This week saw our littlest boy turn four! Where has my baby gone? He was very excited about his birthday and loved opening his presents, blowing out his candles, having a wee party and being the centre of attention. It was lovely to see his reaction to everything being for him.
We try very hard to give both of our boys everything they need and to make sure they are happy. B is a very happy little boy and he gets to do lots of fun and interesting things, always going out to new places and having new adventures. He is also the younger sibling of a child with autism and no matter how much we try to shield him from this, it will always be a big part of his life. He has taken a lot of responsibility onto his young shoulders already. He has to be patient when we are dealing with J’s meltdowns, put up with J quite regularly taking toys from him (because he hasn’t quite got the concept of sharing yet), run with us as we chase after J on outings and he also translates some of the things he thinks his brother wants or needs, amongst many other things.
B has never known it any differently, this is all perfectly normal to him, it’s just a part of our every day lives and he just gets on with it. From one point of view this is a good thing, as he accepts his brother for who he is and takes it in his stride. However, I worry that as they get older and B sees other children at school with their brothers and sisters that he will notice he is different and maybe question why our situation is the way it is. I suppose we just need to make sure that he knows he is loved and appreciated and that his brother is grateful for the things he does for him. We also need to ensure that he understands that J needs him and loves him, even when they are fighting over toys or TVs programmes.
Having a sibling with a disability is difficult, no matter how hard anyone tries siblings will always be affected. It’s so important to make sure that they also have times when life is just about them and their wants/needs, no matter how difficult this might seem. His birthday was one of those days. I look forward to being able to provide many more!
I found this page on supporting siblings was a good read. We have already been trying to do many of these things but it’s always good to get other ideas and even just to reinforce that some of what you are doing is the right thing: