Thursday, March 5, 2015

How my oldest tries to understand her sister's autism



“Mommy, I have asthma,” my 3-year-old said to me.
I answered, “Yes, you do,”
“Mommy I have eczema.”
Again I said, “Yes, you do.”
Then my 3-year-old looked at me and said…
“Zoey has autism.”
I looked at her and said, “Yes, baby, she does!”
My 3-year-old is having a hard time adjusting to all of this — as we all are — but she doesn’t understand. After all, how do you explain all of this to a 3-year-old? I tell her we’re trying to help Zoey learn and talk, just like she does.
My 3-year-old wonders why her sister screams, throws herself, throws things across the room, bites, spins, hits, and why her sister doesn’t talk to her?
She wonders why we have people (therapists) in our house every single day, and she gets jealous that Zoey gets all this special attention and all these different toys to play with, even though all of the therapists include her in the activities and play.
“What about me?”
That’s what I hear come out of my 3-year-old’s mouth multiple times a day. “What about me?”
It’s hard being a mom — tougher when you have a 3 and a 2-year-old. Yup, 16 months apart! And it’s even harder being a mom when you have a 3-year-old who has anxiety, debilitating eczema, and asthma, and is feeling left out… and a 2-year-old who is nonverbal (starting to say a few words… yay!) has autism spectrum disorder, global developmental delay, sensory processing disorder and possible obsessive-compulsive disorder.
That’s not just hard; it’s heartbreaking.
But, you know what’s not hard? Loving them. I love them with everything in my being; I would do anything for these two girls, and I make it my mission to let them know every day that I love them both.
So when my 3-year-old asks, “What about me?” I pick her up and I snuggle her and I hold her tight and I say, “You never have to worry; I would never forget you. I will never leave you out, and I love you forever my big girl!”

© 2015 Melissa Cote

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