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That Day at the Park

July 23, 2013

On our way to the park. Its going to be a long walk

A post shared by Laura Martin (@lauralea1018) on

I gave myself a week to process this. Because while autism is a series of a thousand celebrations and triumphs of small skill steps reached and tiny goals accomplished, it is also a thousand heart breaks.  And this was a big one.   I was scared to post this because when these things happen it is a slap in the face that your child is NOT normal, they do NOT belong and you can’t make people accept them.  You see how the world sees them.   It makes me want to go hide in a bubble.

I was on a high from VBS. The children were enjoying themselves and I was getting a LOT of things done that had built up from being gone at the beach.  We had a great beach trip and I was so excited that both children were able to attend vacation bible school and handle it.   After they got out of VBS this day, I suggested we walk to the park.  I despise parks.  Full of children talking and doing things that my child can’t.  Other 4 year olds asking questions and responding.   Awkward attempts of socialization that fall flat.  How to explain. Do I need to explain?  Am I explaining or apologizing? Why the hell am I apologizing?  Its agony. Torture.

But like I said I was on my high. Rett was so much more social and talkative.  He was doing great.  And I figured this late in the day and during dinner time for most of my southern neighbors, it would be relatively vacant.  Its just a little neighborhood park.  And it was.  Almost vacant. Except for 3 little 6 year old boys.

Rett is starting to identify with older children. His peers are no longer 2 and 3 year olds.  They range from 4-6.   Gone are the good ol’ days where kids are too little to be mean or bullies or name call.  We’re heading into the badlands now.

Evie and Rett played in the little area for awhile but soon ventured over to the other 3 boys.  They were very interested in playing. The other 3 were playing chase or whatever little boys play.  Immediately they started name calling. I thought they were establishing hierarchy of the play group and testing my kids’ reactions.  Neither of my children understand name calling.   They were calling them ‘chubby head’ and ‘baby’.   I ignored hoping things would be settled soon.  The older boys would be in charge and my littles would just follow along being included how they could.  It soon got physical though and I had to go closer to show my presence.   No other parents were present.  They were pushing on Evie and when she came down the slide she had a large red mark on her arm where one boy had grabbed her.  She told me the ‘friends’ hurt her. I told her to go play somewhere else.  Then the 3 boys almost pushed Rett down the slide while he was standing up.  He was screaming and so afraid and I just broke.  I had held it in to see if they could work it out.  I snarled at the little boy where his mother was.  And how old was he.  That Rett was only 4 and was he supposed to be name calling and pushing around on other children? Did I need to go have a talk with his mother?   And the lines were drawn.

My two children on my side and these 3 boys on the other. There was no chance of them being included now.  The little boys continued to look over at me to make sure I was watching. I knew they still wanted to push around on my children but were now scared enough to at least care that I was standing there.

Made it

A post shared by Laura Martin (@lauralea1018) on

I came home and messaged a lot of my special needs mommies and talked to them about how they handle this.  Explained the situation and got feedback.   What kills me is that these children seemed to sense from the beginning that mine were different.   Later on when more children had joined their tag game, one of the boys tried to tag Rett and have him play. The other boy quickly said ‘oh he’s not playing’.   We went home.  My children were blissfully unaware (for now) but my heart was shattered.  Rett did everything right. He joined their play, smiled at them, said hi.  He played chase like they were.  One of the boys sort of play fought with him and he play fought back.   I as an adult can’t even see the social faux pas he made. So how am I supposed to teach him?  When you are down on the totem pole son, you don’t make suggestions of other games to play. You can’t tell them the play equipment is a submarine.  No matter how excited I am at seeing your imagination and hearing your words, to them you are trying to take over. You, the baby.  You, the one that can’t talk right.  The one that flaps his hands and jumps around funny. You have to go with the flow or they are going to test you.  With hateful words and mean hands.  My beautiful little boy.   Sometimes I hate the world we live in.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2013 1:35 am

    Oh Laura, I’m so sorry you had to go through this. Those kids are assholes. Maybe it had nothing to do with them being “different” just that those kids knew yours were younger and of course strangers. I’m glad you stepped up and said something. There is no room in this world for little bullies.

  2. July 24, 2013 4:45 pm

    Ughhhh! We’ve encountered some bullying already, and with other 3-4 year olds at that! I’m dreading when Dylan gets older and can comprehend that he is being teased or bullied. I hate that the parents NEVER seem to be around when it is happening, or they do absolutely NOTHING if they are there. It is not our job to discipline their kids, but bet your ass I will say something if they don’t. I firmly believe this type of behavior starts at home.

    I am just so mad on your behalf because of what happened. I’m SO sorry you had to experience that, especially coming off of the high of VBS. Like the previous poster wrote, those kids are assholes.

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