The Stalker at the Beach

On a beach somewhere in Maine you see a small blonde-haired boy bodysurfing. His mother — that’s right his mother, not grandmother, bitch– is watching lovingly from the sidelines not yet aware a stalker has descended.

FullSizeRender (1)

Thorin’s Endless Summer

Cue the soundtrack from Jaws.

Out of the corner of her eye, the mother, sees a middle-aged woman (these types are always middle-aged women) laser-focused on her son who also happens to have Down syndrome. You stare at her and she smiles back. Crap, you recognize she is a Do-Gooder! Every summer you come across them. They have some kind of nebulous connection to a child with a disability. Meaning they think “they” are all alike and super special.

You ignore her because your son isn’t even aware of her. He’s doing his thing, Man. As she circles closer and closer into his space the soundtrack picks up in tempo and volume, she’s coming in for the kill. Your only hope is she will come for you and not him. As she saunters over–as much as you can saunter in waves, you steel yourself.

“Hello! Are you his grandmother?”

“No, I’m the mother.”

“I work with special needs kids.”

“Okay.” In your mind you are thinking: “I wish you wouldn’t.”

Your husband, who is super hot, shows up– he’s been through this with you for years. He puts his arm around your shoulder. He doesn’t say a word to the woman.

That doesn’t deter her, “I love to watch these kids! They’re so special.”

Ward and I reflexively grimace– because it’s creepy, right? Doesn’t she get to watch them enough at work?

“Can I go say, “Hi” to him?,” she wonders.

“Do you have to?” I answer.

She smiles a crumpled smile and looks confused. Then she moves back toward the shore where she belongs. The soundtrack recedes. You got this!

Thorin is never the wiser. That makes you and Ward very happy.

I know she doesn’t get IT. Here’s the IT. What if some guy stared at a well-endowed woman at the beach. He starts circling her. She gets nervous. He comes to her, smiling: “Hey, I’m a breast guy. I’m admiring your breasts. You have quite a rack. I could watch you do anything!”

Shocker, it’s not appreciated! Either was this chick’s comments about Thorin. The beach is about The Chill and The Cool and The Mellow, Man. Don’t Harsh Our Buzz.


Thorin and Ella on the beach.

We are beach people. Here’s a lovely post about what’s good about the beach.

This entry was posted in Down syndrome by Kari Wagner-Peck. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kari Wagner-Peck

Kari Wagner-Peck lives with her husband and son in Maine. She is a writer & storyteller who home schools with her son. She is the author of the memoir Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey, May, 2017, Central Recovery Press. She has been published at CNN, Psychology Today online, The New York Times Well Family blog, The Huffington Post, The The Good Men Project, The Sydney Morning Herald Daily Life blog, BLOOM and Love That Max among others. Author page: Twitter @KariWagnerPeck and Facebook: Email:

12 thoughts on “The Stalker at the Beach

  1. Ok. That is annoying on so many levels. It’seems not like you met, introduced yourselves and was having a pleasant conversation. All kids are special and have needs…. they are kids (Even the adult ones – needy that is. They tend to lose that specialness either right before or during puberty). She did not think before speaking nor considered anyone else’s feelings. Sort of like when strangers reach out to rub a pregnant woman’s belly. ANNOYING! Good to know he enjoyed his time at the beach.

  2. We are so protective of our kids being able to be themselves and have fun. I can’t wait to get our girls to the beach. It seems we can never let our guard down. You think you would be SAFE to relax at the beach. Love the Jaws theme, so true!

  3. I do not agree with the author at all……My SON was very special and He was different from the majority of children around him…..and he WAS mostly happy all the time and more loving than your otherwise “normal child”…The new generation get so up tight—I did not want my child in a public school—and He got to participate in EVERY sport the school. took part in..He played on the basketball team, the floor hockey team, the bowling team, the volley ball team etc—-that would not have been the case if he hd gone to the public school system……just a moms humble opinion….:)

    • It’s sounds like your son was a great person. I do not think Thorin is more loving than other children or even tolerant. I think he is special but not because of his Ds. At the end of the day we both love our sons which is important. I am glad you are offering a different view point.

  4. Wow how about just letting her say “hi” what can that hurt. Responses like yours just make people less willing to greet/talk to people with disabilities.
    I always say hi to kids at the beach and enjoy watching them enjoy the ocean. What motive did she have that so offended you? Instead of shunning your son she wanted to interact with him.

    • Here’s her motive in case you missed it in the post: “I love to watch these kids! They’re so special.” That’s not saying hi to a kid at the beach– that is someone who likes watching “special kids. Did I shun her? If you refer to the post I asked: Do you have to? Thorin was bodysurfing. Why does she get to interrupt him doing that? I also have a obligation to educate my son about stranger danger. Just because she says she likes watching kids with special needs — does that make her safe? I do the same as you: I say hi to kids playing at the beach. I do not however stand and stare at them. There is a family at the beach who are regulars. The father and two of the children are little people. What would you think of someone staring at them and then coming over to say: I just love watching little people?

  5. I’m with you, Kari. Unless this woman is saying hi to every single child on that beach, why single out Thorin? I learned this the hard way. The next thing the stalker wants to do is touch your kid. Yes, that happened.

    • Sorry for delay! Yes the toucher! Why don’t they get it’s creepy to touch children because they have disabilities?

  6. Kari I am laughing so hard! Thank you for sharing. I have SOOOOO felt like this. My children are adopted, some have special needs and some are trans-racial. I get every question under the sun! I think we would have a great day at the beach together!

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