Thursday, February 16, 2012


'Tis good for the soul, is it not?

In keeping with that, I have a little one to share.  Okay, it feels huge.

All of you pretty much know by now that I spend an hour a couple of days a week with Richie and Maelynn while we wait on Ryan at therapy.  The littles are great during this time.  People come by and talk to us, say hi to the kids, note how cute they are, that kind of thing.  One nice professorial-type even gave them some play dough yesterday!  We rehearse our Cubbies bible verses, we hang out and color, stick stickers, play with cars, you know, anything we can do rather quietly.  Richie and Maelynn are both all smiles, please, thank you, yes ma'am, no ma'am the whole time.  For real.  They're awesome.  Yes, we have times when they're not as perky as others.  But on the whole they're easy.  It's the beginning and end that are a little shaky.  And here's where confession comes in.

I'm not as cool as Ryan.  I'm not at all fun to follow.

So at the beginning, I can deal with Richie's crushed spirit when Ryan goes into therapy.  It's not fun and it certainly isn't easy, but we get through it.  We snuggle, we talk about what Ryan's *really* doing in there, that he's not playing with toys, he's working hard, and once he realizes this he's golden. Just takes a minute or two.  The other end is where it gets embarrassing.  Here's a bit of what it looks like.

I look at the clock, and at about five till Ryan bops out of the room, I start reminding Richie that he needs to listen to Mommy, not Ryan.  He needs to sit and wait until I've finished talking to B, the therapist, and then we'll all leave together.  That way, I'm thinking, when Ryan runs down the hall, I'm left with just one to chase.

When the door opens, Ryan runs straight to stim on the elevator doors opening.  I try to keep Richie in his seat and be cool, giving Ryan a chance to obey.  Then he runs.  Not sure which way, sometimes up or down the stairwell.  Never to the elevator, because he still has to be carried onto that.  So I go after him, then Richie's three-year-old, brother-worshipping mentality can't withstand the pull.  Got to be like brother.  At one point yesterday, one was running one way and the other running a completely different direction.

Can you say "Mommy fail"?

Part of the problem is that I want Richie to think his brother's great.  But he has to learn that, in order to stay safe and learn to be a productive member of society, he kinda has to obey.  Whether it's us, a boss, a teacher, he has to submit to some kind of authority.  We all do, whether we like it or not.  It's part of civilization.  Part of this is choosing who to follow.  In Richie's case, I want him to love his brother.  I want him to enjoy with, hang out with, share interests with, and share life with his brother.  I do not, however, want him to blindly do what his brother thinks is cool.  Saying a stimmy word with him here and there?  Yeah.  Running after him into traffic?  Notsomuch.

This is where the fertilizer hits the fan.  What do I say?  I don't want to hurt his impression of his brother.  I don't want him to begin thinking that his brother is less than he is, less than we are.  I want him to love his brother, and grow to love others even though they may not operate in his comfort zone.  But the differences are only going to grow in sharper relief, even though Ryan is making leaps and bounds.

Then I realize that it's partially me.  I don't want to label him in my heart.  I know his challenges.  I know the can/can't yet list.  I also know the likely won't list.  And it frightens me.

So where does reality meet Richie's impression of his brother?  I want him to love his brother.  I've told him over and over that I want Ryan to be Ryan, and Richie to be Richie, and Maelynn to be Maelynn.  I don't want two Ryans.  I love Ryan, but I want a Ryan and a Richie.  I don't want two Richies, either.  I want a Ryan and a Richie.  I think the truth doesn't lie in having Richie find worth in his brother.  The answer is in Richie's desire to follow his mother overriding his desire to follow Ryan.

This is where it gets REALLY personal.

Truth is, I don't want to be good, or I would. It's my nature as a human to do the easiest, most fun thing for me.  Yours truly.  It's easier to wallow in my frustration than sit down and iron it out, many times right here.  It comes far easier to reply to my husband with snark than a frank, honest, clean answer when I'm in that mood.  You know, THAT one.  So I have the same trouble as my three and a half year old son.  Following my selfish desire to stay in bed another five  thirty minutes is more appealing than getting a better head start on the day.  Ouch.  Stepped on my own toes, there.  But I get it.  It's so much more fun to run giggling behind his brother than stand all polly-perfect beside mom.  I get it.  But he has to learn to stay beside me, because safety is where Mom is.  I won't lead him into traffic.  I will protect him from danger.  I will guide him in the way that is best, making sure to pick him up when he trips.  When I can, I even point out the fun things.  A squirrel here, a flower there.  Sometimes even something as cool as an airplane, train, a digger, or a helicopter.  Yup, with mom isn't a half-bad place if you look at it right.  It might even be freeing.

Empathy doesn't solve the problem, and it doesn't excuse it.  I will continue the correction and reproof the little guy needs, because hey... I'm gonna give him the car keys in thirteen short years.  He'd better learn to obey the rules now, because it's gonna be a billion times worse to be figuring this out later.  Honestly, if any of you who have ASD kids and younger, impressionable ones have any insight I'm ready for it.  I've tried all I can think of.  The "will you help me" angle only worked for a minute.  And we're going back tomorrow.  I do know one thing... I want him to keep thinking his brother's the bee's-knees.  'Cause I think they all are.

Thanks be to God for it all!!!

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