Today's SNSS guest needs no introduction (but of course I'm going to give her one anyway). It is the lovely Shell of the blog Things I Can't Say. Yes, she of the wonderful "Pour Your Heart Out" link-up and the weekly "Blog Friend Feature." A community building blogger, if ever there was one.
Did you realize she was a special needs parent? No? Well, she doesn't talk about it all the time, it's not the main focus of her blog, but neither does she hide it. It's there; sometimes explicit, sometimes implicit (especially if you have SN-kid-dar like I do).
Shell has three boys, and her middle child has learning, behavioral and attention disabilities due to severe lead poisoning. If this strikes fear into your heart, it should. This is a terrifying thing for her family to deal with.
Shell is a fierce momma bear, a protector and advocate for all her children. She is also a special, special person, creating community and good will throughout the bloggosphere.
But the main thing of importance here? Shell is a wonderful writer, telling it straight from the heart, as you will see:
It’s Just Not Fair - by Shell
All siblings fight, right? It’s normal that my boys sometimes call each other names or get physical with each other.
But sometimes I think it’s made worse by my 5 year-old, my kindergartener A’s difficulties from lead poisoning.
And other times, I think it’s made worse by me.
If A bites his 3 year-old brother, it’s often a result of M having provoked him numerous times. Because A doesn’t really start things with other kids. He is in his own little world.
We call it “1-2-3 Explode” since he tends to shrug off the first two things that someone does to him in a short period of time. But, if they keep bugging him, he’s going to explode. And it’s almost always in a worse way than what another child was doing to him.
In his mind, his brother was doing something to him so he was going to fight back. He doesn’t have that concept of “worse” actions. Like how we view a brother biting as being worse than hitting. To him, it’s all bad.
And while I cannot give him a free pass on the biting, I tend to get frustrated at M, for starting it in the first place. He knows better. Yes, even at 3, he knows better.
Or maybe A and his 6 year-old brother J will be having an argument. Names are flying. “Poopy brother” and “Butthead” are common. I remind them that we don’t talk potty talk unless we are in the bathroom. But, then J will get really frustrated and call A “Stupid” or “Dumb.”
And I get so angry. A is NOT stupid.
But, then again, J is not a butthead either. And yet, I didn’t get that mad at A.
Sometimes it’s the little things. It’s snack time and I let A choose his snack first because small things, like not having the snack he had his mind set on, can make him meltdown.
At dinnertime, if J or M don’t like what we are having, that’s just too bad. But if A is about to shut down because he’s hungry and he is focused on having a peanut butter and jelly, I’ll give in.
When it’s time to clean up and A sometimes squats down on the floor with his hands over his ears, I ignore him while encouraging the other two to continue to pick up their toys.
These incidents don’t happen all the time, but they are a regular part of our life. Because of the way that A can shut down, I have to decide what is worth the battle.
Sometimes I look at what’s going on, sigh and think that’s not a hill I want to die on today.
But, I don’t give his brothers a free pass like that. Because they don’t need it.
I wonder how much they resent their brother for it. I wonder how much they resent me for it.
Because it’s really not fair at all.
But, it’s not fair that their brother has lead poisoning, either.
It’s not fair that M can join in with A’s soccer practice better than A can. It’s not fair that J can waltz off to his classroom without needing any help and A needs help in staying focused on where he’s supposed to go.
So, yes, they are treated differently. Because they are different.
I just hope as they grow up, they can learn to love each other for those differences.
This post is sad and moving and way too true. It is a struggle so many of us share. I know this is a painful topic for Shell, and I want to thank her for opening up her heart to "pour it out" here with us.
I can't even begin to tell you how many times Ethan wails "it's not fair" when I make him do stuff Jacob gets a total free pass on.
I have occasionally snapped "Okay, do you want to trade? Do you want to be the one with autism?" at him when I just can't stand it any more. I'm not proud of it, but it actually shuts that down pretty fast. So, yes, Shell, I can totally relate.
OK, so now that you have read Shell here, you are going to want to follow her home. So go read her at her blog Things I Can't Say.
You may want to start with this incredibly heart rending post, where Shell talks about her son's lead poisoning, or this one about how being fair does not mean everyone always gets the same. Or, in a lighter vein, try this one about a mom-fail involving TWO self-imposed haircuts in one week.
Finally, you should follow Shell on Twitter, and go "like" her on her Facebook page, because if there is a blogger with a bigger heart than Shell? I haven't met her.
And once again, Shell, thank you from the bottom of MY heart. You have truly touched me with your post this week.
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