Last fall we took the kids out to eat for their good grades to a local restaurant. I always try to go somewhere like that prepared for if Nathan gets upset, so I brought a Game boy with Nathan’s favorite game (Mario Kart) and an IPod. We sat down and about a minute into our stay Jordan called and I told him where we were. Nathan saw me pull my phone out and talk to Jordan. Shortly after he then started whining and saying IPod. So, I offered him the IPod, which he refused. Then I got out the Game boy. He refused that as well.
Every once in a while I feel the need to be stubborn right back at Nathan. I didn’t want to give him my phone because I had brought other items that I knew he could and would play with. So, our lovely 15 year old started pitching a very big fit at the restaurant yelling very loudly “No” at everything I offered him. After 2 minutes of Nathan yelling Justin finally had to take him out to the car screaming and crying and we ended up taking our meal “to-go.” Yes, my stress level was at about a 10 out of 10 at that point. But I was stubborn and wasn’t going to back down.
Yes, I probably should have given him my phone and the evening would have been just fine….but what is that teaching Nathan? It is teaching him that if he pitches a big enough fit, that mom will give me anything I want. Is that what I really want to be teaching him? No, not really. I want to teach him that even though he has autism he has choice “A” and choice “B” and that Mom isn’t going to cave to whatever his whim is. Does that make me a bad mom, maybe…but maybe it doesn’t. We still had a great evening at home with our kids eating “to-go” food.
As I was waiting for our “to-go” food a sweet elderly woman that had witnessed the whole scene our family created came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. She told me, “You have great blessings awaiting you in heaven.” Now, I don’t usually tear up when strangers talk to me, but I did that night. I simply said, “Thank you.” To all you strangers out there, a little kindness and understanding goes a long way!
Kudos to all the moms or dads out there that have ever had to deal with a tantruming toddler or special needs child. It is never easy. Just going to the store or the restaurant requires special planning, a little stubbornness, and a lot of love. But don’t worry–blessings await you in heaven.