Thursday, March 21, 2013

Carry Over

Jackson is like any little brother.  He looks up to and wants to be like Clayton.  I love this about him.  He sees no disability, he just sees an older brother that he wants to emulate.  Most of the time, these things aren't an issue.  For example, at a birthday party with horses, he had to ride the horse that Clayton usually rides during lessons and had to ride with Clayton's teachers, even though he is plenty capable of riding alone.  I wish he would have done it by himself, but letting him ride like Clayton wasn't a big deal, so why not let him do like his big brother?  

But issues are developing from this little pattern.

Eating.  If we are all eating together, Jackson usually balks at eating.  I used to chalk it up to his three year old hard head, and maybe that's half of it.  The other half is "Clayton's not eating."  He has given me this excuse on more than one occasion, and I've also noticed that if we are eating without Clayton, he eats much better.  He is a smart kid, so I've explained multiple times why Clayton isn't eating and that someday he will. Not long after one of these conversations, Jackson got busy trying to hook Clayton's feeding tube up to his own belly button.  :/  

Walking.  If we are out and about, Jackson can rarely walk because his "legs hurt."  I've always attributed this up to a whiney three year old.  And most of it probably is.  But now he has decided he can't get out of the car on his own anymore.  He sees Brian and me carry Clayton in and out of the house each time, and now he has decided he can't get out without one of us carrying him.  Of course, we do our best not to encourage it and many times I've just walked in the house and left him in the van to show him I'm not going to carry him everywhere, but I can see that he wants that little bit of extra attention Clayton is getting--again, I've explained to him that Clayton would walk in a heartbeat if he could . . . it works in the moment and gets him out of the van, but the next time out, we have to go through the whole thing again. 

The "momma-waits-on-me-hand-and-foot" attitude.  I mentioned a while back that when Clayton calls, we come running.  This has come from years of him being immobile and the fact that he simply can't come to us, so we always come to him.  And we almost always bring what he requests.  This is changing to some extent with Clayton using the power chair, but he isn't the best driver in the world and sometimes it's just best for us to cover the ground instead of him.  :)  I guess Jackson has watched this for three and a half years and decided that this is the way the world works.  He will sit in one spot and call, call, and then yell for me to come running, instead of just walking through the house to find me.  "MOMMAAAAA!!!!"  His need is usually very minor and/or he just wanted to tell/ask me something.  I do my best to keep from reinforcing it, but every time I help Clayton, I do it again.  I don't want him to feel like I do more for Clayton than I do for him, but to a three year old, it probably looks like it.

I don't think there is a real answer except to keep explaining the differences to him, but in the meantime, I'm pretty much tired of him expecting the royal treatment as we all do his bidding!


Amy said...

Wow. I guess that is a dilemma. On one hand, Clayton needs the help so you can just stop that. On the other hand, I guess in way it does reinforce Jackson. I cannot imagine what this is like. I only have Emma, so that is all I know. She is pretty bossy. Like Clayton, she would come if she could. She is also not a great driver yet. She just got her power chair back around Christmas, and our house is way too small for me to just let her go. She needs more open space.

Obviously, Jackson is a very intelligent boy. I expect that he will outgrow this stage in a year or two, as you probably already know. So, I am no real help here. The good thing though is that you can rest assured it is likely temporary.

I have to agree with you though. Have two little bosses would be rough! Jackson is so cute. All I can say is God bless you.

Brielle and Me: Our Journey said...

We all learn from example. But, how precious is it that one brother wants to be like another?! I recently interviewed my 19-year-old non-disabled child about what it's like to have a little sister with CP (for a chapter in the book I'm writing). When I asked about when she remembers realizing Brielle was disabled, she told me that Brielle has always just been Brielle. She doesn't see the disability. Sounds like your boys are very similar. What a blessing! And we can only hope others might see our "different" children just as they are!

Angela Kay said...

When my kids were small, the younger ones looked up to my oldest (who has autism). It was so sweet and precious! Your post brought back a lot of memories. Things have changed for my family and likely will for yours too, but it's all ultimately good.