of her morning naps, so I’m trying to keep her busy.”
“I get that” I laughed.
“How old is he?” He asked.
The way he asked sounded a little funny… I could place it. It wasn’t completely curiosity… it wasn’t the “sweet” awww how adorable is he – kind of question….
I smiled and said, “He turned 2 in May.”
He smiled… but his smile was different.
“How old is she?”
They walked over to the swing to play.
I normally get the “Wow… he’s really big for his age”… and he didn’t say anything. And that smile… what was that? It wasn’t like mine – it wasn’t a completely mean sneering smile…
It took me a bit to really think about what his facial expressions were trying to say. It’s harder for me to read people when they’re wearing sunglasses.
Then I realized Jax was drinking out of his bottle.
And that drinking out of a bottle after 1 is generally not “socially acceptable”.
It’s funny how you forget or just don’t care about social norms when you’re in your little Autism Bubble house. I never get to leave, let alone interact with other parents and their kids. So I forget sometimes how mean people can be. Or how mean they can be without really being mean.
When Justin and Tyler were this age, I would have noticed that the guy was coming and hid that bottle before he saw it. And if he did see it, I would have explained myself. Telling him about his sensory issues and how making sure he was hydrated was more important than the vessel the liquid comes in.
I would have felt like a bad Mom.
I would have kicked myself. And then tried getting them to use sippy cups AGAIN… frustrating them and myself. Making myself feel even worse.
Because a person who doesn’t know us, or our story judged what we were doing… judged my parenting.
And I realized… I still cared a little… but not like before. Not enough to do ANYTHING about it.
I stood there with my kids, offered him some snacks for his daughter, and watched my kids, they’re happy and playing and not caring about whether or not they were doing anything wrong in front of others.
And I realized just how far I’ve grown in this journey of ours and tilted my chin up a little higher.