The Other Child…MY VIEWS, NEWS | Nirasha Jaganath | November 8, 2010 at 7:10 pm
As I watch my 3 year old act out pulling her 5 year old sister’s hair for the 100th time instinctively I wanted to punish her by taking some favorite toy or at the very least a timeout. The only issue is I would have doled several of those in a day for all the hitting or throwing stuff already. To an onlooker it may sound like a open and shut case of an undisciplined child, but this mama knew better.
I may have cut her more slack than needed as I am perpetually exhausted and disciplining is tiresome on a parent. But it could also be because I know it is tough being a sibling to a kid with special needs. Being jostled around from therapy to therapy where waiting rooms are practically a second home would throw a wrench into anyone’s schedules – except we all know after the first kid the schedules for subsequent kids are nonexistent.
If that was not enough to stress one out, the fact that trying to connect with your sibling whose disabilities hinder the social connection you so crave might leave one frustrated to say the least and rather incomplete. Not being content at the somewhat futility of her acts, the little one pushes (and pushes) hoping to stir up something.
Last week I mentioned my frustration to a therapist, who weekly witnessed me barely being able to listen to feedback of my older daughter’s session as the 2 girls squabbled. I added that I thought that my younger child actually felt “jealous” of the “fun” in therapy. She suggested a short time in the session with her sister for the next time. When I relayed this to my husband, I could see my 3 year old’s ears perked up. But I had no idea how intently she had been listening. Last week, after patiently (I should have realized something was going on when she behaved perfectly while there) waiting for her sister to come out of a therapy session with another therapist she waited for a moment and approached the therapist. She said “I heard you might have a trampoline back there and maybe next time I could go see it with you too?” My jaw dropped as I realized she had been planning this line for a while. I was so proud that she vocalized her thoughts and was so proud of her. When the therapist said maybe that could happen, she was content.
Today when she was invited for “special” time – her face lit up – and though she still had to wait some time in the waiting room – being allowed into the hidden world of her sister’s seemed to be just what she needed. Well, for now anyway.