gross motor skills

Judging Those Who Judge

We live in a small town.  It’s a fairly close knit community where if you don’t know someone directly, you probably know someone who does.

Being in a small town though sometimes means coming face-to-face with narrow minded thinking.  When I lived in the big city and came across people like that, I could scratch them off my ‘get to know’ list, and move on to other people and places.  In a small town that’s not always so easy.  Because if I do what I’d really like to do and tell someone exactly what I think of them, it’ll probably come back to bite me.

I take Vista to a physiotherapy group session every other week.  It’s supposed to be a good chance to chat with other parents who’s children are facing similar challenges and an opportunity for the kids to work on their gross motor skills and sensory integration issues.  Which is great in theory.  And the physiotherapist is really nice.  So are the other therapists and early intervention workers who come to work with the kids.  The problem is the other moms.

They’re complete bitches.

There.  I said it.

Oh, I know… you’re thinking “Well, Jenn…perhaps it’s not them that’s the problem?”.  Yeah.  I was wondering the same thing until an incident a couple of weeks ago.  But let me back up here…

The very first time I took Vista to this group, I hadn’t even had time to take off my shoes at the door before the other mom’s had sent one of their group to tell me to leave.  I wish I was exaggerating.  After I explained that the PT had invited us to be there, her only response was:

“Oh.  Well.  The other mom’s didn’t think you belonged here so asked me to come tell you to leave… but I guess if the PT invited you…”

Yeah.  I know.  Charming.

I figured it would get better after they knew we were supposed to be there.  It didn’t.  I found out why when one of the other moms came up to me after we’d been going to this group for a while.

Other Mom: “So, what are you doing here”

Me: “Pardon?”

OM: “Why are you coming to this group?”

Me: “Because the PT felt it would be beneficial for Vista to attend.”

OM: “OK.  But what’s wrong with her?  She looks fine to me.  I just don’t think you guys really belong here.”

And so we got to the crux of the matter.  Vista ‘looked’ too normal for their tastes.

vback Judging Those Who JudgeA couple weeks later, the PT having got wind of this conversation, took all the mom’s into a back room and had us talk about our kids.  The other mom’s were more than a little surprised to find out that we face some of the same challenges with Vista as they do with their children.  We had a long discussion about ‘not judging a book by it’s cover’ and how some issues aren’t always immediately visible unless you know what to look for.  Vista, for example, can walk, but has balance issues and locks her legs for balance rather than using core muscles.  This create problems with running or jumping.  She also has midline issues where she favors one side of her body over the other.  But all the other mom’s could see is: She’s walking, so she’s fine.

They were still cool towards me, until the week we got Vista’s MRI results back.  When I shared that we had found out that she was missing a membrane in her brain and the other MRI findings, all of the sudden I had a new group of best friends and I was instantly accepted.  I was stunned.  Vista was still the same little girl she was the day she walked into that group, but now that she had something verifiable wrong…well…that changed everything.

Ever the optimist I thought perhaps the mom’s had learned not to judge to quickly.  I was quickly proven wrong.

The next week a woman from the local Hutterite colony came with her daughter.  When we arrived I saw her sitting off to the side on her own, so went over to chat with her.  She was incredibly sweet and her daughter – adorable! But the other moms, true to form, didn’t even acknowledge her or speak to her.  She told me the other day that she’s decided not to return to the group.  And it’s not like I don’t understand why.  It just makes me sad.

And in a small town, there are no other alternatives.  Either you go to this group, or none at all.

So as much as I love my small town life… sometimes the people who go with it really suck.

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