Saturday, June 19, 2010

Child Hurricanes

One of the aspects of our new house that we enjoy the most is that it comes with built in friends for the kids. We are at the back of a driveway shared with three other houses. The house beside us back here has three boys ages 8, 5, and 2. Combine four active kids (the toddler is certainly active, but not much of a bike rider) and a long, cement driveway and you're guaranteed many, many hours of biking, skating, scootering, skateboarding, wall-ball, and basketball.

Most often, George is off by himself; but when he joins in, the others are very good about including him. Emma and the older boy have become great friends and are very evenly matched in humor, energy, and silliness. The five year old is almost always along, but is suffering from having his big brother's attention pulled away by this new long-haired interloper. His reaction is to get in Emma's face and bug, taunt, and pick at her until she is screaming with frustration and goes inside. Usually, within a half hour, they're all back outside again, having fun until the next whirlwind fight.

Yesterday, hearing a louder-than-usual screaming match, I headed outside. The boys had already left and a sobbing Emma was pushing bikes into the garage. We sat on the steps to talk and she filled me in. As the usual jealousy led to the usual arguments, Emma must have yelled to the older brother something about how she hated his younger brother. The usually diplomatic big brother leaped to the defense of his sibling and both boys began yelling at her about her "stupid" brother who was "worthless" and "doesn't know how to do anything".

And the mama rage erupted.

But I kept calm and we talked about how that felt and how much we love George. We talked about his strengths and how much he's grown over the last year. And what a good sister she is to him. Then Daddy came home from the store and was filled in.

And the daddy rage erupted.

But I calmed him down and we decided to wait a day before going over to our neighbor's house to kick their butts discuss the situation.

Luckily, today we were able to think more rationally and realize that this wasn't necessarily an attack on George. Our knee-jerk reaction as special needs parents is to protect first, think later. But in this case, it was just a normal kid fight that had escalated to the "your brother's dumber than my brother" level. We spoke to the father today and he agreed, but also took some time to talk to his sons about Autism (which he had also done when we first moved in).

Half an hour later, it was back to driveway races as usual. With all kids equally involved. Hearing George call, "Come on, guys, follow me!" and watching the others chase after him did our hearts good. It was a normal summer afternoon. Normal in a way we're still getting used to.
New Friends


Heather said...

"Triumph over adversity" should be the motto of all families with special needs kids. We have good times & bad times but usually the kids are the first to 'get over it'!! I love the photo at the end xx

Anonymous said...

You know, you really do have one special daughter (I am NOT leaving George out at all!!!) But she is. I am glad they have friends near them ... what fun they will have! And of course, expect even MORE fights to erupt as the temperature goes up, lol.

jennifer said...

It's great they got friends so close to hang out with, and fight with. I remember fighting with my friends on a regular basis, it teaches you about dealing with people doesn't it? Hope they have a fantastic summer playing together!

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Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Those are definitely the hard days. It sounds like everyone handled it well in the end, and learned from it. But it is still so hard sometimes.

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YaYa X6 said...

Good for you Mama. Sometimes as parents of special needs children we want to defend our Tricia as well. It is hard to let her just be a kid first and learn to fight her own battles

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Mr.Seoul Hairstyles said...

Your blog post "Child Hurricanes" remind me of the recent movie 'Tree of Life' !!

Keep up the good work!


Angie@Echoes of Laughter said...

Hi Meg! Thank you so much for visiting me and giving some great info about the loft bed! I am sure that we will have to chop some of the legs too...maybe 10 inches or so. You gave us a great tip because I wouldn't have thought of that and now I can get my husband to do that before it goes up in his room! Much easier!
I think you are so right when you say that this boiled down to a my brother vs. your brother thing. We have a 24 hr. rule at our house...which means you have to think things over for 24 hrs. before you act on anything! Sometimes what seems so bad at the time, after 24 hrs, seems not so bad and you have better perspective! Have a wonderful weekend! Angie xo

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