A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The great big sibling adjustment

"You really should have another child," they said.
"It will be amazing for Little Bird."

Were they nuts?! I was never going to have another baby. I couldn't take the risk of going through some of what I'd already been through, what I'm up against for the rest of my life. Parents whose autistic child had a sibling couldn't stress enough just how enriched their kiddo's life is with a sibling. Still, I wasn't willing.

And then I was. And then I was more than willing. I was ready.

And then this.

When we told Little Bird that our family was going to have a baby, she wasn't real interested, but as the pregnancy progressed, we read books (the key to her heart) and talk about it a lot. When J Bird was born, Little Bird came to the hospital to meet him. I made sure he was in the bassinet and my arms were free to welcome her. I also made sure I was in my own clothes so that she didn't see me in that dreadful hospital gown, think I was sick, and associate the baby with me being sick (yeah, I think and over-think). He "gave" her some presents and then it was time to really meet.

At first, she would ignore him. Wouldn't look at him, touch him, or really even acknowledge him. Two weeks after he was born there was a mid-winter school break where she was home for a week (that's a thing here in Michigan). It turned out to be great. She had more time to get to be around him, and get used to his noises. I joked that after that week I was certain his first words would be lyrics to songs from Frozen.

It started slowly. She'd say goodbye to him as she got onto the bus. She'd ask about him when she got off the bus: "where's Baby J?" She'd often ask, "Did J poop?" Yep, we're all pretty obsessed with poop 'round here. Still, she seemed intimidated by the idea of holding him, or touching him much at all. She began to quietly cozy up to one of us while we was holding him.

The crying is tough for a kid who's got her fingers in her ears most of the time anyway. But, she doesn't get nearly as upset by it as I'd expect. She has become an incredible helper. Ben always says, "you can ask her ten times to put on her clothes, but you only have to ask once to get something for the baby and she's on it!"

I'm beyond shocked at how well she's adjusted. But, really, she does surpass my expectations now and then with her ability to rise to the occasion. Earlier this week she even asked to hold him!! When Ben asked how long that lasted, I said, "about three camera clicks."

Looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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