Criticized to the Max.

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Image source: Lennon and Maisy

Criticized to the Max.

CRUNCH deets:
It’s hard to ignore looks from other playground parents when your sweet babe’s freaking out. But it’s even harder to ignore words. When that lady stopped you on the sidewalk to berate you for whatever it was she was going on about, you just had to zone out. No point listening if it’s only gonna escalate an argument. And you had to concentrate on breathing. Deeply.

The Fix:
Brush it away.

Fix deets:
When our oldest was a toddler, we used to “brush” his boo-boos away with a comforting sweeping hand motion. Throw in a cuddle, his Lightning McQueen ice pack, a band-aid or six, and the distraction of the month… all better.

No doubt you read THE letter that made headlines last week. If you were lucky enough to be at the cottage (hi MJ!), on honeymoon (hi Martina!), or scouting schools in Mexico (hi B!), and missed it, the gist is that “One pissed of mother!!!!!” wrote a letter “To the lady living at this address” demanding she hike it out of town because of the “DREADFUL!!!!!!!!!!” noise her autistic thirteen year-old son (Max… see what I did with there?) makes that “scares the hell out of my normal children!!!!!!!” It was printed, which means it wasn’t spur-of-the-moment, and she spent enough time to second-guess correctly. No such wisdom. She anonymously slipped it in the mailbox, natch (even a punctuation-challenged jerk knows when she’s crossing the line). In case the page of insults wasn’t clear, the cowardly mother added to “Do the right thing and move or euthanize him!!!!” To say this is NOT COOL is so, SO, much of an understatement. Did I mention the part about donating his “non-retarded body parts” to science?

While we’ve never received “advice” so extreme, we’ve heard PLENTY o’ thinly veiled criticism. And some not so thinly veiled. It seems a heckuva lot of parents/grandmas/DINKS who don’t know us or anything about us just can’t zip it when it comes to mitts/shoes/thumbs. Sometimes they’re polite, and sometimes not so much. Sometimes we’re polite, and sometimes not so much. On a good day, I’ll reply something like “I’m sure you love receiving advice you haven’t asked for just as much as I do.” This keeps me calm while getting the message across to leave us the eff alone. I can walk away from them, but the conversation stays on replay until I’ve had a good rant/sweat/choc/drink, depending on my distraction of the month. It doesn’t work right away, but leaning on my besties and band-aids helps me move on, sooner or later. I never forget.

We have to remember that those who mind don’t matter, but we also have to remember that we’re all in the same struggling, second-guessing, self-inflicted-guilt boat. Guys, we ALL judge each other, but we gotta keep it to ourselves. I’m not saying we’re as cruel as that unenlightened bully-biatch, but no one needs criticism from a stranger, no matter how polite. Full disclosure here peeps, I instinctively think hat/helmet when I see a baby/bicyclist in need – I’m a fair, freckly gal who used to work for a neurosurgeon. But I keep it to myself. I’ve also been a little judgy about Miley and Robin, and not so quiet about it. How the heck was that soft-core censor-approved? And, more importantly, um, the message? 27Aug2013aI’m seriously scared for our daughters if that’s the kind of role model graduating from Disney U these days. I smell a self-respect CRUNCH coming soon to a blog near you. But back to my point. Even if it really, really sounds like a friendly suggestion to you, and they really, really look like they need it, it will be really, really poorly received. Unless they ask. I’m guessing (hoping) that reading is your way of asking, because I’d hate to sound like a preachy know-it-all who doesn’t know when to quit. There are already far. too. many.

I hope Max’s fam feels ALL the good vibes being sent their way. Super tough situation – not that they’ve ever had it easy. Added to the daily challenges of autism and raising two boys, Max’s mom is in a wheelchair and has multiple sclerosis. Yup, tough. Their community seems to be rallying around them… yay nice people! Keep it up – they need support today just as much as they will next month/year/decade.

Remember this:
Sticks and stones may break our bones but words… hurt even more. Surrounding yourself with people you love and things you love doing when someone’s behaving badly is the only way to pull yourself out of the fog. Twerking is not recommended – unless it’s with your honey and, ya know, private.

Leave a comment below if you want to vent and move on. Contact us if you’re having trouble with the moving on part. And click here if you’d like to show Max and his fam some love.


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