I see you looking. I see you nudging your friend and directing her attention towards us too. I heard you mutter as you walked past. I saw you take a picture with your phone- I'm no stranger to a sly snap of an amusing situation. But what business is it of yours?
If my child may look too old to be in a pushchair- to you, anyway. If my child seems too old to have a dummy- to you. If my child is spoilt for having an iPad to play on whilst I nip around the shop- in your opinion. If he's being naughty and having a tantrum because he can't get his own way- that's what you see. You're laughing, staring, judging. You know what matters to me? What my children need.
If my child is in a pushchair it's because it's the safest option, because he runs. He doesn't know the dangers of the roads or strangers, he doesn't understand. He finds a dummy comforting in stressful situations and many, many situations are distressing for my son. He is learning a great deal from the iPad- it can teach him at his own pace in a way that he understands- did you know that he knows the alphabet? He recognises every letter and the phonetic sound it makes and can spell out simple words. He can count up to ten and back down again and his memory is phenomenal and a great deal of this he learnt from this tablet. It distracts him from the things that cause him anxiety when we need to leave the comfort of our home. If he's having a tantrum and being naughty you can bet that I will be putting a stop to it no matter who is looking. But if he is having a 'meltdown' he is not in control, he is not being naughty and he does not need to be punished. He needs to be helped, comforted, he needs to be removed from whatever is causing him to feel so distressed and you are amused by this.
Why? Because my son is different. He is not neurotypical. My child is not the same as your child. No two children are alike. No two parents are alike! I don't care how you raise your children so long as they're safe and loved. You want to feed them organic? Good for you. You want to feed them chicken nuggets every day? That's your call. You want to get your child out of a pushchair and throw away his dummies by the age of one? That's up to you. It's not my business and I am not judging you.
I am not defending my parenting. I don't owe anybody any sort of explanation. So why am I sharing this information? Because I am hoping to make you think. Next time you think something is funny and you're about to nudge your mate or snap a pic or roll your eyes and mutter... do you know all the facts? Do you think, just maybe, there is something more to what you see? How would you feel if someone were doing it to you and most importantly- what is it to you? Why is it any of your business? Maybe you could just avert your attention back to you and your own and put it to good use. I'm not judging you- I'm too busy doing the best for my family.