You know, toddlers are hard enough to deal with when they are "normal." Having one that is developmentally delayed and that has some "issues" as I like to call them is exponentially harder. A normal child Will's age would be able to communicate his wants and needs. Instead, I have to play a guessing game when he's flipping out hysterically crying in the middle of a restaurant. I'm not skilled in the language of "hysterical toddler," so I usually lose that battle. Which is exactly what happened last night.
A good friend of mine was in Toronto last week for a conference. She and her husband drove all the way to Buffalo which is no easy feat on a Sunday with all of the folks fighting to get back over the border. We decided to meet at the Anchor Bar - home of the original buffalo wings. It's an institution here in Buffalo. It has a family-friendly atmosphere so I thought bringing Will along would be a good idea.
WRONG! Will was a menace. It all started about two minutes after we walked in the restaurant. Will wanted to get down and run around - something I wasn't about to let him do. Things went downhill from there. He started screaming! I took him outside to calm him down for a bit, and that worked temporarily. Once we sat down at the table, he just let loose. I spent a majority of my time with my friends apologizing and trying to explain Will's behavior. Had this been any other restaurant on any other day, we would've just gotten up and left, but that wasn't really an option. Thankfully my friends were wonderfully understanding. I cried all the way home though, just exhausted and thoroughly embarassed. I decided then that it will be a while before we take another trip out to a restaurant.
I feel like I spend a good amount of time trying to explain Will's behavior or apologizing for it. Usually, when we first get into a social situation, I immediately explain that Will's a late talker and has some developmental delays. Getting that out of the way early usually alleviates some of the judgmental stares we get from people. But constantly having to explain your child gets exhausting. I find it much easier to avoid situations where I might actually have to do some 'splaining. I know this is just a phase and that Will will eventually grow out of it, but I'm sure hoping it comes sooner rather than later.