About a year ago I wrote about a brutally and beautifully honest conversation that I had with my younger child about their brother’s developmental disability. A wise friend commented that our conversation would be one of many “periodic check-ins.” My friend was right.
Not surprisingly, the last few weeks have created a need for more conversation.
A couple of months ago we started toilet training our son for the umpteenth time. It required intense amounts of attention, all landing during the winter holiday break, keeping us close to home and all eyes and hands on our boy (and his laundry). While he’s made great progress, apparently his younger sibling “had enough of it,” according to the sign on inside of the bathroom door:
In my defense, good ergonomics are a critical part of his success, and he’s in the bathroom every 30 minutes, so it’s less work to just leave the potty seat and footstool in place. But I get it. Younger sib puts up with a lot, and this was the last straw. Needless to say, we’re trying harder.
Then there was the breakfast table comment they made after all of the media attention that I have been getting these last couple weeks after the Huffington Post article about his complex needs. They had seen a copy of the care map on the laptop in the kitchen. “Mom, you know that web thingie that you made? Did you know that the G is for Gabe, and that he’s in the middle? Just sayin’.” Point taken.
It’s so much easier to deal with this now that we’re talking openly about it. I can imagine that not too long ago, sibling frustrations were never voiced and parental guilt just festered. Not too long ago, we didn’t acknowledge it either. But giving everyone’s experience some air and light is so much easier than denying it.
I’m so curious to hear what others are doing to support all their kids.