Very special needs

I did something I regret yesterday. I was a bit over-stern with a lad in our village (let’s call him Marc) It concerned manners on which I’m rather heavy-handed. Trouble is, this guy, looking like most other sixteen year olds, has a mental age of about seven.

He’d turned up at our door asking me to mend a laptop for him. While being flattered that he thought I might be able to do it, my heart sank because Marc is a prime target for the other lads who offload their junk on him either as “generous gifts” or in the worst case, selling them to him. Also, if he asks for something he then comes back several times to see if you’ve finished it. He’s only a little boy, you see, despite being taller than me and that is hard to remember sometimes.
I took the laptop off him and said very clearly.

“OK. I’ll look at it but DON’T come back. I will bring it to your house when I’ve had a look. OK? Got that? Don’t come back asking cos you’ll only get me cross, I’m a bit busy.”
He pushed off and my worst fears were realised when I opened up the case and found a Toshiba that had been dropped, kicked around, had at least five keys missing and a power unit that didn’t work. It was FUBAR. That irritated me because I knew Marc would have taken it with high hopes of having his own laptop, his folks being settled travellers with no money. We used to give him odd jobs to do but had to stop as standing over him to make sure he did as he was asked for his cash was a waste of time and after he devastated our garden completely, we gave up. I wasn’t looking forward to telling him that it wasn’t worth mending and would cost more to put right than buy a reconditioned one.

Sure enough, ten minutes later the doorbell rings and there is Marc. Had I done it yet?
“I told you I will bring it back to your house.”
“Yes but will it be today? When?”
See? A kid. A great big eager kid who wants his new toy and I lost it.
“Marc that is very rude. When someone is doing you a favour you don’t go hassling them and asking “when” because they are doing it for nothing. You wait til they are finished and then you say thank you.”
Alright. It was a lesson he did need telling but I could have been a little kinder. That is why my heart goes out to any parents of kids like Marc. To have to be that considerate and that mindful all the time is waaaaaaaaaaaay beyond me and I’m usually a pretty nice person…or so I’m told.

Handle with care - fragile
Handle with care – fragile

3 thoughts on “Very special needs

  1. Dont be so hard on yourself Ailsa, us parents of special needs children lose it too, and we’ve been practising with our wee darlings since birth. Have a chocolate-flavoured hug x

    What a shame the poor lad was going to be so disappointed though.

  2. I’m with ouremuk66. We can’t all be saints and while he may have special needs, he probably understands that he can drive people buggy as well as any other person with a mental age of 7 (which, going on the performance of my 6 year old is, perfectly well). He may even be more accepting of your humanity because of the way he is. I was at school with a kid who had a young mental age and while I know people – and disabilities – are all different this could certainly be said for her. It must be tricky though, I should imagine you’d quite like a word with the little bastards who sold him the lap top and all.

    Cheers

    MTM

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