For purely financial reasons, Corbin and I generally travel to Sydney for ABR clinics by ourselves. Although Corbin is not very big for 6 years of age (which is so not due to lack of food intake, it is something that goes with the territory for children/adults with Cerebral Palsy) now that he is getting bigger it can sometimes be a struggle carrying him on and off the planes, together with our rather large back pack. However while I still can carry him, ie until my back gives up completely, I do carry him reasonably frequently just for convenience.
On our last trip to Sydney in November, after disembarking from the plane it was discovered that there were no wheelchairs or strollers available at the gate for me to put Corbin in for the rather long trip through the Sydney airport to customs and the baggage claim. So rather than wait (because I had to be at an ABR workshop in Parramatta in an hour and a half - nothing like cutting it fine) I told the air hostess not to worry I would be fine. So I started walking down the corridor.
A very concerned airport staff member (complete with walky talky in hand) in her rather loud and abnoxious Australian twang said to Corbin "You're too big for your Mum to be carrying you".
I should add here that I had been up since 5.30am NZ time, I was cutting it fine to get through customs, get our luggage, navigate the Sydney rail system to get to Parramatta and then find the hotel where ABR was to be held, all with me pushing Corbin in the "big kids" stroller with one hand, back pack on my back and towing a big suitcase behind.
This is not the first time someone has said this, in fact it happens quite regularly, but for some reason on this particular morning I just couldn't let this one go. I think it was the fact I didn't get much sleep - or it could have been the Australian twang. I stopped in my tracks and "politely" said to the lady "You know sometimes things are not always as they seem - I would dearly love to put him down and have him walk but he can't!!!"
The poor lady was rather embarassed and then tried desperately hard to apologise by being overly helpful, I ended up feeling a bit bad for opening my big mouth, but hey she did manage to get us an airport stroller pretty quickly and even got someone to meet us at the baggage collection and help get our things all the way to the train.
So next time you see someone you don't know carrying an older child - don't open your mouth - there may well be a perfectly good reason for it.