I had a moment of realisation this morning (whilst sat on a miniature train with kiddo, obvs). It suddenly struck me that the levels I will go to to help my child with additional needs have a lovely day out (couple of hours, let’s be realistic about this) are actually INSANE. I will do pretty much anything to give my son a normal trip out in the school holidays.
We went to the model railway today, normally a safe haven for us. But today it was busy. Disaster struck. Kiddo was over excited, exhausted having been up since 2am and a little overwhelmed at there being so many other people there. I had to get him out to avoid a meltdown. So I bribed him. Yep, full on downright obvious bribe that meant if he left quietly he got a new toy. I got looks from parents. Couldn’t care less.
I was so determined that kiddo would get to ride on a miniature train that I spent the next 45 minutes helping him regulate with ice cream, holding a new toy train and giving him his favourite pink doughnut to look at. He never eats it, he just loves how it looks. And we made it! We made it on to the train. To passers by I was spoiling my child and giving in to demands. To me, I was helping my child transition to the one thing he loves more than anything. I wasn’t going to let him miss out. He wasn’t making demands, he was asking me for help.
It occurred to me as I sat on the train that my determination to do this might seem a little extreme to some people. Buy I tell you why I do it. When children go back to school after the holidays they all chat about what they’ve been doing, the exciting things they got up to and where they went on holiday. Kiddo can’t have these conversations (yet) but if he could I’d want him to be able to tell the world what a wonderful time he had riding on the miniature railway. Not that his mum had lost her temper because he was unable to regulate his senses, so they went home and never made it on to the train. Not that his disabilities meant that he didn’t get a day out. Not that he was punished for something he can’t control. But that after some really hard work from him and his mum, they made it on to the train. And he absolutely loved it.
To every parent carer breaking themselves emotionally, physically and financially to help their child have just one experience that others take for granted, I salute you. You’re amazing. Your child will go back to school and tell every one what a great time they had in the summer. Your efforts are not wasted. You’re doing an incredible job.
To those who may notice my parenting and think I’m simply spoiling my child, look again. Parenting style is not universal. I’m just doing whatever I can to give my child the moments (And sometimes they are just moments) of normality and happiness he deserves.
Thanks for reading,