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To ask AIBU to remove my weepy whinging just-3 yo from craft session after only 10 min?

(27 Posts)
TrucksAndDinosaurs Thu 20-Feb-14 00:24:22

DS has HFA and SPD and is just 3.
He was tired and didn't want to go to fine motor skills play therapy session with occupational therapist but I took him as
1. Too late to cancel and we'd paid (£50)
2. He often cheers up and gets into it after grizzling at first.

Today there was another mother with a child and another child (minus parent). It was her child's first session.

The session is open to DC who need occupational therapy for fine motor problems and many of these DC have SN.

My DS was not having a full blown autistic meltdown, just crying and saying he wanted to leave and play outside.

I adopted my usual strategy which is not to performance parent for onlookers benefit by cajoling or scolding or reasoning but to sit in corner and hold him whilst looking slightly bored, paying no attention to fussing and redirecting his attention to what's going on in room. And saying, yes, we will play outside later but first we are here to have play session with [name of OT and other dc]

The OT suggested I put DS in play tent to calm down or take him into a side room. From experience this would just prolong the fussing. And he would get louder and they would still hear it all and we risked tipping into a full blown meltdown.

The other mother started rolling her eyes and saying her DC was disturbed and it was his first session and a pity. Her DC was watching but did not seem upset, only curious and continued to play.

I pointed out to OT that DS was calming down, we'd been there under 10 min and children crying and fussing was something to be expected in preschool/ play groups and most DC would have experienced it.

As DS doesn't have a mute button and I wasn't able to get him to stop fussing immediately and I couldn't handle the glares, wibu to give up and take him out?

I am annoyed about it because I think
1. I was handling it
2. It's not unrealistic to expect a weepy kid at a 2-3 year old activity session
3. Particularly when DC with autism/other SN are among the participants.

And we had paid and were doing our best.
Maybe her child never fusses, maybe he was very disturbed but I couldn't see it, maybe I'm being hypersensitive that my boy is not NT but I went home feeling angry and shit.

What would you have done?

Amy106 Thu 20-Feb-14 01:00:38

No you are unreasonable, not at all. You know your child better than anyone and you were acting in his best interests. I know you are upset but I think you handled a difficult situation really well.

Jemimapuddlemuck Thu 20-Feb-14 01:04:35

It cost £50?!!

Oneaddoneisthree Thu 20-Feb-14 01:07:40

I can see why you were annoyed. It sounds like you were handling the situation perfectly and your DS may well have calmed down and enjoyed himself. Your DS is very lucky to have such a calm and patient mum!

TrucksAndDinosaurs Thu 20-Feb-14 01:47:16

Heh I wasn't very calm driving home. I was fizzing. I don't know because I only have one child and he is who he is, whether it is U for the (v young, sweet, keen, no DC of her own) OT and the other mother (of a child younger than DS who appears to be NT) to expect me to be able to deliver up a ready-to-play, cheerful, non-fussing DS to a scheduled group?

Because the attitude from both seemed to be: oh, you've brought a crying child into the group! You can't do that! You must make him settle! The OT even said to DS: 'this is school - you can't cry and fuss here. You must behave'

He's just 3, ffs. He doesn't go to school.

I thought: well, that's a bit unrealistic as small DC do fuss and IME it's hard to deliver them up on schedule to play cheerfully with others sometimes but give us a chance.

But I felt like it was unacceptable for DS to cry and for me to bring him in crying and try to settle him in there.

And I thought: oh maybe other 3 yr old's parents would expect their DC to settle or not fuss and I'm being PFB thinking DS needs a bit of time.

Or maybe they were being U.
So thought I'd ask MN.
Thsnks

ILoveWooly Thu 20-Feb-14 01:54:05

It sounds like you have had a shit day due to other people being precious.

No one knows your child better than you. Tomorrow is another day, it sounds like you are doing a fab job.

I have to say for £50 a session I would be inclined to email the course co-ordinator and express how unwelcome you were made to feel.

kickassangel Thu 20-Feb-14 02:29:35

I'd be tempted to ask for the 50 quid back. They can't exclude your kid for his SN and the OT shouldn't have said things like that. Maybe ask what her training is with non NT kids and how she expects to deal with them?

RedorBlack Thu 20-Feb-14 06:06:19

They were completely out of order hmm it sounds like you were doing a fantastic job and a little understanding would have been nice. Seriously ffs what 3 year old doesn't have bad days. If OT doesn't understand that, she needs retraining, and if other mum (pfb much!) has never experienced it, she will.

Please do contact the course organisers and complain hmm

FWIW, you sound like a brilliant mum smile

QueenofLouisiana Thu 20-Feb-14 07:49:19

I'd assume that as this has been provided to support children with SN that there would be an understanding that:the children may need time to get into the session, that their parents may know how the encourage their own child into the activity and that the professionals should provide active support- not criticism.

I'd ask them when they will be re-scheduling your session as you have paid for it but been excluded. How are they making reasonable adjustments so your child can access the programme they need?

halfwildlingwoman Thu 20-Feb-14 07:58:06

I cannot fathom why other mother's do the eye-rolling thing. Even if I was unaware that your little boy had SN, I would still have been understanding to the 3 year old who was unsettled.How can people be so lacking in empathy? I always think, there but for the grace of god.

Davidhasselhoffstoecheese Thu 20-Feb-14 08:15:04

You both paid 50 for a fine motor skills play session. I would expect to attend and not have a child cry and tantrum for 10 or 15 minutes. It would have been a real distraction and spoilt the experience for others.

If he is usually like this why not arrive in the building 20 minutes early so he can be ready for the session when it starts?

Also why do you consider cajoling to be performance parenting? Very odd.

Davidhasselhoffstoecheese Thu 20-Feb-14 08:16:13

And yes my children also cry at times but I always act with consideration

StrawberryGashes Thu 20-Feb-14 10:01:37

She was completely unreasonable, and very rude. I take my child to a lot of SN activities as he has HFA too. Some children sit in the corner screaming and refusing to take part, sometimes it's my son who refuses to take part. I have never heard anyone act the way that lady was acting.

StrawberryGashes Thu 20-Feb-14 10:05:23

I also have a nt daughter and still would never act that way if I took her to an activity and another child was unsettled.

AnyaKnowIt Thu 20-Feb-14 10:07:50

Sn or not, if you are going to a group with 3 year old you expect crying and tantrums. It's called being 3 years old!

I would either ask for your money back or re book the session

mummyto2boysandagirl3 Thu 20-Feb-14 10:24:47

I'd b asking for my money back!! £50 to b told my 3 yo can't b a 3 yo??? No way I certainly wouldn't b going back sn or not u go to anything with 2/3/4 yr olds expect tears and tantrums if it's not ur dc it will b someone else's they all do it they're children. My oldest has moderate hearing loss so takes time to settle at places we have and still do the arriving early thing mentioned up thread as it seems to help him but that other mother had no right rolling her eyes she won't like it one day when the boot is on the other foot. Hope ur ok

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 20-Feb-14 10:25:57

When dd was 2.9 - 3.4 she went to a ballet class where mums joined in. (ie kids wen't left.)As far as I'm aware (and we all used to chat a lot and have lunch together afterwards) all the girls were neurotypical.

This type of thing would happen with one child or another pretty much every single week. It's normal behaviour when dealing with toddlers surely? It wasn't usually dd (her particular trick was when we took her ballet leotard off afterwards to also whip her pants off and race around joyfully naked!) and occassionally she was distracted by it but mostly I'd just say "oh dear - I think Susie is feeling a bit shy today - you do your gallops and maybe she will want to do some too."

Is this not just life with toddlers?

DoJo Thu 20-Feb-14 11:18:40

In fairness to the OT, perhaps her comments about school were an attempt to get your son to calm down (in the same way that often NT children will do what they are told by an adult other than their parent), so she may have been trying to help even if it did come across as abrupt and ultimately unhelpful in your son's case.

The other mother should have just ignored the situation, as everyone who has EVER spent any time around toddlers would normally do, and indeed as it sounds like her child was doing.

Fair enough if you were at an event where noise from another child would actually prevent someone from enjoying themselves, but craft activities don't require quiet normally and it sounds as though you were handling it well.

TrucksAndDinosaurs Thu 20-Feb-14 11:23:37

Thanks all for responses.
It's a good point about taking him early to be settled.
Unfortunately the session is at 1.30pm and he's collected from playgroup at 12pm; there's only just enough time to drive home, give him a rushed lunch and drive to session as it is.

His grizzling usually stops by the time he's got out the car - it was unusual for him still to cry after being greeted by the OT.

Cajoling is a perfectly reasonable way to settle some 3 yr olds, btw - it just doesn't work on DS and merely encourages him into great heaving sobs and losing it completely as does any engagement with the tantrum such as 'let's move you into the play tent' or 'if you can't stop crying we won't be able to play'. People staring make him lose it. Cuddling him down whilst looking bored and avoiding eye contact and talking works fastest but I realise it may have looked ineffectual/like I wasn't trying to onlookers with different DC/no dc and/or different experiences of tired weeping tinies.

Anyway, I have now spoken to the OT and said the format of that session doesn't work for us: we won't be coming again but would like to switch to a different session if there is one suitable (mainly because of the time but also because the other mother wound me up and DS will pick up on my anxiety about him fussing in front of her again)

It is good to know that other parents wouldn't be phased by small DC having a fuss in groups - Nt or not smile

mummyto2boysandagirl3 Thu 20-Feb-14 11:34:05

Do u think he could b too tired for the session after play group? I used to take dc1 to football and 90% of the other kids had spent the morning at preschool so were shattered and there was always lots of tears and tantrums. Would making him a packed lunch to eat in the car b a possibility if there isn't another session time? Don't let the other mum bother u karma will bite her in the bum no ones dc is perfect we have all had to deal with public tantrums they're not fun but part of having a toddler.

TrucksAndDinosaurs Thu 20-Feb-14 11:37:05

Actually I've just realised: I should maybe have said what I was doing to the other adults rather than just do it because they probably thought I was not trying (presumably they have different methods that work for them). I was just too focused on DS and trying not to look flustered myself!

Morgause Thu 20-Feb-14 11:38:06

I have sympathy with everyone here. The other mother may have seen signs in her DC that he was being disturbed, she knows him better than you do. She may also have been worried that he would refuse to go again. And she'd paid £50.

The OT handle it badly but she was embarrassed, I expect, and worried about the other DCs. Her suggestions may have worked before with other children.

Your strategy of ignoring and looking bored may have looked to them as though you weren't trying to quieten your DC.

I don't think anyone was being U. Not much help, am I?

Morgause Thu 20-Feb-14 11:38:35

Cross posting trucks

SolomanDaisy Thu 20-Feb-14 11:40:46

I can only think that it is the first time she had been to any group activity for toddlers/preschoolers. I've never been to one where there hasn't been screaming, crying, etc. (frequently from my very loud DS).

WooWooOwl Thu 20-Feb-14 11:52:10

I think you did the right thing by going home.

While it is to be expected that small children might be grizzly at a place where you expect small children to be, if it's disturbing other children to the point that they can't fully engage on the activity then it's only fair to take the grizzly child away.

Some children with SN find it quite distressing when other dc are upset and it does have a big impact in how they access an activity. So while I have sympathy with your position, I also have sympathy with the other mothers position as well.

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