My Boys Like Each Other
All three of our sons not only love one another, but they actually like each other. That says a lot to me. There is a certain obligation to love your family members, but I know a lot of siblings who don't like one another. There's that old adage of sibling rivalry and it sprang forth from somewhere. Of course, our sons get annoyed and irritated with each other from time to time. Heck, they even get mad at each other here and there.
However, no matter how angry or fed up they can get, they seem to always come through it still liking their brothers. They have taught me a ton about unconditional love and forgiveness. I need to be more like them when it comes to forgiveness, that's for sure. It isn't as easy as they make it look. They let things go and don't carry the burden of a grudge. I wish I could do that better.
Through it all, they generally lift one another up and stick together.
These Two Neurodiverse Brothers Share a Special Bond
As close as all of our boys are, there is something to be said about the bond between our two neurodiverse sons. They are incredibly close. I have known this to be true for most of their lives, but now I know why (If you go back and read my post entitled, The Things No One Tells You About Autism, you'll see why I say that). They understand each other in a way that only they could. They are there for one another. They help and calm the other in times of fear or distress. We have a lot of those around here as our autistic son also suffers from panic disorder and currently PTSD. Our youngest son can amplify the anxiety at times, but for the most part, he calms his brother down and helps him to get over his panic attacks. At the same token, his brother teaches him so many things that are difficult for some people with Down syndrome to learn. He helped him learn to ride a bike when no one else could...even the three rounds of the I Can Bike program. He has taught him to bake brownies, climb ladders, and count coins. They play games together and the older one tolerates the younger's propensity to insist he play doctor, referee, or garbage man with him. They stick up for each other with Mom and Dad. It is amazing the way they are allies and advocate for one another.
Thick as Thieves
One thing about two close neurodiverse friends is that they can come up with some, not-so-appropriate ideas sometimes. This can mean trouble. There was this one time, for example, my youngest was excited about putting the garbage out. We only have bulk pick-up once a month, so he wanted to put out some "scrap". His brother told him to go down to the basement and take anything he wanted that wasn't a computer to put out on the curb. This is obviously not something we would want him to do. Luckily, I witnessed the interaction and put a stop to it. The thing I have to remember is that my son did not tell his brother to do that solely for the sake of causing trouble. We have been meaning to clean out our basement for some time, so to my son, it was a logical solution to two issues. There are a lot of these encounters in our home with the two of them.
Worth the Trouble
Sometimes when these situations arise, I may find myself aggravated and even a little angry. I can feel like my oldest son is simply provoking me and egging on his little brother. Because he is very intelligent, I think he should know better. I don't want him to teach his little brother things that aren't appropriate. While sometimes he is indeed just trying to get a rise out of me, for the most part, he is trying to have fun and even solve problems. To him, these solutions are completely logical and although he realizes that they likely aren't socially acceptable, he thinks they should be. So he encourages the behavior. So, most times I need to try really hard to see things from his point of view. I need to sit with it for a minute and ponder things. I need to let him know that his ideas are valid and I can see how sometimes the social norms don't make sense to him. Gosh, sometimes they don't make much sense to me either. But in any case, they are still important in one way or another. So, I guess my takeaway from all of the "trouble" my boys can get into is that it is worth the trouble. It is worth figuring things out together. It is worth taking the time to explain things. It is worth learning about social skills together. The "trouble" is not worth getting upset over. I hope you'll take the time to think about how you can make the "trouble" in your life feel worth it. I love these guys and all their ideas. I wouldn't trade them for the world. In the end, they teach me far more than I could ever teach them.