Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Normal Normal

When Baby was a baby, Sister loved to hold her and talk to her, but as they both grew up Baby was becoming less social because of her extreme sensory needs and lack of any speech and Sister was becoming more aggressive and challenging. Baby was scared of Sister's outbursts and therefore would avoid her most of the time. When she did want to be with Sister it wasn't good for Sister because Baby would squeeze, pinch and kiss her because of her sensory needs and this would throw Sister into her aggressive fits.

Over Christmas break I noticed that Sister was letting Baby hang out with her in her room as they colored, cut paper, looked at books and played with legos side-by-side.

I couldn't stop sneaking to the side of the open door to watch them and revel in the moments of them acting like sisters. Of course there were arguments and sometimes someone ran out of the room crying and tattling, but the good of it was definitely outweighing the bad.

Then there was Brother all through Christmas break who would do nothing but sit downstairs in the TV room in "his" chair watching Netflix and listening to Shania Twain simultaneously. The only time he came out of that stupor was to do his dishes, eat dinner or search the fridge for another apple.

I remember when our niece, Kelsey, and nephews, Bryan and Junior, lived with us that Brother always annoyed them because he wanted to be in their business all the time. He would sneak in to listen to conversations with friends, try to sit on their lap or turn up his music and wait for them to come sing or dance with him.

Brother would also attach himself to perfect strangers sometimes by grabbing onto their legs or trying to sit on their lap and he would always say, "hi" which was one of the very few words he would actually say.

I remember back then trying to teach Brother not interrupt his "siblings" all the time, give them some space and some time with their friends and I remember how we would try to impress upon him the importance of knowing a stranger from a friend so he would stop hugging or climbing on the laps of people we'd never met.

I never would have thought that his craving for social interaction would deteriorate to him wasting his time away in a basement with the TV and iPod.

At least that's what Marc and I see at home.

However, at school, he is a very social and very interactive teenager who is loved by many.

I am not sure why he is one way at home and another way at school. I can only guess that his social interactions throughout the school day are actually quite overstimulating for him and when he's home he just wants that to be his safe place where he feels no pressure and can just zone out and feel less anxiety.

So, I'm trying to be OK with the girls fighting, tattling and arguing because I am not sure how long they will continue to buddy around with each other. Maybe Baby will become like Brother and not allow social interaction unless completely on her own terms. Maybe Sister will let her obsessive behavior get in the way of having friends.

I don't know.

I do know that I miss the social little guy Brother was when he was little and wish I would have enjoyed that more than try to change it.

I do know that because of that, I will try to not discourage Baby and Sister's interactions because of the constant arguments and meltdowns, because I would rather that their relationship was fleeting rather than not at all.

I do continue to hope that one day Brother will be as social with us at home as he is with those at school.

These pictures were taken back in 2010 and they are still some of the dearest to my heart.

I also continue to hope that Sister and Baby will always have each other for their benefit, but also, slightly for my selfish reason of wanting to watch a "normal" relationship between siblings.

But, what on earth, makes me think anything will ever be "normal" in our family?


So, as I've said before and have to continue to remind myself and tell others,

"We have just found a different normal."

It's how I console myself in times of wanting/needing normalcy, but also how I have often accept Our Life.

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