On conquering the great divide with love….
One of the major challenges of having a child that is on the spectrum (or any other ‘special’ stuff going on) is the balance between siblings. As I wrote in Day #29 – Sibling Struggles. I try to give space and voice to Estelle. Last night, she wanted a turn on the blog and decided she wanted to do an interview. She wrote some questions and I helped her write others.
An interview with Estelle (age 10, 5th grade)….she loves the title of the blog by the way.
Mom: How is your life?
Mom: We sometimes refer to what happens to Tucker as a meltdown. Can you describe what that is?
Estelle:Um. It’s when he kind of like…let’s see. So you guys are like asking him how his day is and he argues…well he doesn’t really argue but he says stuff back. He just likes makes a big deal out of it.
Mom: What do you notice about him when he has a ‘meltdown?’
Estelle: He starts to cry.
Mom: How does that make you feel?
Estelle: Kind of annoyed.
Mom: How come?
Estelle: Mostly because it happens when I’m about to say something. It’s not really that important, so it’s not like I’m saying something really important but he just interrupts and I know it’s rude. And that’s frustrating.
Mom: When does he most often have them?
Estelle: When we’re going away.
Mom: Why do you think that is?
Estelle: Because he feels less comfortable anywhere else than home.
Mom: Do you know if he’s about to have one? If so, how?
Estelle: Yeah. He kind of does this thing where he curls up into a ball and he swats you away when you try to help him.
Mom: How do you feel when Tucker has a meltdown?
Estelle: I feel weird. Usually it happens when I’m about to say something, but I have gotten used to it now. It’s fine because I’ve heard it [the meltdown] and been in on it a million times. Well not a million…but you know what I mean.
Mom: Does that ever frustrate you?
Estelle: All the time.
Mom: Do you know what autism is?
Mom: How would you describe autism to someone else?
Estelle: I would describe it like it’s when a person’s body doesn’t work the way you know…well…you know like a ‘normal’ person …I know I shouldn’t say normal. But the way a normal person’s body works.
Mom: Do you still love him?
Estelle: Yes, and my opinion is if a child does not like their siblings, that’s just wrong.
Mom: Do you want a ‘normal’ brother?
Estelle: No. In fact, no one is normal. I would dislike my brother more if he was normal. Because then I would be the one who gets beat up. ‘Normal’ brothers beat up their sisters or at least that’s what I hear.
Mom: If he wasn’t your brother, do you think you would still be friends?
Mom: What is crappy about having a brother with autism?
Estelle: I want to say that he gets more attention than I do.
Mom: I know you worry a lot. Is there anything that you worry about with Tucker?
Estelle: How he’s going to work out when he gets older.
Mom: Do you feel like we (parents) do an okay job of letting you talk about this?
Estelle: Sometimes, it just depends if you’re busy. Sometimes you can’t see things and it’s fine but I wish I had more opportunities to talk about it and express my feelings about it.
Mom: Anything else you would like to say?
Estelle: Not really, actually.
There you go folks…it’s hard to put this ‘out there’ – but it’s honest. It looks like we (as parents) have some more work to do.