I’ve probably mentioned a few times that R is enrolled in a couple of studies for siblings of children on the spectrum. Framing this weekend are the two-year appointments for these studies, where the wife’s having to take him into the lab for him to be evaluated… but that also means loads and loads of paperwork, where we’re answering questions ad nauseum about his development.
It also makes me think about those times where our children are particularly normal or not.
Granted, R behaves in ways that makes it fairly apparent that he’s reasonably neuro-typical. There are places where the surveys would give me other thoughts, but… he’s two. There are things he’s not interested in because of his age, or because that’s just not how we’ve handled things around the house. Things like where R is quite content to share his toys with the Monster, or where he’s not really the kind to get worked up about things…
And on the other hand, there’s how both kids react to each of us.
Yes, I’m aware that children usually have very different reactions to their parents – inevitably, despite any working on these things, parents are going to have different styles and kids’ll have a preference for one or the other. R, for instance, vastly prefers his mother. The Monster can go either way, it’s seem, based on who might be more willing to cater to his wants.
Saturday, the wife wasn’t feeling well, so I sent her off to bed and neglected to wake her until after the kids were in bed. When she got up, she expressed amazement that the kids actually went to bed without the slightest fight – both the Monster and R had gone off to bed, with their whole routines, without either making any noise to wake her up. (And R has a very complicated bedtime routine that he wants observed.) This, of course, neglects the fact that the Monster actually is very willing most evenings to go to bed with the most minimal of prompting, because he’ll often make it clear when he’s tired. But, mostly, both kids know that they don’t have much latitude with me – I’m big enough to pick either of them (or both at the same time) and I’m usually not going to budge when I ask them to do something.
Last night, on the other hand, I was out of the house for most of the evening for my curling team’s practice. I got home late to find out that both children had put up huge fights about going to bed. Now, my wife’s often the more lenient one with them, but without knowing the whole story, I don’t know if R started and just got the Monster worked up, or if the Monster did it on his own. (I actually kind of hope – because it’s a good sign – that it’s the Monster on his own, rather than his feeding off R’s energy.)
These are the kinds of things that aren’t really asked about on the forms. Certainly, these forms ask questions about whether they go willingly to bed or not… but they don’t ask about the times where the children behave differently for one parent or the other. Or where the children show a preference for one parent or the other. If it matters if one parent or another asks them to do things.
And honestly, it’s these breaths of normalcy that make things really weird sometimes…