R had a parent-teacher conference on Monday, when the schools were out.
For the most part, he’s doing fine according to his teachers – he’s a bright, sweet, thoughtful child, at least around them. They did express some concerns about things they’re seeing, but buffered it with the fact that he does have an older brother who is on the Spectrum, and that most of those behaviors that concern them seem to be ones that are in imitation of his brother.
And that, of course, is where it gets weird with having siblings sometimes.
Granted, both children model for each other. There are times where R picks up something the Monster is doing – phrasing, for instance, or he’ll imitate behaviors that he sees going on – and times where the Monster picks up something that R is doing.
The former is a big problem, because the Monster’s behavior may not always be the best. A lot of the things that get imitated are when the Monster’s in a mood – when he’s shrieking, or jumping around, or just being reticent about something – and he’s doing it just for what he thinks is fun. Because the Monster does “food friends” when he’s working with his feeding therapy, R wants to do it too, which is more amusing than disturbing. However, R’s also picked up things like running on his toes, which is one of the things that his teacher noticed that would otherwise trouble her.
I can point to fewer things that the Monster’s picked up from R, however. He does, certainly, imitate how R wants him to play, and he’s been generally good about trying to at least play in parallel with his little brother. If one’s down in the playroom, chances are that the other one’s not far behind, even if they’re not going to be playing with necessarily the same toys.
But he likes to be around R, so he’s started in some ways to adopt some of the things that his little brother wants to do. It’s more and more impossible to keep the Monster playing with his sensory sack without having him insist that he wants R in it as well… which is a problem when you’re his size. If R wants to go upstairs, the Monster wants to go upstairs too, and sometimes this means finding both of them in R’s crib, giggling and rolling around.
There are plenty of things that I could hope they’d model for each other, but at least for the moment, they’re modeling being loving brothers…