Oh my! My boy, 4B, is having such a tough time adjusting back to school. He's in first grade this year. Not one of his classmates from last year is in his class. He's always been my socially slow-to-warm-up one, and while he's very popular with his peers (that was at the top of his kindergarten teacher's comments last year), it can take him awhile to make good buddies.
He had been concocting every ailment under the sun to get out of school, bitching about every chore and meal, stomping his feet up the stairs at bedtime, and generally being a pain in my ass.
He is the kid (thank GOD) who does what a grownup or teacher expects of him because he likes to please. It's a wonderful organic quality to have, and as a mom of an Aspie, I appreciate that quality immensely. But, I think I may be quick to take it for granted.
Because he's typical and because he's easy, I can tend to just expect him to get "it" already. I have to really slow myself down and remember that he's not the black-and-white, one-and-done kid that my Aspie is.
Not to mention that he has the double burden of being her brother. I know it's hard for him, as it is for me, to understand her sometimes, and I know he gets the short of end of the stick a times because she's so needy.
He is exactly 17.5 months younger than her. I wasn't intending to have him so close to her, but the birth control pills I was taking while nursing failed. And thank goodness they did! I needed to see a typically-developing child so badly to ease my angst about my role in my eldest's autism. I needed a boy who LOVED to cuddle, who looked to us for comfort, who was happy. I will forever be grateful to my sweet boy for healing my heart as a mom.
But there has been a cost. His infancy and toddlerhood, those glorious months of discoveries and cute sayings and firsts, are an absolute blur to me. I barely remember them because 4A was in the worst of it then. He missed my attention and encouragement at times during this early years because his sister was so needy and so hard. He got the brunt of my frustration and tears...I was constantly on edge, and I know he absorbed that. He had to go without so that she could have treatment.
We all turned out okay, better than okay, of course, but that doesn't mean that it didn't suck. He and I can't get those months back. We're very close, he and I, and he is still my rock, my escape from the hardness of 4A.
While he's amazingly accepting of his sister's autism and incredibly wise about it, he's not a fan of autism generally. One day, he told me that he's so hopeful that 4D doesn't have autism because he loves her so much and couldn't stand for her to ignore him the way his spectrum sister does. Another time, we had a young boy to the house who is suspected of having autism and that boy threw a block right in 4B's face. That night, I told him that the child probably has autism, so it was hard for that child to understand not to throw the block when he was mad. My sweet, soulful boy said, "Oh, okay. I get it now. Mom, you know? I really hate autism. It's not fun." Well, isn't that just the understatement of the century?!
Being kind, thoughtful, generous, and responsible comes easy to him. He has the capacity to be happy and content organically. Seeing those traits develop spontaneously in him (and later in his two younger sisters) has been AWESOME to witness. But, because those things come easily to him, I often don't have the patience I should with his bumps and troubles along the way.
Here this kid is going to school every single day, heartsick for his buddies from last year and his beloved kindergarten teacher, quietly and appropriately doing all that's expected of him academically, socially, and behaviorally while there, and I'm bitching at him about whining in the morning about having to go to school? Exactly where do I get off?
He's an awesome kid. A good boy. A smart boy. A kind soul. He has paid the highest price out of all of them for 4A's autism. He's lost things he can't ever get back, like my time and patience and encouragement.
I suspect he's entitled to his bit of age-appropriate, typically-developing angst.