Monday, February 25, 2008

I Have Two Boosties

Sometimes when my husband has both kids in his lap or arms, he joyously tosses back his head and proclaims, "I have TWO boosties!" Don't ask me how we came to call them boosties -- I think I've explained often enough that sleep deprivation leads us to all kinds of weirdness.

But does anyone forget I have two? I mean, does it seem like the Peaches gets overlooked for being neuro typical? (And should I knock on some wood or something? Because I know the deities don't like it when I assume a positive stance... maybe I should say that, so far, Peaches seems to our untrained eyes as being mostly neuro typical...)

I adore my kids - BOTH of them. I spend equal time with them, make sure Santa doles out equitable shares from his big red bag, set the same rules around the house. I talk to them equally, but I realize I talk about them in unequal amounts. The rooster gets more. But the fact is it often seems like the rooster needs more. So is that fair? I often come back to a speaker we had a school several years back, before I was married or had kids. He stuck with me when he said, "A common misconception is that fairness means giving all kids the same thing. Fairness means giving each child what that child needs." I get it, but sometimes I feel guilty anyway. I guess it's a parent's job to figure out what each child needs. And to provide it. And to feel guilty.

Peaches is home sick today. It is the first time I can remember that she caught a widely circulating virus BEFORE her brother. I kept feeling the rooster's head in disbelief. Cool as a cucumber. Peaches is the one with glassy eyes, a runny nose, and a warm head. Huh. I have to pay close attention when I go to get her some Tylenol so that I remember to administer HER dose, based on HER weight. The rooster went off to school with his dad, and Peaches and I are at home, a little in shock, secretly a little relieved at the prospect of getting some quiet time; we have slept even less than usual, and that is saying something.

I am the youngest of two children, myself. I have an older brother with whom I have never gotten along, and I mean to tell you he has abhorred the site of me since I came home from the hospital, and 36 years later he's steeped in his complete contempt for me. I can't really say exactly why -- I guess only he can -- but I do know that I was a voracious reader from the time I was about four, and since he was nine at that time, he didn't particularly enjoy hearing all the adults remark, "Look at that! She reads better than her big brother! She's so smart-- ahh, what a joy." I was the reader, and the writer - he was the fighter.

It would certainly be hypocritical of me to assume my kids will become best friends, or even get along well, but while I'm trying to figure out how to treat them both fairly, I want to try to give them a fair shake at a relationship. I'm trying hard not to let them feel compared, I'm trying hard to reduce the sense of competition between them, I'm trying hard to resist labels that might become assumptions and pigeon holes.

I have two boosties, and I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm trying hard.


Niksmom said...

Oh hurray! You turned your comments on...did you get my telepathic message I tried to email you last night? :-)

I found you through a mention on someone else's blog and wanted to tell you thatyou are SO not alone in your journey. I also have a 4yr old son w/medical issues and developmental delays. He is somewhere on the autism spectrum; depends on who you ask and how the heavens are aligned as to where he actually falls. He has a diagnosis from doctors but school wouldn't give him one. Long story.

Anyway, I look forward to reading more about BOTH your "Boosties" and invite you to come over and read a bit about Nik (a good starting point is this post:

Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

Hello! And welcome. I came by way of gretchen's blog and I wanted to say that I can relate so well to your worries and your writings about your son. My son is 6 now, but at 3 he was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, and then at 5 with PDD-NOS.

I mostly wanted to say that much of what you write rings bells with me and I know how hard it can be sometimes. But I also want to say it gets better. Easier. Different.

I look forward to reading more about you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I am really delighted to have found your blog! I can relate so very much. My daughter does not have a diagnosis either but it's possible that PDD-NOS would fit. I too am constantly searching the net trying to find some other kid that looks like her. I find elements of her in various other blogs that I read, but no exact match. I bet every parent of a special needs kid can say that though. No two are alike. My daughter is Hyperlexic (as diagnosed by me) which may or may not be on the Spectrum, depending on who you ask. I know what you mean about wanting to explain away some behavior by saying, "She's ASD,' or something. Sometimes I feel like I'm a guest at the club, but not a member. Which right now is okay by me. Do I really want to be a member of this club?

I have come to accept that if my daughter needs services beyond preschool (she's 3 1/2 now) she'll probably get the PDD-NOS label. A label as a means to get services is fine by me. It really doesn't change anything.

Just like for Rooster - the label won't change his challenges but it may open up some opportunities for resources.

I will add you to my reader and put you in my blogroll. We sound a bit like we're in the same place.

Really glad to have found you!

Anonymous said...

Hi GHKCole,

I think what you can do is to always have your husband compensate (and vice-versa) for the time you're spending one-on-one with your autistic boy. If he's not around, maybe another close family member...

I'm sure your daughter will be able to realize how much you love her. Keep it honest, talk about her feelings, and come up together with new ways to enjoy special one-on-one times with her. : )

Mary said...

HEY!!! I recognize this Rooster! :)

Welcome to the blogosphere! I'm so glad you made it!

tulipmom said...

Hello! I too found your blog via Gretchen and Nik's mom. My 7-year-old son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 3 and Asperger's at 4. I am expecting a daughter in April.

I look forward to reading more about your two "boosties."

Joeymom said...

Hi! I have two little guys myself- an autistic one and one who is technically "neurotypical" though he has sensory issues. perhaps "developmentally typical" is better. But we run into the fair thing all the time. Its a fine balancing act. An art. Parenting. Personally, when in doubt, I ask "WWMRD?" (What Would Mr. Rogers Do?).

Welcome to the neighborhood. I brought cyber-cookies. :)

Jordan said...

Hi! I'm visiting by way of Niksmom. Great blog! I have a similar relationship with my brother - probably for similar reasons. And I share your fear of setting my kids up for it as well. Both of my kids are NT but there are still periods of time when one gets a lot more of my time than the other for a variety of reasons. I believe what you said - that it's really not about loving them "the same" because they are not the same. And I tell them that, too, on the rare occasions that they ask - "I love you for being you and I love your brother for being himself." I think it's enough.

redheadmomma said...

Nice to meet you! Welcome! I'm visiting via the always ebullient Niksmom. Glad you decided to find the rooster by writing about it yourself. We all benefit. I've subscribed to you. :)

I'm the mama of two kiddos - Noah is 6 years old with ASD, Maya is 3 years old and is neurotypical - I'm not sure which one is more of a challenge. I started my blog waaaay back in late '05 because I found myself wading in a lot of grief, and my blog was a way to work through it. I'm in a very different place now, thankfully, but please visit my older stuff if you want to see that, or just look at the current stuff to see, well, the current stuff. ;) Welcome!

Anonymous said...

Hi, darling. I'm proud of you and your new blog. What a wonderful thing you've made here. Just reading it is good for me.

You know, since those evaluation results came in last night, it's been a bit of a roller coaster. And those new labels, they don't press them on gently, do they? More of a jab. And for us, mentally, a lot of parrying to do. How to adjust our sense of our selves, our family, our Rooster? And what of that ever changing vision of his future - what do all of these new conclusions mean for that?

But then, as the school psychiatrist pointed out, these people don't really know much about our boy. How could they by watching him for an afternoon? And, for the record, if you ask a kid to stack blocks then start wondering why he seems so interested in stacking blocks... I'm just glad we're not paying for this.

It seems all of our doctors and specialists are really just as lost as we are in the "curious constellation" if his issues.

On my way back from the gas station last night, I was trying on a few of the labels for size, "My son, Rooster, is autistic," just to see how it felt. You know what? It may challenge my expectations about the Rooster "developing out of" whatever he's going through, but it doesn't change a speck of who he is or how I feel about him. After all, a Rooster is a Rooster is a Rooster. And I have no doubts about how lucky we are to have him. The one thing the evaluation team may have gotten right is that he's a sweet, charming little boy.

I have two boosties and one wonderful wife.

Blog on, baby. Blog on.

floating in space said...

Hi- Niksmom sent me over. This parenting gig is tough, isn't it? I have 3 kids, my oldest (5 1/2) is on the spectrum. I constantly feel like I am neglecting one of them at any given moment.

Welcome to blogging!

KC's Blog said...

Hello, my name is Tina, I am K.C.'s Mommy. I found you through Gretchen's Blog and though I'd stop by and introduce myself.

Nice to meet you and your kiddos! I look forward to reading :)

KAL said...

Hi and welcome! Coming to you via Niksmom... you are certainly not alone. I have 3.5-year-old twin boys who are on the spectrum (one pdd-nos, the other autistic). A lot of what you've written resonates with me. I look forward to reading :)

kristi said...

Hi, I found you through Gretchen's blog. My son was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder last year, but I knew something was not right when he was around 3 1/2...or 4 years old.