Elijah and I went out to lunch at Chick-fil-a today to meet a former teacher of his. Elijah had gone into the play area and after a few minutes I noticed him doing one of his tics. He was making faces at a boy and moving his head from side to side and back and forth. It looks intentional, but it really is a tic. I walked in and the mom of the boy was in there, eating a salad, and I told her about the tics. She said, "Oh ok, good to know he is just not making faces." I also mentioned he had impulsivity issues.
The friend had arrived by then and we had both gotten our food. I was just getting ready to get Eiljah when I notice this same mom now chastising Elijah about something. I walk in to her yelling at him for pushing her son. Now, I am not excusing Elijah for pushing, in no way, but she knew I was his mom and could have come to get me. Most of the time, in my experience, parents usually come and talk to another parent and don't handle things on their own. Yelling at Elijah just doesn't work, it makes him even more defiant. I calmly said, "Elijah you should not have pushed the boy. Now come with me and we will go and eat. You can't play if you are going to act this way." Before I could walk towards him he yells, "NO" and then proceeds to quickly turn his head and do a raspberry in my direction. Well becasue this other mom was standing so close to him AND had food in her hand, this spit went in her direction and landed in her salad. She then starts yelling, "HE SPIT IN MY SALAD." Of course, I am dying a thousand deaths and I went towards Eiljah to just get him out of there. I really didn't know what to do. This woman is yelling at the top of her lungs and her yelling is what had agitated him in the first place. AGAIN, not excusing Elijah's behavior, but this mom was very aware of who I was and could have come to get me. She yells again, "HE spit in my salad, are you going to buy me a new one?" Well, I was trying not to get pissed. I wanted to yell at her, "why didn't you come get me? why did you try to handle this yourself? most parents DON'T bring food into the play area." Instead I just said, "Well you shouldn't have brought food in here."
I get Elijah and we leave to go and eat. She comes out and again yells, "HE spit in my food." I just sit down and ignore her. I explain to the person with us what happend. I really didn't know what to do and thankfully this other mom just stayed away from us. I kept Elijah out of the play area even after he had finished eating. I also told him he had lost the computer for the rest of the day for his behavior...pushing the boy and the raspberry. The mom and her kids left and after a little bit I let him go back in and play. He had no other issues with any kids and did fine in there.
I later thought, maybe I should have bought her a new salad. I don't know. Did I handle this correctly? I could have gone the other way too and just yelled right back at her. I don't know if y'all remember the blog that I posted a while back about the boy that Elijah threw a shoe at when we had visited another Chikc-fil-a. Elijah apologized and the boy had said, "No harm done." He even said, "He is a good boy" pointing to Elijah. He even asked me about Elijah's implants and how they worked. This little boy, who was maybe seven or eight years old, handled things with Elijah a whole lot better than this mom did. Another time, I had seen a mom looking out into the dining area with my niece. I went in and said, "Is my boy behaving?" The mom said, "Well, he is just being a little aggressive." I got Elijah down and took him out. I explained to the woman about his Tourettes and told her thank you for bringing it to my attention. Elijah did a time out, then ate, and then went back to play. I have never chastised another person's child in a restaurant. I have said things like, "OH be careful when you run, you might fall," or "lets slow down a little." Even if I saw a child being mean, I would start looking for their parent to mention it to them. I think that is what bothered me the most. This mom knew who I was. I had already been in and talked to her about Elijah. Obviously she knew I was watching, because I saw him doing tics and went in to explain. All she had to do was come and get me. Elijah does "spit" as a tic at times, but usually with no saliva. this was the first time he had done an all out raspberry.
I still question if I did the right thing. Probably not, and maybe I'll handle it differently next time. I am not going to stay home and avoid the public though. Elijah doesn't deserve to be "kept home" because of his condition. He does need to learn to control himself and learn how to handle himself. He is only ten though and this is a lot for any person, nevertheless a child, to handle.
THE SHADDOX BOYS
Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. Jacob is 21 years old and just moved into an apartment with his girlfriend. He graduated from a technical college with an Associate's degree in Computer Maintenance. He works for a school district as a computer technician. Elijah is almost 18 years old. He is hearing impaired, has Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. He is a junior in high school. Elijah lives with his mom Mary and her wife, his stepmom. Mary has a bachelor's in deaf education and a masters in special education, and is an educational diagnostician. Life is always changing and this blog has chronicled many of these changes and will continue to do so!