Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mama hijacks my diary again ..

Ok Abigail, I know this is your diary, but there is something I have to write in it, just for the record. I am sure other parents of special-needs children have encountered this kind of situation, I just need to get a sense of how they have reacted so I can plagiarize their attitude - my short fuse is not conducive to good "perfect stranger versus hyperactive special needs kid" harmony in public places. I need inspiration!

Today Abigail, to open our four weeks of holiday together, I took you to a fabulous natural park called "Miribel Jonage". We went with your friend Sandrine, the lovely girl who used to look after you at school; your very special school assistant. The two of you tied such a very strong bond last year, and although she no longer works in that school, she has wanted to keep in touch with you and we are very honoured cos Sandrine is a lovely, lovely girl who loves you so very much - she calls you her adoptive godchild! We hadn't seen her since school break-up in June, so this was a lovely opportunity to enjoy the friendship bonds again...

Abigail, we rented you a little Princess Chariot which hooked up behind my bike, and we zoomed off to enjoy the looooong and flaaaaaaat natural paths in the mysterious and exciting woods and dip our toes in the huge (and warm!) lake. You loved every minute!!!

We found a quaint little restaurant on the waters edge, and though you didn't much fancy your kiddy dish of finely-cut steak and chips, Sandrine and I enjoyed watching you run up and down the little path which ran in front of the restaurant tables. For once, you were totally free - no roads, no danger, just security fences all around, and 150m away the lakes edge which you didnt get too near because of your own apprehensions and the knowledge that you were being zealously observed by Mama and Sandrine. You enjoyed that freedom so much little girl... You would walk ten metres, turn round and wave at us for reassurance, and take a few more steps forward. At this apparent freedom, you were in your element! You were visibly beyond yourself with happiness and excitement at this new milestone : a new ability to part from Mama for a short while and go discover the world! Even though you knew we were watching and would never let you venture too far.

Abigail, you were a bit naughty and stole some crisps from an open bag on the beach. You little rascal! Next time you do that, don't nick crisps from a bag which is surrounded by ten people sitting in a circle having a good time on the lake beach : they are likely to catch you! But they thought it was funny and sent you straight back to your beckoning Mama who came down to the beach to reprimand your naughty antics!!

You eventually got bored of hanging out with the cool kids on the beach, and climbed back up to the table with Sandrine and I to munch a few chips and choke on a bit of steak. But I was jolly chuffed at your FIRST EVER restaurant outing! I reckon you did really well little Princess - a year ago you were on purée food and here you were chomping on a steak and chips - way to go little one!!

But eventually the conversation between Sandrine and me bored you too and you wandered off - you are hyperactive after all, its a medical thing and I know that its part of who you are, so I let you change from activity to activity because I know how impossible it is for you to stay put in one place. I wagered a bet with myself : I bet that you would do a tremendous job of eating in a public place, and in particular; that you would be able to eat food not tailor-made for Princess You. I won!!

Until two silly old hags started bitching. Ok, I will euphemise that a little. Until an elderly Mother and daughter yelled over to me - cigarette smoke accompanying the slander frothing forth from her mouth - that she wasn't the babysitter and I needed to watch over my daughter more carefully.

I ........ WENT ........BALLISTIC

I know I shouldn't have. I fully realise I over-reacted and the poor women probably didn't realise she had hit a whirlwind of repressed contention with just about everything linked with raising a child with special needs. I nearly thumped her - and that is not good.

Abigail had wandered over to her table. Abigail had wandered over to several tables before that, befriended one little girl a little younger than her, seduced an elderly couple and mildly irritated a man who didn't like the salt cellar being removed from his table. But he did smile. A little.

But this woman was smoking, and didn't want her butt ending up burning Abigail. So she yelled at me that she wasn't her babysitter.

Now one thing I haven't mentioned is : our lunch lasted 40 minutes. During those 40 minutes, I was probably sat at the table for a total of about 8 of them. I let Abigail wander a little, waving at her regularly to reassure her that she could go on, but would walk over to her when she wandered a little beyond my comfort zone (which was about 50m within the secured area).

When I mentioned to the women (at this stage in a perfectly civil manner) that I didn't much appreciate her comment about babysitting, she started yelling that I let my kid run riot, that I needed a little instrospection to question my ways (yes! she really said that!), and that just cos she was handicapped, that didn't mean I should let her get away with murder. And that she deserved to drown since I let her get so near to the beach on her own.

This was the moment my palm whisked itself 2mm from her face.

Am I supposed to lock Abigail at home because she is hyperactive? She cannot take medication until the age of six. Am I supposed to lock Abigail at home because she is mentally handicapped and has not yet grasped social graces, etiquette and protocol in any way? She has therapy for this. We chose to have lunch in a secure area where she could come to no harm, and I watched her. Very fricking carefully. So what is the deal? Abigail's handicap or this woman's wandering cigarette?

Needless to say, the whole thing blew up into a catty woman fight which nobody won. Abigail was oblivious to it all because she had found more friends in the neighbouring police station and was being oooohed and aaahed at whilst us bellicose women played "the expletive bidding auction game".

I think what pissed me off most about this was that I know it is not the last time someone is going to get naffed off with Abigail's inability to act like other children in a public place. She just cannot; it is literally not in her chromosomes. Does that mean she should should be locked away so she doesn't get in the way of non-handicapped life? Does that mean I will never be able to enjoy a lunch out with my daughter? I am so angry - mostly because I didn't slap that woman!