Tuesday, June 25, 2013
The Middle Kid
Rascal. My dear, sweet, middle child. I look at this picture of him, and I smile because I see him rolling his bag like he's ready to go take on the world all by himself. When I think about Rascal, I think about his independent spirit, his love of adventure and diving into life headfirst, and his easygoing nature.
Unfortunately, I took to much of that for granted. I assumed too much.
See, this summer, Rascal has been thrown off his game. At three and a half years old, he has spent about half of his life in a fairly routine schedule, first at a therapy center and then at school. But this summer he has no regular routine, he has no classes. We thought he would be okay, with that. Unfortunately, he is adrift.
This summer seems to have been a perfect storm to create trouble for my little guy. It hasn't just been the lack of school. There has been a lot going on with the other two kids. You know, the less "easygoing" ones. And between the diagnosis of Vlad and the behavior issues of Diva Girl and trying to just survive a few weeks without The Husband, we let a lot of things slide with Rascal. Without even realizing it, I was doing much less with him and expecting less from him. We stopped expecting him to speak his requests because the other two aren't, and we could anticipate his wants and needs for the most part. It was easier, less time consuming. It was also wrong.
And now? Well, we have a little boy who stopped eating anything from the fruits and veggie department. His overall food intake has probably dropped about 50%. You never know when he will melt down over a train track not connecting well, or the expectation that he say "hi" to someone, or the demand that he put something away. He's not as happy.
Oh, the guilt!
I'm trying very hard not to beat myself up over this. I know he will be okay. We calling in some great therapists and we are committing to following through with what we know he needs at home. We've learned from this summer, and we know we won't let it happen again. But it just breaks my heart to know that I failed him. And even worse- that I know it won't be the last time that we make a mistake like this. With three kids on the spectrum, it seems impossible to meet everyone's needs, all the time. They all need so much, and they are all so different. How will we manage to give them all the individual attention they need? Don't even get me started on the financial aspect of providing them with the therapies they each need to be their best...
Today is a fresh beginning. A new day with three little kids who are more than happy to teach me new lessons in life. Rascal, I will do my best to not let your middle child status and easygoing nature lull me into thinking that you somehow need less. Lesson learned, ok bud? Now...let's get to work.