I guess this is adding a bit of feeling into the blog because we can all help out with ideas but its also the shared feelings and experiences that are so important and what are sometimes missed out on when one is a disabled parent and going out is somewhat harder than it is for a well parent, lets face it that is hard enough!
I started going to a mother and baby local library group. I was actually quite enjoying taking Christopher there, my father had to come with me to help get Christopher in and out of the car seat, fold out the buggy etc. Christopher and I sat in the group which fortunately had chairs to sit on rather than the floor. We sang all the classics "Wheels on the bus", "Dingle Dangle Scarecrow" and "Hickory Dickory Dock", I tried to chat to some other mums. I went every fortnight and was really enjoying it until one session I went and sat beside a grandma with her grandchild and her daughter with another child. The session was over and my father ,in his own world ,was studying the audio books the other side of the library so I picked up Christopher the way Chris and I know how, I walked over to his buggy by which time the Grandma said "can you manage love?", I was practically there any way and said "oh yes but thank you", to which she turned to her daughter and other women and said loudly as if I couldn't hear "she don't look safe with him do she". I should have corrected her poor use of the English language along with her incorrect assumptions not to mention her sheer rudeness! However I felt ashamed of myself and upset. I buckled Christopher into his buggy and went to my father. I didn't tell him because I think he would have felt very hurt for me and said something. I still wanted to get Christopher some library books so I just kept my head down, selected some in haste and legged it as fast as an arthritic can! I never went back to that group and fobbed my father off with a lame excuse. It shattered my confidence. So if anyone "normal" is reading this thank goodness for people like you who like to inform themselves and clearly are the type who try to be the best they can, thank you for joining us, equally if you hear any one making such comments or staring at disabled parents in judgement etc, spare a thought, we are bright people, very caring parents and many of us so grateful for the opportunity to be a parent when some of us thought we might not have been able to be. We adore our child, pregnancy and parenthood is not an expectation or something we see as our right, but as a real gift.
Society is a scary place these days for a child to be in, children are having to learn to hurry up, be quicker, stop talking because "I'm busy" etc. These things are just part of being busy, hard working parents but with a disabled parent the child has no choice but to learn patience, equally the child learns to take its time to do something well as that is what he sees from his parents, he learns empathy, to be kind, to not stare, to be polite, thankful and gentle. I can not go out and play football with Christopher or run around in muddy fields and sometimes I get very tearful about that because I want to be every thing to my son, but I can sit with him and teach him to read before he goes to school, do painting with him, play with water with him, cuddle him, pull silly faces, sing silly songs,cook cakes with him,read him endless books,walk the speed of a toddler to see what he sees and above all give him time and patience to do and say what he wants or needs to and listen to him.
I may be a Psychologist but people I have worked with in the past have looked at me as though I am some mind reader of their feelings, no I am a child who grew up with a painful illness, when I stood in Play-school for the first time I had to scan the room in under a minuet before an adult suggested what I did who didn't understand my fears. I had to work out how each child was so I knew who to stand near, not too close to the boisterous boys, not where the children who wanted to lie around were because I wasn't that kind of child either and that bored me but perhaps where an art table was with safe chairs to sit on and children who seemed kind. I learnt perceptiveness at a very young age and it just has become finely tuned so people think I am some kind of Darren Brown!