I have heard of this happening to people and I thought I knew what I would do but then it really happened to me and the sheer angriness and inappropriateness of the person completely dumbfounded me.
This is what happened: After picking Logan up from the school bus, Spencer, Logan, and I walked back into our building. We have a hard time with this transition. Unless I march them into the elevator like a drill sergeant, they will run around (street or hallway), laugh, shout, shriek, and do anything else that can earn them the title of "The ADHD Brothers."
That day, I saw my very elderly (90+) and blind next-door neighbor walking toward the elevator door with his home health aide. Of course, even though he had an aide, it was very apparent that an extra hand would have been good to hold open the door for them so I did. This of course resulted in the ADHD brothers being left to handle themselves for a minute or two.
Then another elderly neighbor from my building came by and saw the ADHD brothers doing their thing, jumping and shouting in the mailbox area. The elevator is very close to the mailbox area but my back was towards them because I was holding the elevator door so I could only hear them but not see them.
The next thing you know, this lady is shouting at my children, telling them to shut up. (Shut up?) By the time my elderly and blind neighbor and his aide were safely in the elevator, Spencer came running to me in tears. What an awful scene.
I got my two kids in the elevator and then she came in as well. Then, while looking at the floor and not at my face she reprimanded me:
-You have no control over your kids
-Your kids hold up the elevator on your floor because your kids are always playing with it
-Your kids are so loud, screaming everywhere
-Everyone in the building is talking about you
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.
Sometimes, I kind of just ignore these people, especially if they are elderly and looked unreasonably angry as she did. However, she did make little Spencer cry and THAT AIN'T RIGHT. Either way, like with my neighbors downstairs, I usually tell them that my children have neurological disorders that causes them to exhibit certain behaviors that are hard for me to manage. But this time, I had Logan with me and I felt strange saying this in front of him especially in such a hostile situation. When he was younger, I would have probably said something but now if I talked about him in front of him, he'd probably ask me "Mom, what does nurcology shoulder mean?" Articulation, you gotta love it.
Nevertheless, I forced myself to talk back to her just because while Logan said nothing, I am sure he knew what was going on. I have to model how to respond to a bully, don't I? I told her that I do have control over my kids (why did I say that?) and that my children don't play with the elevator (not the way she says they do) and lastly told her that she was unbelievable (ma'am). Very weak, I know. It was just an odd situation. This lady is generally very nice and had even once cried on my shoulder because she is at home caring for her husband with Alzheimer's. I even gave her some information about a caregiver program I knew of that could have been of assistance to her.
Don't get me wrong, I know I should have just told her VERY FIRMLY that she had no right to do what she did and if she had anymore complaints, she could just direct it to building management. But this incident opened up other questions for me.
- The truth is that I don't always have control over them and they are loud and unruly. How can I explain this while my kids are standing right next to me? Are there times when I shouldn't bother?
- Should I feel bad that the "whole building is talking about me?" I know there are people who like my kids but of course, some people will not like their noisiness. I do care about my neighbors. I have to live with them. Should I now start a behavior training tactic directed at having good behavior in the hallway and elevator?
- What are my rights when it comes to having kids with neurological disabilities and living in an apartment building?
- When is a good time to talk to Logan about his condition?
- When is a good time to stop talking about Spencer's (now 2) disabilities in front of him?
Either way, I don't know if any of you are interested but now I'm really curious about those questions above and once I get them answered, I'll let you all know. If you have a tip on who is a good expert is to talk to about this, please write me an email and or a comment.
Picture: This is my "cutey face" picture of Spencer. How could anyone make a 2 year old cry like that?