When Arizona was around 2 years old, I put her in the stroller and headed to the closest Wells Fargo. I needed to do a quick transaction inside the bank, and thought it would be a good idea to take my child out for a walk in the fresh air.
I must note that Arizona never loved the stroller. She always wanted to be held – either in my arms or in the Baby Bjorn. HOWEVER, she was big at this point, and a stroller was much more convenient for me.
On the way to the bank, Arizona started to fuss. Because of her general demeanor, this wasn’t a cause for concern. I was definitely used to it. But, it escalated rapidly and turned into a full blown meltdown just as I was called up to the counter by the next available bank teller. No one could hear anything while Arizona was wailing. I was flustered and anxious, but needed to complete my transaction that day.
I will never forget the look on this woman’s face at the next teller. With disdain and judgment in her voice, she turned to me and said, “You need to learn how to control your child.” I quickly snapped back, “You must not be a mother.” (Turns out she wasn’t – ha!)
These scenarios have repeated themselves generously over the years. Do I explain to everyone in the vicinity that my child has severe sensory issues and is thrown off by the simplest thing? Unexpected noises, too much light, multiple colors coming toward her at high velocity; all of these things that we so effortlessly process are almost impossible for her to do. Hence, the state of overstimulation that can occur on a simple walk down the street.
It reminds me of a Mother Theresa quote : “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Since becoming a mother to a challenging child, I have developed a keen sense of compassion for parents I see struggling with their children. We never know what’s really going on. LOVE, not judge.