Posted by Rebecca Bingham, Special Needs Mommie | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 28-07-2010
Tags: CPS, embarassment, freaking out
Yesterday was one of those days. The kind of day when you wish that you could wear a shirt that says “I know my kid is acting weird, but I have this covered. Just look away”. I would imagine that parents who are dealing with children who are on the Autism spectrum have to do this all the time. My tiny taste of it has proven to be not very fun.
In a nutshell, Cubby had a little freak out at the park the other day. It used to be a common occurrence (the freak outs, I mean). We pretty much never took him out in public unless we were one on one with him. This way we could manage both the behavior and the circumstances (and we can flee before things get crazy). He has been doing so well lately that we have been taking him out with the other kids and to places that he normally doesn’t handle well. I am not even totally sure what the trigger was (something about him wanting an apple and there wasn’t one) and he went into what we called terminator mode. His eyes glaze over a bit, he starts to moan and make a keening sound, he thrashes and bites and punches. When he is in this mode he also is known to run away or hurt himself in his quest to get out of Dodge. My nanny (my awesome, totally trained to work with special needs kids nanny) did what we do. She tried to make him safe. This means we need to restrain him until his body calms down and he is able to be safe. This can be distressing for people watching because it kind of looks like she is being too enthusiastic in her treatment. After all, how many of you have had to lay on top of YOUR 5 year old to get them to calm down? It is pretty effective, the pressure helps them feel calm and it keeps them safe, but like I said, other parents at the park watching might disagree.
What ended up happening was that well meaning observers called the police (well hello police, I haven’t seen you in at least a week). This is the reason that I carry around a copy of his evaluation and list of the various agencies that treat him with me all the time. When you are face to face with Burlingame’s Finest, using big words and having doctor’s papers goes a long way in telling your story and not just sounding like you are telling a big old lie. I spewed all the big words, gave them all the contact info, assured them that this was not the first time this has happened, nor is it the first time we have had the police show up. Our family is an open book and we have nothing to hide and we have a working relationship with CPS. I am sure that an investigation will follow (as it should, in theory. The point is to keep kids safe, right?). It isn’t my favorite part of parenting this special needs child, but it comes with the territory. I know that these agencies are here for the benefit of the family. It is actually through one of our first experiences with CPS that we found out about respite care and got hooked up with our amazing, awesome therapist for Cubby. The system works, even with its flaws.
What I KNOW is that as parents and caregivers we do the best we can. We work to make the world safe for our kids AND other peoples kids. Sometimes, our kids do stuff that is hard to comprehend when viewed through the eyes of parenting typical kids. I don’t get embarrassed by my kids very often, and when I do I feel guilty. I was embarrassed of the ruckus we caused. I am sad that my other kids were traumatized by all of it. I also am really sad that Cubby had to feel scared enough to the have a freak out. No one came out ahead on that one. I wanted to just stop time and explain to the other moms that were rolling their eyes at my kid and whispering behind their hands about us that I am a good mom. This is a good kid, he was just scared. I am sometimes jealous of other moms and their children who are playing quietly in the sandbox and have probably never caused a 911 worthy tantrum. Usually I am just thankful for my little chickens and the new people they bring into my life (even if those people are policemen) and the new skills I get to learn by being their mamma (even if those skills are Kung Fu and Public Relations).
Anyone else ever had an embarrassing situation in public? Am I the ONLY one?