Not About Nathan

Something that is really hard to keep at the front-of-mind with special needs kids is their “regular needs” siblings.

We spend a lot of time focused on Nathan. His school. His speech. His clothes (or lack of). His sensory needs. His diet. His refusal or acceptance of supplements. In short, my world revolves around him.

I try, very hard, to keep Eric from feeling left out or neglected. When we read books with Nathan, we let Eric have a turn to read too. I do the same bedtime routine for them both. But, if Eric refuses to come in for the story, I don’t repeat that part. (And he’s been doing that a lot lately)

But, there is no doubt, I am not always (often?) successful. Nathan’s needs are not overwhelming but they do take up more time that I could be spending one-to-one with Eric. And, eventually, he’s had enough & gets angry.

When Eric gets angry, we’re talking all out screaming, fit throwing, lasts for well over an hour temper tantrum. He generally only does it when he’s overtired too, so you simply have to wait it out. I usually sit with him for some of it, giving him the attention he’s craving (becuase that’s half the problem!) and some in another room, so I don’t strangle him.

Last night he went on for about 75 full minutes. He started yelling – Mommy, you have 3 choices – You’re stupid or I’m taking your purse away.

Apparently, taking my purse away counts as either 2 of the 3 choices, or it is such an awful thing that he can’t think of a 3rd thing. He probably screamed that 40 or 60 times. Seriously.

But, eventually, he calmed himself down, had his bedtime & got up bright & cheery this morning. Turns out, he remembers being mad (sometimes he doesn’t) and promised to try his lines & printing his name today. Which, is where the fight started last night. I wanted to help him learn to print, he started screaming.

Hmmm. It’s not always about Nathan.

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5 thoughts on “Not About Nathan

  1. At least Eric can voice it. Some kids internalize it and move on. It’s good that he can voice that he needs attention. The next step is just teaching him how to positively voice he needs attention. Rachel is 9 and we are still working on that one…lol.

    Great that totally makes me feel better. Tell you what, if I come up with a strategy that actually works, I’ll let you in on the secret, kay?

  2. oh how familiar that sounds — to be screamed at by articulate (yet confusing) children! I truly believe this is the price we pay for being parents who try to emphasize “talking it out” rather than spanking — we get mouthy kids who can hurt our feelings. But I think it’s a price worth paying, as they evolve into people who speak up for themselves, and for others. AH, if I had a quarter for everytime Vivian has yelled “Well, too bad for you!” at me lately. lol.

    But I think you raise an excellent point of the struggle to balance the attention we give our kids. It can’t always be “the same,” as we have to figure out their needs and our resources and respond accordingly. But we can give some time to each, and ensure that solid message gets to them about how much they are loved. And I KNOW your kiddos know that — you’re a great mom! Hang in there!

  3. It is hard, isn’t it? I sometimes worry that I neglect my daughter a bit because of having to do therapy, etc with my son. We try to involve her as much as possible, but I just don’t know if it is enough.

  4. It’s hard enough with having kids where one doesn’t have special needs, I can’t imagine what it’s like when they do and how torn you must feel. You’re doing the best you can and I agree, at least he was to verbalize his feelings.

  5. As a teacher, I see good parenting in Eric’s Offer: “Mommy, you have 3 choices – You’re stupid or I’m taking your purse away.” It’s clear that you have taught him that there are choices in life and that he needs to learn to make wise ones. He’s not at the wisdom stage yet, but he’s applying what he understands now.

    His continued breathing is also a testament to your patience and understanding. Bravo, Mom!

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