You should print on your menus that all customers should be Friendly in order to eat at your restaurant. And perhaps a reminder that it is a family friendly restaurant, ie. that kids will be there. Oh and perhaps a note that sometimes kids make, get this…noise.
Just a thought,
The Orange Rhino
Fact: My #3, age 3 with a speech delay and other "issues" has a tendency to yell and scream when frustrated. It is a known problem. We are working on it.
Fact: My #3 has made a lot of progress over the last year and a half. A lot of progress.
Fact: My #3 has worked hard – at speech therapy and occupational therapy to overcome his struggles.
Fact: My #3 is a love. Oh and a PERSON with areas of improvement. Like all of US.
Fact: I do not accept screaming in public.
Fact: I don’t yell and I don’t hit. I don’t believe in either. But I do still believe in discipline. And I believe with practice I can do so without said yelling and without hitting.
Fact: I work hard to love my children, to help my children, and to accept them despite their challenges.
Fact: I love my #3 fiercely. We have been reproached several times when he has one of his fits. I used to take it personally. I used to be angry at him. I used to be embarrassed by him. I used to allow others who yelled and criticized me to make me feel smaller.
FACT: I AM DONE feeling ashamed of how hard I am working to help my child with his struggles. I am done making excuses for the challenges he faces. I am done taking it all personally. Because I know my son and I are working our as*es off to improve. I am working harder every time to stay calm and to help him (which is what he needs…he does NOT need to be hit or yelled at, he needs me to teach him and help him. He needs me to try and understand him, what he is trying to say and what he can’t say). And my son is working hard as h*ll to find his words, to calm down, to act more “appropriately.” We as a team our trying really bl**dy hard and I am proud of us.
Today I proved to myself that I am changing, that we are changing and dam*it I feel proud. I am tooting my Rhino Horn loudly tonight.
While at Friendly’s tonight for #1’s birthday #3 screamed. I promptly picked him up and brought him to the door for a break. We returned. His shirt got wet. He screamed again. I frantically dried his shirt and worked hard to soothe him while my baby started fussing because he didn’t have a crayon? Gosh knows why he was fussing. I was trying HARD hard hard to soothe everyone, to gain control of my bunch of wonderful boys all excited to be celebrating a birthday. I was sweating BULLETS. Bullets because I knew eyes were watching me.
Would I succeed? Would I settle my brood? Oh the eyes for judging me for sure. So I sweat even more.
Then #3 let out one more scream because his napkin wrinkled the wrong way.
And that is when sh*t hit the fan.
Turns out one of those judging sets of eyes had a voice too. The older voice spoke:
“Why don’t you bring him over here, I’ll hit him for you and then take care of him. I’ll make him shut up.”
(I’m sorry. What? What did you dare just utter to me??? Did you just volunteer to hit my kid? What makes you think I wanted to do that in the first place?! I was absolutely AMAZED at her ridiculousness.)
Without blinking an eye, without sweating even more, without JUMPING across the table over to her’s and throttling her, I ever so sweetly and politely replied:
“Oh, please don’t talk to my son that way. It isn’t nice and it isn’t funny. He is a child. Both he and I are trying our hardest.”
Then I took a drink of water, resisted all urge to throw it in her face, and turned back to my son wicked proud of myself for standing up for my son, for us.
“I love you #3. I know you are upset. It’s okay. Do you need a hug?”
“Yes mommy. I love you.”
This time sweat didn’t drip down my face. Tears did. Lots of them. And for a change they weren’t tears of defeat, tears of embarrassment, tears of fear, tears of frustration. They were tears of sheer joy.
I LOVE YOU.
I LOVE YOU.
The first time in 3 years my son has ever been able to speak those words without prompt.
I LOVE YOU. I’ll say it again and again and again.
I can only imagine if I had lost it with him, or her. Pretty sure I wouldn’t have heard those words. Tonight or for gosh knows how long. And let me tell you. It was outright AMAZING.
I know I have said it before. I know it is probably annoying and boring and all that jazz to be said again BUT…. I continue to be blown away by how this challenge, how learning to not yell, is benefiting my family and I in more ways than one. A year and half ago (read here)I never would have stood up for myself so eloquently. NEVER. But I have learned I CAN control myself and in doing so, I am way more powerful. How do I know?
The lady of the night? Well she didn’t make another peep the entire meal. Oh, and for the record, neither did my son. He rocked the rest of the meal which for a 3 year old with some challenges is pretty fantastic.
P.S. If you are thinking of commenting, please remember this is a supporting, loving community. I am not intending to engage in the debate of is hitting kids right or wrong. Instead, I want to focus on how The Orange Rhino Challenge has many a benefits. That and that my son FINALLY said I LOVE YOU!!!
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