Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Side show freak

Last night after Parker's physical therapy, Matthew and I decided to stop for a quick dinner/date on the way home. My mother was watching Aidan and Emma, and since it was a rare treat to have Matthew at PT with me, I thought it a good idea to take advantage of the situation and be spontaneous. However, once we walked into the restaurant, I immediately wished we had gone straight home. Every eye in our proximity was on Parker and his helmet. There were whispers, exchanged looks between patrons, and long, constant stares. Now, I know kids wearing helmets isn't the "norm," but I also didn't think it was so uncommon that people stopped eating their dinners to follow you with their eyes. There was a family across the way from us, a father, son, and a set of grandparents, that made Parker, his helmet, and why he wears it, their dinner conversation. They didn't try and be quiet, in fact, they seemed be trying to be heard. Their conclusion as to why my son was wearing "the apparatus" was because he suffered from shaken baby syndrome and was brain damaged...it was right about then, that I asked for the check, and we promptly left. If I hadn't been so astonished at the gaul of these perfect strangers, and in such shock at their assumption of abuse on our part, I would have marched right over there and given them a piece of my mind. I think Matthew knew what I was thinking, because as we were getting ready to leave, he made sure he had a good hold of me as we made our way out. My impromptu dinner date didn't turn out to be as fun as I thought it would be. I am so glad that Parker had no idea what was going on, and was just his happy, laughing self the whole time.

8 comments:

Aaron, Vicki Tunell said...

I'm so sorry Niki! I feel your pain. I used to go through long explanations because I heard people saying the same things. I'm sad your date with Matthew got ruined!!! I think he is adorable and his helmet looks great, and I think you are a GREAT Mom!

Vicki

Sara Adams said...

I echo everything Vicki said! When Kyra had the full leg bright pink (her choice) on, when she was 18 months, some people actually had the gale to tell me that they assumed I broke her leg. I know its hard. But you are a good mom! I'm thinking of you.

TrishAnderson said...

Oh Niki, I completely agree with our friends Vicki & Sara. Don't let it get you down. Just smile through it knowing that many people love and adore you and your family. It is only temporary. Many people are just ignorant and don't think before they speak. I love you!!! YOU ARE WONDERFUL!!!!!

Niki Carpenter said...

Ladies, thank you for your love and support!!!

Erin Leigh said...

you're kidding right? man, people can be such idiots sometimes! we had a few kids in our ward that had helmets so i'm used to seeing it, but i don't get how that would automatically make someone assume abuse?

thank goodness for mathew steering you out of there so quickly, i can see the big blow-up that could have happened. :)

Kori said...

Why in the world would people even think that -- I'm in shock!

I'm realizing I probably didn't show you the sensitivity I should have about Parker wearing a helmet... sorry if it ever seemed that way. Where I live there are a ton of young families (the median age in Frisco is 4) so I see kids in helmets ALL the time, it's almost the norm. I think babies in helmets are so darn cute! Plus it only shows how much parents truly care about ensuring their kids health & physical development. I'm sorry you fell victim to people's cruelty and ignorant assumptions.

Parker is such a handsome, happy fella and his helmet is only temporary. Take lots of pictures because he'll be out of it before you know it. You show off that beautiful baby boy of yours everywhere you go and feel free to give people a piece of your mind! You deserve another date night Niki!

Kristen Crandall said...

My 6 year old Abby is becoming very curious on why people are different and why some people use corrective devices.. like canes, wheelchairs, and in this case helmets. I am trying really hard to teach her tolerance, love and equality.

I wish these people would have been more tactful and even had the courage to ask you why he wears it instead of being so naively wrong.

I never was able to get a hold of you for dinner. I called and left a message with your mom once...I need to call you again this next week.

Robyn said...

Grrrrrr!!!! Don't people know better than to talk about a child in front of his mother? I turn into protective tiger mama really quick. You are an awesome mom, and those are some ignorant people! I'm glad you got to go out, though...too bad it didn't go so well!