A mom (we’ll call “Mom 1”) came running into McDonald’s screaming something like “a big kid is on a little kid in the playplace”. Immediately, I got a pit in my stomach…that big kid was probably my 9 year old son, in the playplace with all the other little kids. All parents went running into the playroom to see what was happening. We all saw the little girl who was crying and her mom (we’ll call “Mom 2”) was understandably being protective of her, while all parents were trying to figure out what happened. I just *knew* that my son did something, completely innocently, that scared this little girl, probably trying to hug her but, because he’s big for his age and she was maybe 4 years old, I can totally understand her fear. They were both way up in the top of the playplace, where no one inside the McDonald’s could actually see what was happening. I do not deny that he probably scared her but the situation got out of control VERY quickly.
Both Mom #1 and Mom #2 started yelling at him so I told them to stop, that he has Autism and doesn’t understand the language they were using.
Mom #1 said “Autism? Well then you’re stupid for letting him be in here unattended, and you shouldn’t even let him out of the house. Why are you in public with him?”
I’m sorry…but what??!!
I told her that he’s a child and is allowed outside, plus we haven’t had problems in the almost 10 years we’ve been going to that McDonald’s location. I tried turning my attention to Mom #2 to see if her daughter was ok. Her daughter was scared but physically ok. Mom #2 was understandably angry and upset.
Mom #1 kept yelling obscenities at me and my son. She even started claiming the little girl had peed her pants…which she hadn’t.
I’ll admit that I yelled back at her to stop yelling because it wasn’t helping the situation.
My son was calmly standing beside me, waiting because he clearly didn’t understand what was happening. I took him out of the playplace, got his winter stuff on, had him sit down while I got my stuff on…and Mom #1 started telling other parents how he has Autism so he’s a delinquent; he’s pure violence; he needs to be locked up; etc. I said “Excuse me, but I’m right here, and you’re talking about my CHILD. Stop spreading lies about him and Autism”. She started yelling and telling me how horrible of a parent I am; how dare I bring him out in public; he needs to be thrown away. I’m not proud but I lost it and told her that it was time for her to leave because she wasn’t helping the situation. We left as soon as we collected our things. My daughter was upset for leaving so quickly. My son was oblivious to what had just happened. I was ticked off. The kids’ grandfather was confused and wanting to protect all of us, but also get us home as soon as possible.
On our way out, I was glad to see Mom #2 taking her daughter and the other kids they were with back into the Playplace. That helped me feel better that her daughter was ok.
A few hours later, I’ve had time to calm down and think about the situation, and I’ve decided I would like to thank her…So, kind Mom #1…thank you…
Thank you for making me realize that I still have a redheaded temper (it’s been YEARS since I’ve seen it).
Thank you for bringing out my mama bear.
Thank you for changing the focus from the little girl to you.
Thank you for not allowing me to talk to Mom #2 to ensure her child was ok (I could see the child was ok, but I still wanted to check in, and offer to pay for their meals, etc).
Thank you for escalating the situation to pure emotions so I couldn’t ask you what you actually saw, which would mean I can then teach my son not to do that, thereby stopping it from happening again…because let’s face it, that’s what needs to happen.
Thank you for insulting my son over and over again.
Thank you for bringing my parenting into question (which I just laugh off…my ex husband tried worse after we split)
Thank you for spreading lies about what Autism is and who children with Autism are.
Thank you for motivating me to finally sign up for crisis intervention, basic breakaway and joint locks training, in case I have to protect myself and/or my children in the future, even if that’s to subdue my ever-growing 9yo, who is the size of a 12yo, during meltdown. I’ve been putting off signing up for it, not wanting to face the reality that he’s getting too big for me to physically intervene in a meltdown (which we experienced about a month ago, for the first time in over a year) and, dear Mom #1, if all that over-stimulus had caused a meltdown for him, you aren’t the one who would need to help him through it for hours or days. I am because I’m his mom.
Thank you for making my daughter get upset because she witnessed her mom yelling at another mom for the first time in her life.
Thank you for making me cry out of anger and frustration when I got home.
Thank you for showing me how much more awareness is needed out there because Autism is NOT pure violence, nor does it mean he’s a killer like you were claiming.
So, Mom #1, thank you for being the biggest motivation I’ve had in a few years to continue furthering my education to become a Social Worker to officially help other parents because, sadly, this type of situation happens all the time.
Thank you for making me even stronger.