To still feel guilty about ruining this little girl's evening?

(199 Posts)
DowntonNappy Tue 11-Dec-12 10:49:40

DD (4.11) was at a Christmas party yesterday. Parents were asked to step inside for the last ten minutes to watch the kids perform some carols.

When i went inside, dd jumped up from her chair in excitement to see me. I hurriedly told her to sit back down. She went to do so, but then started crying. Apparantly the child beside her had taken her chair.

I said just sit on the other one then. But dd wasn't having it. She was adamant that was the 'wrong' chair, and the child had jumped into hers while dd had ran over to me.

While dd was crying and telling the little girl that's her chair, the teacher was trying to carry on with the carols.

The other child's mum started getting angry, telling dd that was actually her child's chair and she should sit on the other one.

Dd was still insisting the little girl should move. All the while, I'm trying to calm dd down and get her to sit on the other damn chair, as she was causing a scene. I threatened to take her outside, but this didn't work either. Just as i was about to basically drag her out, the other child starts crying. Her mum goes mad, jumps out of the audience, swoops her daughter up from the chair, and storms out, shouting "Fucking ridiculous. Forget it. Just forget it."

The poor teacher was trying to carry on as normal. She quietly called after the mum, "sorry about that."

I got dd to sit on the other chair (the 'wrong' one). I sat beside her on the one that was apparantly 'stolen' from her. She was sitting on the edge of it, clearly wanting the one i was on. But i couldn't let her have it because all the other parents were looking at me and it would have looked as if I was just pandering to her.

Anyway, carols finished. And teacher gave out presents. She called out the other child's name. Her mum must have been standing just outside the door, because she came back in for the present upon hearing her child's name, saying that her daughter's birthday (had no idea it was her birthday!) had been ruined thanks to 'that spoilt brat'.

I was completely numb at this point, mortified and felt so weak. All I could focus on was keeping dd calm as i didn't want things to escalate. Everyone was muttering in the audience and tutting.

Afterwards, everyone cleared out the hall. I stayed behind to talk to dd, and explain why she was in the wrong and must come with me to apologise. Just then the teacher came over. I burst into tears. DD was so confused, asking what's wrong.

I apologise to the teacher, explaining that dd's autism just makes her very particular/stubborn about things, and asked if she could take me and dd to the parent so we could say sorry. The teacher was lovely and gave me a big hug and said not to worry. And that she'll apolgise to the mum on my behalf, instead of me going to her myself. The mum - none of the mums - know my dd has autism, but the teacher said she'd inform the mum though (with my permission) to explain to her why dd acted the way she did.

I told dd off when we got home, but it didn't register with her at all.

Wow! Sorry for the epic novel. Basically, AIBU for still feeling so guilty? I need to grow a pair, me thinks. She's probably forgotten all about it. But my friend thinks i deserve to feel this guilty. I - well DD - effectively ruined a little girl's 6th birthday, and her Christmas party all at once.

DozyDuck Tue 11-Dec-12 11:41:39

Seriously? If someone was so bothered about a fucking chair I would have told DS to move to be kind! (if he would, he is autistic as well but chairs don't usually bother him)

That mum sounds like a right numpty.

Lancelottie Tue 11-Dec-12 11:44:39

FloggingMolly -- oh yes, OP can see the other mother's point, of course she can. She's not deliberately raising a spoilt brat, you know. She's trying to assist a disabled child to cope in unpredictable situations.

And you know what, we don't get a training manual. With a child of 4, presumably fairly recently diagnosed, you are still trying to work out what works in this kind of situation. Maybe DD would have moved over in a moment, with minimum fuss. Maybe the other child would have. Who knows? Either way, oth children might have enjoyed the rest of the concert, and that would be one less hurdle for next time.

DowntonNappy Tue 11-Dec-12 11:45:49

Aw, you're making me feel so much better everyone. smile Just hope i've not scarred the little girl's memory for life.

@FloggingMolly - I can't be 100% sure whose chair it was. But the other mum was certain it was her child's. In hindsight, I should have removed dd from the room. But i didn't think it would escalate into the other child getting taken away. If i'd've known that, dd would have been out of there in a shot.

lisad123 Tue 11-Dec-12 11:47:44

I can see it from both points of view. My DDs both have autism and my dd2 would be the same as yours dd OP. however, the other parent didn't know your dd has autism, and so assumed she was being brat, making noise and then upsetting her child.
She may have been alot more understanding had she of known, I certainly would have offered to move but only because I would of guessed (autism behaviour presents slightly differently IMO).

She did over react.

Don't worry yourself about it any longer. Hope your ok

BeaWheesht Tue 11-Dec-12 11:47:58

The other mother was entirely unreasonable. You were not.

The kids were a bit awkward but nothing that bad IMHO especially with autism added into the mix.

Just forget about it and don't bloody apologise!

Gintonic Tue 11-Dec-12 11:48:55

Agree with Barcey. The other mother should have set a good example by saying something like "yes I know it's your chair but let's give this little girl a turn as she would really like to sit there". What your dd did was hardly terrible, even if your dd had hit hers it wouldn't justify that reaction.

You are feeling sensitive because of dds autism but I really don't think you or dd did anything wrong

DozyDuck Tue 11-Dec-12 11:49:40

Oh and it's DSs Christmas play soon and I'm pretty sure it will be 'ruined' by some kid or another playing up. hmm

At drama therapy it's a bloody nightmare to police as DS needs his 'space' while another autistic child needs to get right in DSs face all the time grin

I've never felt the need to have a go at mother of the face getter inner and she has never had a go at me for DS pulling her sons hair when he gets too close!

I deal with MY child's behaviour 'say more space DS' 'be patient DS and he will move' 'use your words DS' and she deals with HER child's behaviour at the same time 'give Dozys DS more space please' 'move away from Dozys DS' etc.

They both need to learn.

In this case you dealt with your DDs behaviour (didn't let her sit in said chair, tried to calm her down) and she should have dealt with her DDs 'behaviour' ( although I know her DD was not badly behaved she could have said 'do you know what would be really kind? If you moved seats to make x happy?')

You dealt with the behaviour, other mum acted like a 2 year old and called a child with special needs horrible names.

do not feel guilty

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Tue 11-Dec-12 11:51:56

Assuming the other little girl didn't have autism, or another reason why she might also be exceptionally particular about things being an exact way, and that the chair they both wanted was not in some way a special birthday chair... most 6 year olds would have coped with sitting on the other chair, regardless of which was hers. Autism aside the other mum could presumably see the year plus age difference?

DIYapprentice Tue 11-Dec-12 11:56:22

Spoilt her birthday?! Hardly! They're kids, it was only a bloody chair, the only way the other girl would have been carrying on about it more than 15 minutes later is if the other mother let/encouraged her.

This is one of the reasons why I am very open about DS's autism.

When he was at nursery he used to cry every morning going in. One morning a mum was rolling her eyes and said loudly "oh no not crying again!". I turned round and retorted. "He has autism he can't help being so upset, we don't choose to go through this every morning - mind your own business!" Never been challenged again.

Same when some of his peers in class didn't understand - I pushed encouraged the head and the teacher to be very open about him having autism. Solved the issue we were having.

I think it helps that I'm very direct when speaking to people and happy to put them right. Also helps that his school are good. Out of school we surround ourselves with supportive understanding people - quality over quantity. Maybe this activity could do some activity or have some books they can share on everyone being different? You could get some leaflets on autism from the NAS for them to hand out to other families as they go home?

Downton please don't worry about this incident - the mum made it far worse than it was. Fancy swearing in front of all the kiddies!!

CocktailQueen Tue 11-Dec-12 12:04:14

Am a bit shock that the other mother swore in front of the class!! And also that the teacher/another teacher didn't deal with the situation before it got that bad.

Also, why don't others know your dd is autistic? Could avoid some of these situations in future. Is she getting the help and support she needs at school?

Sounds like the other mother could have handled it a lot better - but then perhaps you could have taken your dd out before it all kicked off. Ooh, tricky. Hugs to you.

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn Tue 11-Dec-12 12:05:21

The only person in the wrong was the other mother.

Having said that, if you've had no experience of autism, it is very easy to assume Spoilt Brat. Hopefully the other mother will feel ashamed of how she reacted once she finds out.

Your "friend" doesn't sound very nice either TBH.

HELPMyPooIsStuck Tue 11-Dec-12 12:07:21

You should have taken her out, believe me its better to instill those kinds of strategies when tbey're small, not to punish them but to give them space from the situation. My two are older now and will ask to be removed when things get roo much.......we live and learn tho.

Otoh the mother sounds awful, she made an utter fool of herself, it's because of the likes of that I always feel the need to drop my children having autism into a conversation !

DozyDuck Tue 11-Dec-12 12:09:40

Oh and I'm another one all for being open about DCs autism to other parents.

There was a situation in mainstream where I could have been punched by another mum because of something my DS did (when he was supposed to have 1:1 but didn't hmm)

But because she knew about DS and his autism she asked her son who was with DS, found out he was on his own and obviously struggling with play, and went a tore the head a new one for putting other children and my DS at risk by not following his statement. Then told me smile

Then the head teacher had the nerve to come to me and say he had a complaint about my DS!!! grin but because I already knew what was said BECAUSE I was always open and approachable about DS I could say 'no you didn't you had a complaint about your staff not being where they should I already know about it and m taking it further, thanks bye.'

It really is useful to be open and approachable smile

DowntonNappy Tue 11-Dec-12 12:11:02

My dd is fairly new to the club, and tbh i didn't exactly want to/didn't know how to tell a bunch of strangers about her medical background. The teacher and her assistant knew, and i felt that was enough. The parents are only there for drop off and pick up times, so i've never really spoken to any of them.

Yes, CocktailQueen. She's getting so much support at school and i'm also due to start a Hanen course soon, Hopefully we'll both learn some coping strategies that actually work. All this counting to 10, close your eyes, big breaths etc just doesn't work with her.

DozyDuck Tue 11-Dec-12 12:13:34

You don't have to tell all the other parents one by one you know. What I do is scout out the gobbiest looking couple and tell them, making it clear it isn't a secret. Then leave the rest to them.

But if you don't want to that's a very personal choice

EssexGurl Tue 11-Dec-12 12:14:03

I do think the other mum was unreasonable. BUT she doesn't know about your daughters' Aspergers. I do feel that as she gets older you need to be more "open" about her condition.

There is a boy in DS's class with SN. As parents we have never been told of what this is and whilst I am not worried my DS (7) does ask me about him and I don't know what to say to him. My friend who is a SENCO at her school was horrified that the school hadn't worked with the parents on a strategy to tell the other parents - sensitively - about it so we could help our kids. At her school it is one of the first things they try to do with the parents.

I appreciate that this was not a school thing - but sadly you are going to get into situations like this more and more as your DD grows up and I do feel that you need some sort of strategy to deal with it and help your DD cope.

Mumsyblouse Tue 11-Dec-12 12:15:46

It's all very well saying 'you should have taken her out' but if she was anything like my (NT) daughter having a paddy aged 4, this would have been quite a spectacle in its own right and I can understand how you just sat there willing it to not all kick off.

I had to remove one of mine regularly from the dinner table (perhaps once or twice, it felt like all the time) in front of the relatives: it was awful, kicking, screaming, crying.

Sometimes sitting put is the best way forward, and the other mum could have made your life a lot easier by encouraging her daughter to move (given the chair was disputed). And not by being foul-mouthed and upsetting the entire room on her exit as well.

You have nothing to feel bad about, these things happen at a carol concert/Nativity with small children (there's usually one howling as well).

DowntonNappy Tue 11-Dec-12 12:20:36

I honestly wish i could just tell everyone about her autism, or everyone already knew, but IME it makes people very awkward. (I openly told two mums on separate occassions when dd started school this year). So this put me off telling anyone again, unless the topic came up of course.

She's high-functioning though, so i suppose it is up to me to inform people she has a condition, and isn't being 'spoilt'.

All of her peers at school know she's 'different', thanks to her lovely class teacher, and they're always helping her pack her bag up at hometime, and putting her coat on etc. smile

Tbh, I'm kind of hoping the mum from yesterday is a gossip. It'll save me telling the other parents at the club one by one.

DowntonNappy Tue 11-Dec-12 12:22:40

I'm off to attend her actual school nativity now (with my mum for back up, should anything unsavoury arise again). She's been practicising her songs all week. Hopefully it won't be as dramatic as yesterday's show!

Tabliope Tue 11-Dec-12 12:24:03

Haven't read all the posts but I'm surprised that the teacher called after the mum "sorry about that" when the woman swore in front of little kids! She'd have been banned from my DS's primary school or at least given a talking to about acceptable language. Your DD didn't do anything wrong. She's young still. Other woman over reacted and made a scene. I'd ignore (I'd probably actually give her a disbelieving look next time I saw her). Don't apologise to her.

maddening Tue 11-Dec-12 12:29:09

Yanbu - the other mother was on the moral high ground before she started shouting thinks such as "fucking ridiculous" and "spoilt brat" she sounds like a nutjob after that and an unpleasant one too.

AppearingDignified Tue 11-Dec-12 12:30:44

My word! Storm in a tea cup OP and ridiculous that the other parent lost control of her temper and swore at a four year olds' class carols. In hindsight, maybe you should have removed your DD and that's something to be mindful of in future but the other mum could have diffused the situation too.

My DD has slight special needs and throws tantrums which aren't age appropriate so embarrass us all. I just set my lips in a grim line, do some panto parenting for the other parents and remove her. There is no point discussing it until she's calmed down.

LoopsInHoops Tue 11-Dec-12 12:31:27

Well... both you and the other mum could have sorted it out so easily by separating the chairs, introducing a third chair or whatever. I don't get why it escalated so much - there were enough adults there to intervene.

HairyGrotter Tue 11-Dec-12 12:34:03

Christ, that other mum sounds like a prize bellshine. Fancy getting so worked up over a fucking chair?

I'd have given the mum a piece of my mind, but I'm a gobshite. Hope you feel better and have a little giggle about it at some point. Parents...who'd have 'em

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