Painting Faces

The unfiltered innocence of a child is to be cherished.

Life teaches us from an early age to put on a mask to navigate different scenarios and relationships – familial, friendships, professional, social.

It’s not about deception but rather to demonstrate emotional intelligence – including respect, collegiality, trust building.

Sometimes, it is a necessity when dealing with difficult news or challenging situations.

I cherish the relationships that allow me to truly let my guard down.

I feel that children are true blessings, because they haven’t been moulded by life experiences just yet.

Kids like our T, who are often impulsive in action and thought, amuse me at times with how filter free they are.

Last Friday night during daycare pickup, the staff told me about an incident that had happened between T and two sibling students.

When T and I were in the playground after, I was approached by the students’ father and I knew this was not going to be a pleasant conversation.

I won’t get into the specifics other than to say that both sides had a role to play – but I put on my listening face, because the father was escalated and I was looking to deescalate.

The father labeled T a danger, neglecting to mention the situation started when his child threw sand at T’s face, albeit unintentionally and yes, T could’ve responded with more grace, but I explained that he has a disability and impulsivity and regulating emotions are not his forte.

The situation really bothered me. I will be the first person to admit T is not without challenges. However, the dad took it too far with his judgmental response. Such is life for people with invisible disabilities.

But I refused to let it ruin our long weekend, especially after the amazing week T had in school.

So I did my best – and it was far from perfect later that evening! – to put on a happy face.

We had a relaxing and fun weekend planned, including the first school birthday party that T was invited to since the pandemic.

T was super excited since getting the invite two weeks ago and his CYW, the hubby and I prepped T in the days leading up to it.

We made sure to arrive early so T could calmly ease his way into the event.

T was shy at first but warmed up. He enjoyed playing chase and balloon tag with his classmates and other young guests.

The hosts organized an amazing party, which included a face painting station, an hour-long magic show and a delicious spread of Indian food.

T was reluctant to try the face painting at first but by the end of the second hour, he was having so much fun that he approached the painter and lined up and waited patiently for his turn.

He got a cute Minion on his forehead.

The hubby and I felt so proud of T for overcoming his shyness to have a great time.

We texted photos to his CYW who texted back to say that she was proud of T too.

During the magic show, T sat on the carpet in the front row and was fully engaged and participating.

The magician asked the kids if they believed in magic and as I looked at T’s face of unfiltered joy, I said to myself, “Yes I do.”

33 thoughts on “Painting Faces

    1. Thanks Vickie. The dad is a good man and his reaction was understandable. I’m glad things have seem to be calmer now.

  1. I love the minion! I’m so sorry about T not being given the benefit of the doubt because of his condition. People need to do better!

  2. You got my blood pressure up just reading about the other kids father. Kudos to you, I don’t think I could have left it like that without stating the fact his kid threw the sand. Anyhow, (whew I’m still mad) you must be so proud of T at the party. I still remember your post of the last party and look at how much progress T has made! What an amazing little boy, OK he’s not so little anymore!

    1. Thanks Diane. The hubby said he wouldn’t have been as gentle either – but for me, it was about deescalating first and then trying to find common ground. But I hear ya, part of me often thinks about taking a different approach too. 🙂

      It sounds like some distance helped as the kids were playing together in the sandpit again – first day together since the incident.

      We are very proud of T. He reminds us every day what an amazing kid he is, despite driving us nuts throughout each day. 😆

  3. Ab, it sounds like you navigated the situation in a way that respected each party. I am sorry you had to, and glad T has you in his corner seeing him fully in both his many strengths and areas of need.

    It also sounds like the birthday party was rewarding in many ways.

    1. Thanks LaDonna. The birthday party was great. Kids like T often get excluded from these events and I’m glad he got to have this happy experience. It’s all he could talk about at school apparently.

      I try to be respectful of all sides as I recognize our T is not always innocent. But more and more, I’m learning to be assertive rather than apologetic. It sucks to have to take this stance sometimes but he’s our #1 priority at the end of the day. 😊🙏

      I hope you’re keeping well. Enjoy your upcoming long weekend. We just finished ours. Boo.

  4. I couldn’t agree more about how amazing it is how kids are so honest and open. It’s a shame we lose some of that as we become older. Sorry to hear that you were confronted by the students’ father. I never understood why people react like this. But good for you for remaining calm and collected, and not let it affect your long weekend. How wonderful that T was invited to a birthday party and that it was a huge success!

    1. Thanks Linda. It was uncomfortable for sure but I totally understand where the dad was coming from. But there are two sides to the story and with some distance, I hope he’ll see the big picture and have the shared goal for reconciliation.

      It was a wonderful long weekend otherwise! And thankful for that. 😊🙏

  5. I wish the father of the siblings had handled the situation in a less judgmental way. But adults can indeed be very judgmental — I used to be one but I keep trying to learn and understand, not judge. I’m glad you were able to remain calm to defuse the tension. On a lighter note, I love how happy T looks! That last photo in particular really makes me smile.

    1. Thanks Bama. That last photo makes me smile a lot too.

      I can understand why the father was upset as T was certainly not innocent in it too. What I always never appreciate is when someone tries to present a one-sides story. Hopefully with some distance, we can come a reconciliation.

      Enjoy your week ahead. We had a holiday yesterday so it’s a short week now! 😊

    1. Thanks Margie. I was certainly not calm all weekend about this but calm when it mattered the most with this parent. 😊 T was certainly not innocent in this either and I’m hoping with some distance, there can be a reconciliation.

      Hope you had a nice long weekend!

  6. I am sorry that parent handled the situation the way he did. I hope maybe he will take what you said and sit witj them, and learn from what you told him about FASD. I am so psyched that T went to a birthday party and had so much fun!

    1. Thanks Rebecca. It was a fun party and I’m thankful T got to experience that. I think the memories helped carry him through the rest of the weekend on a positive note.

      T was certainly not innocent in this situation either but I was disappointed the parent tried to present a skewed one-sides version. I’m hoping I opened up his eyes a bit about a disability and that with some distance there can be a reconciliation between the kids!

  7. Parents are the worst. Credit to you for being patient and respectful. I seem to have lost that patience and calm for insensitive $&@!?. I’m glad too that you were able to put the event behind you and have a great weekend! Yes, I too believe in magic!

    1. Thanks Brian. Magic is what keeps us going as parents. 😊

      T was not innocent in this situation but I think the parent tried to present a one-sided and skewed take on the situation and understandably so, he was upset. I hope with some distance, the kids can reconcile!

  8. He’s getting tall fast!🥰
    I’m glad to hear how much he enjoyed himself & participating. Sorry for that rough encounter, but it sounds like T having a great time helped ease your frustrations in the matter.
    Has T been ok since his close friend moved away? I’ve been thinking about him & keep you all in my prayers.

    1. Thanks Tammy! I always appreciate your prayers. The first week was rough after his close friend moved.

      Thankfully early last week we had a video chat between the kids after the mom reached out – we gave them our number. It was nice for them to see each other as the other child also talked about missing T. The mother works on weekend so it’s hard to get together but we will try to do a playdate one day.

      Thankfully, kids are resilient and bounce back. His amazing CYW has been trying to “matchmake” and encourage T and other kids to play together at school. 🙏

  9. I’m so sorry you had to deal with the insensitivity of that situation Ab, but clearly you took the high ground. I hope that dad was able to reflect at some point and will be more mindful of his reactions to others in the future.

    So glad T had a great time at the party. I love his Minion forehead 🙂

    1. Thanks Deb. Minions are so fun and T was role playing them when we got home and got terribly upset when he had to have his bath and wash it off. 😆

      The dad’s reaction was understandable. I would be upset too in his shoes. What I didn’t appreciate was the one-sided take on the situation. T was not innocent in the situation either and I hope with some distance, the kids can reconcile!

  10. Like Wynne, that last line really hit me. I’m thrilled to hear T had such a magical time at the birthday party! As for the other dad, I’ve noticed that when we’re able to engage with calmness and grace to those who are on edge, the lack of reactivity seems to catch them off guard… which, sometimes requires a recalibration. Hopefully, you’ve given that man a positive example of how he might handle future confrontations with a little more empathy and understanding.

    1. Thanks Erin. It really was a magical time at the party.

      You make such a great point around the importance of staying calm. I think for me it was about trying to find a common ground. Both of us, as parents, only want what’s best for our kids and I tried to use that as a common ground to start a conversation, especially with an already escalated individual. In fairness, he was respectful and approached me rather than T!

      1. You have wisdom beyond your years, Ab. 🙂 You’re absolutely right–you both want what’s best for your kids and don’t have full control over their actions and behaviors, so coming from a place of calm really is the best way to approach the situation.

  11. Oh, you gave me shivers with that last line. And now you’ve passed the magic on to me! Oh, I’m sorry about the tough situation but I love how you can help people, like that father, to hopefully understand about invisible disabilities. It reminds me of the post you wrote about not making excuses any more. May we all find the magic of more understanding, grace and empathy! I’m so glad T had such a wonderful time!

    1. Thanks Wynne. It was a tough situation for sure but with some distance, it didn’t feel so jarring anymore. The magic of time, space and distance. 😊 I’m hoping that equally with some distance, the kids can reconcile too. 🙏

      Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead! You have a long weekend coming up. We just had ours.

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