Having a son who doesn’t talk puts a big target on my back. Cooper is different and yet he looks like a completely adorable, average boy. And in most cases he is. You would never know by looking at him that he doesn’t say any words. There are a lot of situations where people stare at us. For example, Cooper does a lot of high picture ‘talking’ in all vowels. Often, it is very loud. If we are at Target or wherever he will point and ‘talk’ away. Usually, he will get progressively louder and more animated because we don’t understand what he is saying. People stare. It’s heartbreaking. And I get mad. Mad at Cooper for doing it, made at myself for getting mad and mad at the A-hole staring at us.
I feel that there are 3 reasons why people stare at us when Cooper is have a meltdown (I am sure other moms can relate):
1. They are judging us.
Judging our parenting. Judging me. Judging Cooper. Judging the bag of cookies I am ripping open and giving him just so we can get out of the store. Thanking God they are not dealing with my son. What they don’t know is he can’t talk. He can’t tell me what he wants or why he is mad or frustrated. They don’t know that my husband and I are so worn down sometimes we could just give up and that their stares are crushing to us.
2. They can relate.
All toddlers have meltdowns and tantrums. It’s not just my son. I always make sure to give a nice smile to a fellow mom when they are encountering the dreaded tantrum or whatever. We’ve all been there.
3. They feel bad for me.
This is the worst one for me. I don’t want people to feel bad for me. It’s humiliating. If Cooper acts out in the waiting room at his speech therapy appointments people stare at me and I feel 2 inches big. The receptionist ALWAYS stares at me and it makes me insane. Jamie said I should call her out but that is so not me.
Having a son like Cooper has changed me in so many ways. Too many to list! But I will tell you that it has made me aware of children and their behaviors. And what it is doing to the moms and dads. My heart breaks for them because I know all to well what they are going through.