Thursday, April 18, 2013

But I want it, too

Bailey loves his older brother so much. "To the moon and back," we say. He does a lot of things to emulate Morgan. For a while, he even flapped, cut his eyes to the side when speaking, and imitated some of Morgan's vocal stims. He loves him so much, he told me today that he wishes he had Autism, too.

I asked him, "why?" Why would he want Autism?

"Because I want to be smart like Morgan and I love him. I want to be like him. But I don't want meltdowns, those look like they hurt," he said.

I contemplated how I would talk about this. I didn't want to put down Autism to my son because, to me, that would be to put down his brother. At the same time, I really wanted to be honest with Bailey and not spare that many details. I wanted to make him see that being Autistic isn't a picnic, just as being the brother of someone who gets so much attention isn't a picnic, either. Not to offend anyone, but this is what it is.

"Bay, you're smart, too. You don't need to be like anyone else because you're great being you."

I explained that while, yes, Morgan has an innate ability to discern math problems, find the details in some things, and remember the scripts to movies and shows, he also has some learning difficulties. For instance, he's in a special class for reading. We don't know if he'll ever be out of those special classes. We hope so, because that's the goal, but we just don't know.

"But if they're special, that means they're 'good,' right?" he asked. "Well, one would hope so and in this case, it looks that way, yes," I replied, "but there are 'special' classes all over this country which aren't doing what is best for those kids. You hear me speak about Special Education a lot? Well, I say it's 'special' because it's often overlooked. Those kids are often overlooked or treated badly. Bay, it keeps me worried."

We talked some about how Morgan's been bullied just by being Autistic. How, because of his stimming, scripting, and love of trains, he's been a target for jerks in the past (and present, but not so much). Bay's response was awesome. "Mommy, next year, Morgan and I will be in school with each other. Those kids won't mess with my brother. Know why? I'll go tell them 'Don't you mess with my brother or I'll tell Santa AND Jesus. Then I'll snatch you baldheaded!!'" The ginger spark plug has spoken, future bullies. You're warned.

I pointed out to Bailey today that he doesn't have to be Autistic in order to be smart or have meltdowns. He's already smart and he definitely has had meltdowns.

I know that was a lot for my five year old to absorb. He sat quietly, thinking... then he asked, "Am I special?"

Without missing a beat, I told him, "Of course. Everyone is special, sweetie. It's just that some people are special in different ways. You're my special redheaded kiddo. Morgan's my special brown haired kiddo. He happens to be Autistic, you happen to not be. I love you both equally."

Morgan hung the moon, as far as Bay is concerned. I love that even though they fight, they are each others best friends. It worries me that I might be failing Bailey at times by concentrating so much attention on his brother. I worry that I spoil Bay to make up for the lack of time I might give him when his brother is home, which is kind of silly because he's with me all day. I worry about what I am teaching him about his brother.

Yesterday, when we picked up Morgan from school and a meltdown was ensuing in the carline... Bay reached over to his brother and said, "Morgan, it's okay... Mommy's here, Bailey's here. We're here. Cheer up, please? Hey, I gotcha an Icee!" He kept stroking his brother's hair and saying, "shhhh" as I was doing the same. He worked with me to calm Morgan down. It worked.


  1. This is when it hits you, Hey, I'm doing a good job with my kids ! Kudos to you Mom !

    1. Thanks! I might have to come back and read your comment daily now, lol.

  2. Replies
    1. I give him a lot of crap because he gives it to me (he's my carbon copy)... but he really IS a terrific kid.

  3. "Bay, you're smart, too. You don't need to be like anyone else because you're great being you." ...perfect. I love many things about this post but that answer is the most perfect one you could have given.

    You are doing a GREAT job with those kids, Mama.