My child is a screamer.
Please don’t judge me.
HI! Have we met? My name is Elissa, and I’m the Mama to 4 beautiful children. Three have been with me from the beginning, and my youngest was adopted at age 7 from Russia.
It’s not clear exactly what happened to our youngest son before he joined our family, but a special recipe of neglect, trauma and abuse has left our nine year old functioning at the developmental level of a four year old, both cognitively and socially. He doesn’t do crowds, he doesn’t do stores, and he doesn’t like it when life deviates from his picture schedule.
As his adoptive mother I’m new to this whole world of special needs parenting. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to figure out that my new son’s temper tantrums were fear based, not orneriness. I’m still sort of trying to figure out what will send my son into panic mode. It’d be so much nicer if my son would come to me 10 minutes before he had a meltdown to tell me “Mother, I’m simply over stimulated by the options at the grocery store today. If you would like to avoid having me throw bananas at you, you’d be wise to take me home soon.”
Yeah, that doesn’t happen.
I’m the one with a screaming kid in the checkout line. Fortunately my little guy is the size of a six year old so I get a slight measure of grace from curious onlookers. But mostly I can feel their stink eyes burning into the back of my head. Their judgmental thoughts echoing in my psyche,
That boy is too big to be riding around in a buggy. Not to mention throwing a tantrum.
Can’t she keep that kid quiet?
Just give him your phone and shut him up already. (So he can throw it across the store? I think not.)
I hear these sentiments because I have thought them myself. I have callously assumed the screaming kid on the next row was just being ornery to get a treat. I have also assumed that his Mama was too lazy and self centered to make him get his act together.
Oh sweet Jesus did I really think these things about other women? How could I have been so judgmental? Thank you Jesus for bringing my new baby to me to help me be a better Mama. A less judgmental Mama. A Mama ready to link arms with those other harried Mamas in the checkout line and do our best with what we’re given.
Elissa Peterson is a slightly off kilter Mama to 4 who likes to pretend she has her act together. She writes about the joys of dancing through life with a very special 9 year old glued to her hip on her blog: Don’t Let Life Pass You By.