(Originally wrote September 2014)
I'm sorry my kid annoyed you at the store today. I'm sorry my kid ruined 30 seconds of your day by his unexplainable outrageous behavior. I'm sure to you this shows as to my poor parenting skills that I allowed him to carry on as such throughout the store.
I'm sorry my kid annoyed you at the family function. I saw your eyes rolling back in their sockets when he starting yelling and then when I tried to calm him down, I'm sure I was the talk of the afternoon when he hauled off and hit me.
I'm sorry for the way my kid acted at church today. I'm sure you said an extra prayer for us as I dragged him kicking and crying to the back of the sanctuary. Or the school function that we had to leave, or really any place I've taken him.
I've seen the looks, the eye rolls, the whispers behind your hand as my kid and I leave a room, a store, a restaurant, etc.
Guess what? I'm sorry too. And I'm sad. I love him more than anything in the world. And what you don't know is that while his unexplainable and outrageous behavior may have ruined 30 seconds of your day, I have this unexplainable and outrageous behavior EVERY SINGLE DAY.
He's 3, almost 4 and he doesn't talk. He yells, screams, kicks, hits, throws, stomps his foot, pushes, and has even slapped me across the face on more than one occasion. I have anxiety taking him anywhere because I know he's unpredictable. I don't know why he doesn't want to talk. But yes, your unsolicited advice that I just tell him to use words is absolutely astounding! I wish I would have thought of that earlier. Why, it's almost magical. I just tell him to use words and WHAM! My problems are fixed.
Did you also know that while he may have annoyed you for 30 seconds today, I rarely take him anywhere because it's exhausting. It's a fight to get him dressed, feed, teeth brushed and into the car without it being a raging war. Do you know that most mornings by the time I get three kids dressed, lunches packed, bags packed, kids dressed and ready for school or daycare, that I'm so exhausted I could just crawl back into bed. Or that most mornings, I don't do my make-up until I get to work because I cry after I've dropped everyone off. Did you know that his siblings are also annoyed by him? Some days our house is like a war zone. It's all dependent upon this little one's mood.
We try to avoid taking him to the store unless I can go with just him. We avoid family functions if it falls during the middle of the day. His dad stays home from church so that I can still go with the other two. If we do go somewhere as a family, we take two vehicles in case he blows. We avoid any situation where it may cause him to lose it. Did you know that we spend a lot of time at home because of him, and the looks, and the whispers, and the eye rolls, and the unsolicited parenting advice?
Did you know that lately, my favorite time of the day is after we've spent almost an hour trying to get him to sleep, when I can then lay down next to him in his bed and watch him be peaceful.
We've been to doctors and they tell me nothing is wrong with him. He's in speech therapy and goes to school. We've tried time outs, strict routines, and even spankings. We've read every parenting site we can find about toddlers and anxiety and temper tantrums and defiance and every other subject we can possible think of. I've begged doctors to just medicate him so our house can be peaceful. But he doesn't have ADD, ADHD, autism, or anything else that they can find. I've begged the doctors to medicate me so I can just get through the day sometimes.
Please don't judge me because my child has a meltdown. Please don't judge my child because he had a meltdown. And please, for the love of all things holy, at least wait until I've left the store or am out of the driveway, before you roll your eyes at me and my child.