Friday, October 29, 2010

The "good" one. The "other" one.

This week I have been sharing about our son's struggle with ADHD and ODD and how it affects our family. Previous posts can be found
Here (re: recent discipline at school)
Here (re: his diagnosis)
and Here (re: my perspective as a parent)
They'll give you some good background if you haven't read them already.

Thank God it's Friday. I'm ready for a break in the morning routine and hopefully for some separation of these two yahoos I call my children. Somebody needs to go to grandma's for a night or two.

There has been a lot of screaming going on here lately. And when I say "screaming" I mean the serious, top-of-your-lungs, get the hell out of my face before I claw your eyes out kind of screaming.

No, not from me! From Rachel.

I used to joke that God thought we were such good sports for wanting another child - even though we already had one who was high maintenance - that he blessed us with the sweetest, kindest, most compliant child he possibly could. And a girl to boot. It was pretty fun that first few years, but now that Rachel has figured out she's an easy target for her brother's shenanigans she has begun to fight back.

We told Sam this would happen.

Rachel no longer follows Sam around and does his bidding so easily. She has grown into quite an independent soul. Great for standing up to her big brother; not so great for the mama who has to break up the tussles - sometimes physical, sometimes verbal, sometimes both.

Imagine a typical argument between siblings. Now multiply that by 100. Got that? Now take that and put it in a big Army tent filled with 100 people attending a church revival. Now drop a sports bar on Superbowl Sunday down in the middle of it. That's what it sounds like in our house on a regular basis. Some nights it's like the UFC. I could seriously set up bleachers and sell tickets.

And people wonder why I never turn the TV on during the day when they're gone at school. I'm enjoying the peace and quiet!

In all seriousness, I wanted to mention siblings today because it is so important for parents of kids with special needs to give as much focused attention as possible to the other children in the family, too. Yes, after the one has sucked you dry, you must somehow garner the energy to slap on a smile and take the other one for a walk or cuddle on the couch and read a book together. Just like any child, if the siblings feel they are not getting enough attention they will seek it out, positive or negative. I know this for two reasons: 1) because I see it happen with Rachel, and 2) because I grew up with an ADHD brother.

I see so much of myself and my brother in my own children. He would pick and pick and pick at me until I exploded. I wanted to hang out with him because he was older and cooler than I, but because of that he was also the one who could make me more angry than anyone else. By the time we were both in high school and he had his driver's license we were best friends. He can still drive me crazy, but I still adore him.

I hope the same will hold true for Sam and Rachel - that at some point they call each other friends. Sure they would like to bash each other's heads in right now, but they also spend weekend mornings making pancakes together in the kitchen, they kick around a soccer ball together, they build forts together, they draw pictures together. And I'm pretty certain they regularly conspire against me. So there's hope!

There have been moments when I wondered if having a second child wasn't our best idea. Perhaps if Sam was an only child we could provide him with more of what he needs. But that wouldn't prepare him for the reality of the world, would it? And even if we could turn back the clock I wouldn't give up my Rachel for anything. I wouldn't give up either of my babies. I wouldn't even change a thing about who they are.

OK, maybe I'd have 'em lighten up on the screaming. But that's it.

Oh, and I'd probably make it so Sam's feet don't smell so stanky. But that's really it.

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