This afternoon I found myself in another waiting room with my dear son, Eddie. We traveled hundreds of miles to see his ophthalmologist today and his endocrinologist tomorrow. This is a fairly routine trip for us, no new concerns, but one that must be repeated fairly often. As we sat in the waiting room, I realized I was not modeling very good parenting as a mother of a special needs child.
I really try to hold Eddie accountable for his behavior and squeeze in as much incidental learning as I can when we’re in public. I try to stop any repetitive behavior that wouldn’t be considered “appropriate” and I ask him to use his “indoor voice” when he insists on singing as loud as he can. I also try to explain everything he comes into contact with and encourage him to use his cane properly.
Today, I did very few of those things. We had been in the car for hours before we arrived at the doctor. My main goal was to leave him alone as much as possible so I didn’t push him over the edge. If I “nagged” too much or insisted on talking to him nonstop he would have been completely over-stimulated before he ever saw the doctor.
I knew there was a high risk for a complete meltdown when we walked in the door. We were checking in at the counter and Eddie was standing right next to me. He started complaining about the wait, because he has zero patience for anything that isn’t his idea, and then he leaned over to bite me. I jumped about a foot in the air and told him not to bite because it really hurts. The lady sitting behind us said to her companion, “Something is wrong with that kid.”
I’m not sure exactly how she meant it but something was wrong with him. He had been stuck in a car for a long time and was now being asked to be quiet and patient. Any child in his situation would have “something wrong” with them. I certainly didn’t take it personally; meaning the comment, the bite I took sort of personally.
Anyway, the appointment went great and Eddie behaved extremely well for all he was asked to do today. Even though I wasn’t being the educating mother, I was being understanding, and that was what he needed. On a funny note, when we left the doctor Eddie stopped and said, “Thank you for the birthday party.” I’m still not quite sure where that came from, but we all had a really good laugh about it. If Eddie thinks the doctor’s office is a party, I really need to try harder for his next birthday.