Tuesday, January 29, 2013

what happens in Target

Today I ran a marathon... My time was 13 hours and ten minutes. 

I counted down the minutes to put Parker to bed this evening so I could turn on the TV for Grey and just write... 

Tonight, I didn't enjoy the small things. That's OK sometimes... 

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Pretty much the entire 5-7pm bewitching time period is my most frightening time of Mothering. Especially when Michael is out of town...Dinner is totally not my favorite.

But Grey just came over to my side of the bed and cuddled up under my arm...a rare moment of freely offered affection to the lady that yelled at him all day long... Thanks, Grey...I needed that. 

WARNING: This blog post will contain the phrase ape shit an inappropriate number if times. If you have a problem with that- skip this post. The Thesaurus didn't have an alternative and really- is there anything else with quite the same impact?

I don't take offense by looks I get when Grey is having a meltdown. I always see at least one set of sympathetic eyes from another Mom who just gets it.  I rarely get rude comments because who has time to talk when your kid is freaking out and laying in the middle of a parking lot? 

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Target trips can go either way. In and out and no one gets hurt...or mad chaos... Today held the latter... I am grateful for the older woman who sweetly said- Awwwyou poor baby- when both Parker and Greyson were crying. I looked up with grateful eyes -thinking she was talking to my boys and I realized she was actually talking to me...

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It's amazing what kids get away with these days- said Susan, our cashier at Target today while witnessing Grey in a stage 4 crazy tantrum...

I want to be good to people- even if they aren't good to me... Going off is not my style and I think it dilutes my argument. Why do I care what Susan the cashier at Target thinks about my Life? I don't. Mostly. And if I do- I have to peel back some layers to see... why?

At first I wondered- what in the Hell does that sentence even mean? 

It's amazing what kids get away with these days... 

Is she speaking philosophically- like about the younger shooter in Newton- or is she seriously referring to my 3 1/2 year old son's melt down in her line? 

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Oh Susan - you need my blog more than anyone.

All I said back to Susan was- My son is Autistic. He's allowed to get away with a little more by my standards...

There were a million things I said in my head as I walked away though... 

Susan- I'm not a bad mom because my son went ape shit in your line today. I know it's hard to understand unless you've been in my shoes...You can't imagine how hard my son works every single day just to be able to function in public...Clearly he still is not up to your standards. Everyone is entitled to a bad day... Even 3-year olds...especially 3 year olds with Autism who can't talk-- but still have things that they need and want... 

I know it seems like I should be more strict with my son- or do some magical right thing to make him stop screaming but he's just not wired that way...for almost a year I thought that meant that I was a terrible Mom.  Now I know the appropriate thing to do is for me to remain calm. You may think I'm not even upset inside- but often I am... I just have to be stronger than the anger. I take deep breaths. I ignore Greyson's outburst and I redirect his inappropriate behavior to more appropriate responses. It takes time and finesse. I'm just doing the best I can every single day. Today I tried my best. 

Susan, I'm not a bad Mom because my son went ape shit in your line today at Target when I tried to take the items out of his hands for you to scan them. I'm a bad mom because my son Parker was in his pajamas until 1pm. I'm a bad Mom because for lunch Parker had a cookie and then Ruffles and a pouch of baby food at Target. I'm a bad mom because I left my kids locked in my car watching a movie in the Target parking lot so I could go in with shaking angry hands and be nice to you. 

I handed you a sticker and said, I write a blog about Autism and I think you need to read it. 

Susan, I really hope you do.

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It was totally one of those trips to Target...

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And friends- in my opinion- this isn't an Autism travesty. If Greyson wasn't Autistic- Susan's comment still wouldn't have been OK. Being a parent of a child on the Spectrum is tough...Being a parent of any child is tough too...We all have moments where we think we are failing...

All over the World there is someone saying something out of line...something judemental and incredibly not helpful...something that makes you feel bad and makes them sound like a complete and clueless boob. Something that in no way contributes to something beneficial or positive... Something that slowly crushes a soul just a little at a time with each passive aggressive hammer hit to the head.  

They can be disguised as helpful suggestions and unwanted advice... they can come from friends and from family. They can sound like- Are you going to {wear/eat/say/do} that? They push our buttons and mirror our internal insecurities and make us feel less than enough. 

There are Susans everywhere all over the World. Each one is a learning opportunity. It helps show me who I don't want to be...it helps me realize how important it is to me to use my words for good. It helps me realize that I don't care what unaware people say...It helps me realize that my best- even my crappy best- is truly good enough...

And to eat up some of the bewitching hours this evening- we went and broke bread at Woodward Park... 

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Susan- I am totally a bad Mom because I forget to bring shoes for my son Parker...and it's January... But not because my son went ape shit at Target.

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We are all just humans doing the very best we can... Yes, even Susan. 

Happy Wednesday...


  1. "we are all just humans doing the very best we can..."
    Such true words...

  2. None of that makes you a bad mom...because that would mean I'm a bad mom. And I just don't have the time to take that on too! ;)
    And it wasn't a cookie, they were M&Ms. But they were peanut so I counted them as a protein! ;)
    Here's to getting up tomorrow and doing it all over again. Bring it on!!

    1. Amen, you are far from a bad mom and "Susan" should have learned, since she deals with the public, to keep her thoughts to herself. I never understood "screaming children" in any store,"why cant that mom make it stop?" untill I had one of my own. I hope she does read your blog and it makes her stop and think next time she feel entitled to make a comment about anyones child.

  3. Thanks for being the bigger person and making the difference. I would have told Susan to suck it...so who's the bad mom now? And ape shit is one of my favorite phrases.

  4. What susan said had everything to do with Susan and nothing to do with you.
    But it still hits those tender spots, and hurts.
    Would the dinner hour not be such a disappointment if we didnt watch a lifetime of tv commercials of kids and parents smiling gratefully at each other at the dinner table? Just like the commercials of mom In her perfectly clean house?

  5. I loved this post!

  6. Something that in no way contributes to something beneficial or positive...
    I have challenged myself to be kinder. And I am a "fake it til ya make it" believer - so I am striving to pay 3 people a compliment each day. Not that they are fake compliments, but maybe something that ordinarily wouldn't roll off my tounge. And the response is so very worth the effort :) I don't always take the time to comment, but I am here & I love your blogs. I am smitten with your boys & I believe in your cause. I try to be the sympathtic eyes in the crowd because it certainly could be me & my boy. A little compassion & understanding goes a long way. Thank you <3 Jennifer

  7. Susan is a moron. I feel sorry for those who don't seek to understand and merely pass judgment. You handled the situation far better than I would've. My response would've been "It's amazing what cashiers get away with saying these days....or THINK they can get away with saying in the hopes that a customer won't complain and get them fired." But you are a better person than I am. :-)

    1. Love that response .. that would have been me.

  8. Ah, the dreaded "time to let go of object in your hand" moment. Mine would respond by furiously banging his head on anything in front of him, even if it meant folding himself in half to reach the handle bar of the cart. So, I would shove a replacement object in his hand right after I took the object away, (often the highly processed, sugary type.) Bribery? Check. Reinforced bad behavior? Check. Bad mom? Check. Regret it later but have to survive? Check....

  9. Been there. I have left a full cart in the middle of Target before, so kudos to you for getting out of there with all your groceries. 5 to 7 is hard for everyone. I have three boys 2, 3, and 5. When my husband goes out of town we stay late at my son's school and play on the playground and then drive directly to Chick-fil-A. Do what you need to do to make the day work the best it possibly can for the three of you, let everything else go, and to hell with everyone else. Carry on Warrior Mom, carry on!

    1. Stay late at school and then go directly to Chick-fil-a...I have to remember this as the weather gets warmer!! I dread the time in between school and dinner when he is gone. What a simple, smart solution!

  10. Sometimes I really think that people make comments/suggestions/remarks without truly considering what is going on with that person. Everyone is having their own daily battles and we should always be aware of that and encourage anyone that we can in a positive way, or just don't say anything at all.

  11. Chrissy, I continue to love and find inspiration in your posts. Target can be such a great time killer or a nightmare for my son. We had a cashier who tried to "reason" with my son during a tantrum. He then asked me what caused it and when I said I don't know (cause I couldn't bring myself to say I made him stop looking at hair dryers), he wanted me to think about where it started. I was like "WHAT?" I don't want to talk to you...just GET ME OUT OF HERE! You did much better than me in this situation. I also applaud you for trying to gently educate Susan on autism. You did good, girl!

  12. Chrissy, not one of those things makes you a bad mom. You are amazing. Thanks for this post. I think we've all had moments kinda like that at Target.

  13. I somehow missed this yesterday and I am so glad I went back and read it. This was my favorite post! (although I am sure there will be a new one soon...you are awesome!) I used to be a Susan. I was a preschool teacher so I saw the best and the worst of children and I was often quick to judge what kind of parenting must be going on. Then I had my own kid.

    You never know what someone's situation is. Sure sometimes you see a mommy who is clearly not doing her best. But other times you have just caught a bad moment. A few weeks ago I was with my own mother and we saw a woman literally dragging a screaming toddler down the street. My mom muttered some comment about her but I shook my head. "Maybe we just saw her at her absolute worst. Maybe that kid has been screaming all day and this mom is at her wits end. We don't know what her life is like."

    I have sure had my share of bad mommy moments!

  14. I am Jennifer Bickle's aunt and she shared your writings. I taught kindergarten in the public schools for 26 yrs and recently retired. I so wish I had your posts to share with other parents of children on the spectrum. Parents of all children need support but the parents of children who seek to fit in are those I feel need our arms around them and hugged tightly and to be reassured they are doing the best they can. I commend you for your writings and giving the opportunity for others to see through your eyes the struggles you encounter and the joy you receive as a parent. I think your writings are love letters to your son. Blessings to you and your family. Good job!
    Lucy Welch
    Camdenton MO

  15. Boy Susan would have had a field day with me a month ago at my Target! Whew! SCREAMING Matthew, climbing up my shoulder, down my back because he would no longer sit in the cart and this bad mommy forgot his bottle. That would have solved everything. My cashier was so nice and understanding she helped me get my keys out of my purse because I could not find them and her and I laughed together as Matthew turned purple from rage. I got home and actually called the store manager and told him how WONDERFUL she was and it felt so good to do that. Send Susan my way and I will introduce her to the ONLY cashier I use at Target. I know her hours! lol Shame on you Susan, you must not have kids of your own. Never ever judge ANYONE!!!!! You are much nicer than I would have been. :)