Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fireworks and Matches

Sometimes having one child with special needs and one child without special needs really breaks my heart.  In spite of our best efforts at fairness, sometimes Safety Guy receives more attention than Princess Yakyak because of his Aspergers Syndrome.  He needs more close attention than PYY to learn and be successful with the things she picks up and does almost effortlessly.  We are careful to not compare them to each other - they are unique individuals, after all, and so different that the old "apples and oranges" saying doesn't begin to cover their distinctions.

Princess Yakyak has not had an easy time growing up in her big brother's tracks.  She's had to make more accommodations, grow up faster, and put up with more than a little girl should have to put up with.  Sometimes he's been a very good big brother, playing with her and helping her.  But far too many other times he's been unkind and demanding, losing his temper at her when she hasn't done things the way he expected, yelling at her when she was in his space when he didn't want company, misunderstanding her actions and motives.  Her very existence in "his" world has always been hard for him, because he likes order and predictability, and, well, we've joked that Princess Yakyak's real name should have been "Entropy."  She's not a shrinking violet; she doesn't have a "go along with whatever you say" personality.  She's not passive and easygoing - she's smart, willful, and fiery.

She and her brother often get along like a box of fireworks and a box of matches.

Last night Princess Yakyak and Safety Guy had yet another major blowup.  He was very rude to her when she came into the room while he had a friend visiting.  He yelled at her, and told her to "GO AWAY!"  I felt really badly for her, even though her own overreaction didn't help the situation at all.  She came upstairs to vent at her father and I, and that devolved into her having a rant about "You love him more the me!   You always do things his way!  He's such a whiner and a baby!  He shouldn't get away with stuff just because he has stupid Aspergers!"  She was so angry at him, and at us too.  It really broke my heart, even as I had to point out that she was doing some of the same things to him that he had done to her, and taking her frustration out on all of us and making a tough time even harder to deal with.

Eventually she lost her head of steam and we were able to talk more about the situation without additional drama.  Balance and sanity were restored, Princess Yakyak was giggling over silly things we talked about at bedtime, Safety Guy was reprimanded for his behavior toward PYY, and we finally all made it to bed.

Just half an hour ago, he did it again to her, accusing her of being a thief when she'd simply picked up something by mistake, then gave it back to him and apologized.  When he accused her, she lost her temper and clouted him on the arm and yelled at him, then ran out of the room, still yelling.  I don't think I'll win any "good parent" awards for what happened next, but I told him that what he'd done to her was cruel and uncalled for after she had nicely admitted her mistake and apologized and made it right.  He complained that she'd hit him, and I told him he had deserved it for being a jerk.  He eventually apologized to her, although I don't think it was sincere.  He apologized again later, and meant it.

When will this ever end?  Someday my husband and I will be gone, and they'll have to get along with each other without us as a buffer.  Will they ever get along mostly smoothly?  Will they ever really value each others' uniqueness?  Will they support each other and be there for each other when they're needed?  Some days I just want to cry when they hurt each other.

Some days, Aspergers sucks.