So, lots of parents like to tell other people how to parent. Including me. But I’d like to remind myself and others that perhaps one should judge not, whether or not ye get judged. The whole story is not apparent.
Many people find it objectionable to cart older kids around in strollers. They find this so objectionable that there are tumblrs and articles about it, ridiculing the parents who commit such a travesty. See here and here and here.
My middle kid, the developmenally disabled one, is quite tall for his age. If his syndrome were as widely known as Down syndrome, he would be clearly identifiable as having it. But it isn’t, so he isn’t. A doctor would definitely be able to peg him as having a genetic disorder, but usually not people who are not in the medical field. Many people used to think (getting less true now) that he was typical. Friends expressed surprise when they met him that he looked, to them, normal – just kind of funny-looking (I think he’s gorgeous, btw). Strangers would say, “Oh he must be a little sleepy,” or “Ooo, he’s a little out of it, isn’t he?” Um, yeah.
And his motor skills were harder hit than his cognitive skills. He can’t walk, or sit independently for more than a few minutes. So we kept him in the stroller when we took him out, including at restaurants and religious services and on walks at the park. I can’t tell you how many dirty looks we got for that, and even a few overheard comments. Also got some glares for letting him chew on a cloth or baby toy. One of the reasons I got a wheelchair when I did instead of waiting for a few more months while we could still use a stroller was to cut out those nasty looks.
Anyhow. Any parenting situation might be more complicated than it looks.