It’s hard to be the sibling of a child with special needs, methinks.
Most of the time, just because of their ages and the nature of things, R and the Monster end up doing the same things (outside of school). If we plan an activity, it’s set up for all of us to go together and… there are advantages and disadvantages.
There are days where R benefits from the Monster’s accommodations. Any time we go to an amusement park or the like, he gets to enjoy the ‘skip the line’ privileges that the Monster gets (as long as the Monster wants to ride the same thing), and there are certainly a few things that he’d not have been able to enjoy otherwise, like catching a couple of local ballgames and the like.
But a lot of the time, it’s also difficult for him. Time at any activity is often dictated not only by when he himself gets tired/bored, but when the Monster’s patience is reached. I’m sure we’ve had to leave the amusement park or the zoo well before R himself is ready to go, and… that’s only going to be more of a problem as both of them get older.
So, once in a while, we’re trying to make sure that R gets solo time with either Mommy, me or both of us. It’s a little easier now that the Monster has hebrew school on Sundays, and easier still when the JCC’s “Sunday Funday” starts up as well (which means that he’ll have most of every-other Sunday without his big brother around). Today, for instance, we took on the JCC nursery school’s Color Run – kind of silly, really, since it was just a couple of laps around an athletic field’s perimeter while they threw colored corn-starch on us, including a lot of stops for R to have snacks – and in a few weeks, he’ll be starting curling with me. (Granted, afternoons where the Monster doesn’t have Sunday Funday, both boys are coming with me, but…) And hopefully those occasions will help to soften the “it sucks” blow for him.
The most telling part that this alone-time’s already needed is that R himself is verbalizing that he liked having time without the Monster this morning. Don’t honestly know what we can do, in the short term, to help with it, but we’re trying damned hard to keep him from resenting his brother in the long run…
I have had this feeling before. Being worried that as they age, one sibling might resent the other. We leave the circus early because our eldest is overwhelmed, starts biting himself and the other two have to leave with us. We don’t go to the parade, because we’re worried that our middle child will run away,and it might be too loud for our youngest, though our eldest loves the parade. And so on and so on..
Exactly. I’d like to think that R’ll understand more as he gets older – he tolerates it now since it’s all he’s ever known – but… that’s me being an adult (and fully capable of recognizing that sometimes, we have to do the necessary things instead of the fun things) and not a four-year-old. 🙂
Thanks for reading!