Monday, 19 August 2013

What Jack Is Missing

While much of this post is quite funny, it makes me a bit sad to write it.  I’ll explain why at the end.

On Saturday, Jack and I went to babysit for a friend.  Her husband is in the military and being deployed soon, and with no family locally, they have been kind of stuck when it comes to spending a day together.  They were able to go to Six Flags for the day, just the grownups, and I was more than happy to help them.  They have 3 kiddos, a 4yo daughter, a 3yo son, who was in Nate’s ABA class with him last year and a 15 month old.  Hey, I was a nanny for years, I even lived in for a while, I can take ‘em!

I learned several things on Saturday.  First of all, I’m not nearly as nice as I used to be.  I approach caring for children in a much more “parental” way than when I was a nanny, and I guess that makes sense, because, well, I am a parent now.  The day was actually kind of tough for me, the kids were great, but I’m not used to staying in one place for long, the kids and I are always on the go on the weekends and so I went a bit stir crazy in this situation. 

I also learned quite a bit by watching Jack and their daughter Sophie interact.  It was very challenging for Jack to be there.  First of all, he had several of his new planes with him, and was told that he had to share, or the planes had to stay in the car.  He did a great job with this over all, but I could see on his face that he was struggling. 

The biggest thing I noticed is that Sophie really challenges Jack.  I would have to say that they have similar personality types.  They are both intense and opinionated- you can tell that they are the oldest children in their respective families.  Jack watched a princess movie, Jack played with dolls.  Jack was being told what to do by another child, one who is younger than him, and he listened.  He was totally dominated during parts of the day.  I almost fell over laughing several times when I heard Sophie commanding Jack to dance, because she wanted to put on a talent show.  Or she wanted him to have his chair positioned in a certain way at mealtimes, and she wanted him to sit very close to her when they watched a movie.  Their back and forth was really something to see, Sophie is very rule oriented, and Jack likes to contradict everything that comes out of a person’s mouth.  Jack actually lost most battles throughout the day- I could tell that when she told him what to do, he didn’t know quite what to do with himself.  Don’t get me wrong, they got along, and they had fun, but they interacted in more of a sibling, bickering and playing way, which is different than how I have seen him interact with other buddies.  Of course, this “play date” lasted about 9 hours, so that’s a bit different too.

I can’t quite remember how it came up, but yesterday Jack was watching something on T.V. where the character was asking for a baby brother or sister to play with.  He turned to me and said he wanted a baby brother to play with.  I told him that he has one- Nathan.  He looked at Nate, and then at me and John and said, “but Nathan doesn’t let me play with him.”  Total devastation.  When I looked at John I could tell he was feeling the exact same way.  We didn’t know what to say to him- he’s right, Nate would much rather be by himself.  And Jack does try- he is rebuffed 9 times out of 10.  He may have a little brother, but he is really missing out on the sibling experience.  Realizing that just about broke my heart.  I am really glad he had this experience on Saturday, but at the same time I think it made all of us more aware of what he is missing with Nathan in his current condition.   

1 comment:

  1. It is very hard, I know. Its a bit different with me because we do have 4 kids, but I often feel more like its 3 siblings PLUS Sophie. Like she's not integrated with them but more on the side. So they are doing something together be it meals or playtime or outside time and you see they are interacting, a group. She is always off to the side, doing her own thing, apart. It breaks my heart often too. Or her sister saying "I wish Sophie would play with me". It is very hard.