There was a time I feared the day that Noah found his feet and mastered walking. I wondered how Eliza would tolerate the fact that a chunky uncoordinated toddler would then be able to touch her stuff. Sharing can be difficult for her, she has little concept of time and waiting but school have been amazing at helping her with that and ensuring lots of turn taking happened for all kids her age which in turn aided her social skills in general. From the day we came home with Noah I admit I pretty much forced him in to her life. In a previous blog I mentioned about how hard we prepared her for the arrival of him by role playing with a doll, letting her choose his name and making sure she was as involved as possible. I insisted on contact, sat him on her with one of us next to them (after years of witnessing how far she can throw toys when bored!). I also made sure she had quality mummy time so she did not feel left out or replaced.
Over the first few months she didn’t do much with him as he was so small but I would often catch her looking at him, stroking his head or just sitting by his Moses basket watching TV. Once he was a bit bigger and sitting in bouncy chairs she would often go sit by him, rock his chair a bit and even retrieve his dummy when he dropped it. If he cried she would yell “baby crying mummy” and tell me what she thought he wanted “he needs a drink” or her favourite “he needs an iPad” in the hope that she would score extra iPad time as he was clearly to small to hold one! When crawling started she thought this was great as he followed her like a little puppy everywhere she went. We were often ready to save him if she kicked off as he licked her books, chewed her dolls shoe or (God help him) touched the iPad yet she didn’t. There was the odd moment of “NO NOAH!!!!” then a smile or a giggle and it passed. That boy gets away with so much more than we do as parents. Her tolerance and patience towards him is wonderful. She entertains him in so many ways all we hear once she is home from school is him giggling uncontrollably at something she is doing. She actually WANTS to spend time with him, to interact and share, to be the big sister.
He walks now, bless him and his uncoordinated drunk looking style of movement. He is a big lad with crappy tiny feet, so top heavy. Secretly I think she is excited he can walk as she has started playing ‘chase’ but her own version (she shuffles off around the lounge and pauses enough for him to catch up but not enough for him to grab her before she is off again). She insists on pushing him on the swing in the garden or helping him bounce on the trampoline. She shares food with him (Eliza shares food with NOBODY!!! Food is her passion so this is huge). The bond they have is beautiful and I am so proud of both of them but I am extra proud of her. Autism makes her life so difficult sometimes, she can struggle with things that her 18 month brother finds easy already. She has changed so much over the last two years and I am overwhelmed by how she has taken to Noah and taken on her big sister role. Together they work, together they are a team. They love each other. I love them both.