Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kids with special needs and their (obnoxious) siblings

Sabrina is going through some sort of phase. The symptoms are:
• She only wants hard-boiled eggs for breakfast
• She's obsessed with iCarly
• She refuses to wear tights or socks
• She's been requesting "vegetable sandwiches" consisting of bread, lettuce and shredded carrots (yes, I realize this is a Good Thing)
• She has been particularly obnoxious to Max. Like, last night I was putting her and Max to sleep, and she begged for some cheese. I gave it to her, and made her eat it outside the bedroom (where Max was nodding off). Suddenly, she said, loudly, "Mmmmmm, Maaaa-aaaax, I'm eating chocolate ice-cream."

What's up with that torture?

The worst was over the weekend, when she started imitating the way Max talks. We were in the car, Max said "Noooooo" to something and Sabrina piped up with this pitch-perfect "Nooooooo." Then Max said "EEEASH OUSE!" (translation: "Beach house," that place he's obsessed with.) And Sabrina said, "EEEASH OUSE!"

Max started giggling. Dave and I were on the verge of laughing, but we stifled it. I mean, it wasn't funny. But it sort of was funny. I pulled myself together and told Sabrina she was being rude, and that even though Max doesn't talk the way she does, he is still talking. And that she wouldn't like it if someone did that to her.

Tomorrow, I am programming Max's speech device with three new words: "CUT IT OUT!"


  1. ouch that is a hard one. You always have the best topics on here...I'm interested to see what the responses are.

  2. I am soooo glad to know it isn't just my child. He bugs the CRAP out of his brother constantly, I don't even know where to begin... but you are, most certainly, not alone!!!

  3. Well, phew! I will line up behind CRAZY FAMILY....my youngest will sometimes TORTURE my oldest when he doesn't "get" something...and my oldest will sometimes beat up my youngest (not badly, but still...) when his feelings get hurt.

    Then, at other times, they're the best of friends, and will enthusiastically share their sometimes very odd play interests (their latest obsession--my childhood doll house that my mother had stashed in her attic for over three decades...go figure!).

    Kids will fight, and siblings will sometimes get down and dirty. It happens. All you can do is referee, distract, give them "equal time" to the extent possible, and try to teach them better coping skills.

    Sabrina's a little jealous--not OF Max, but of the ATTENTION he gets, I think. She knows, intellectually, that he needs a little more attention, but she wants that attention, too, and to get it she acts out and tortures her little brother (hey, ANY attention--even negative--beats none at all).

    It's human nature.

  4. Yeah, we get this too. I agree that it's about the attention, and maybe (at least in my family) about his getting away with things she can't- the difference is obvious to you , but no to young kids. But often, I find it's just a sibling thing.

  5. I am sorry, but I am laughing...reminds me so much of our house. Jacob is 4, but quite small. About the size of a 2 1/2 year old. Jonathan is twice the size of him, and physically picks on him constantly. But Jacob is excellent at the head games, much like Sabrina is doing. And I laugh. Every. Single. Time. Maybe I am a bad parent, I don't know, most of the time I don't laugh so the kids can hear me, but a little intimidation isn't so terrible.
    To me it sounds like Sabrina is just experiencing a little sibling rivalry. She knows Max is different, but she is probably now realizing just how different. AND it is a HUGE deal for Max to talk. Not so much for her. Negative attention is after all attention!

    Just wanted to let you know also that Jonathan thinks I am writing on Lauri Berkners blog! He knows all about Max and thinks he is pretty cool...Sabrina is Molly from his class, and you, your Laurie Berkner.

  6. When you catch her doing something NICE reward the heck out of her!

  7. Right now Graham is the more obnoxious one. I'm looking forward to the day that Dottie can pay him back, by I don't know, hiding his hearing aids, sneaking up on him fun stuff like that.

    She already sort of talks like him... which I find interesting..the Hearing kid learning to talk from the Deaf kid...life cracks me up.

  8. Yeah we have that too.
    Drives me insane.
    Sounds like Sabrina might be jealous of Max's attention. Around here that is always the case. But it doesn't make it any easier at the time.

  9. What a stinker, Ellen! I can't relate to this one, but I can sure imagine that is difficult.

  10. I have three boys, the youngest, Brayden, is the one with special needs.
    The oldest is great with him, compassionate and always looking out for him.
    The middle one...well, we think if Brayden were to ever speak a sentence it would be to tell him to shut up!

  11. Kasia's an only child but I do have an obnoxious husband to speak of. He won't eat a single vegetable unless it's a tomato, always wears two pairs of socks at a time, and last night I caught him terrorizing Kasia with the halloween jack-o-lantern. Sheesh....what would I do with MORE kids??

  12. I totally agree, Sabrina wants attention. And Anonymous (what a great name!), you are right, I need to praise her when I catch her doing something nice, which I try to do. Kara, you made me laugh! My husband's a sweet guy, Sabrina right now is the most obnoxious one in our family. :) Oh, and Carrie? I DOUBLE-ugh you on the iCarly thing. Although I must admit, she sure beats the Teletubbies phase.

  13. LOL, this so happens around our house.

  14. I know it's hard, but it's very normal and good and open. My youngest son once imitated a seizure at the breakfast table. It was both horrifying and absurd and I remember stumbling over my words as I admonished him to "never do that," etc. There have been many occasion when my daughter's two little brothers are "not so nice" and it gives me relief that they are truly typical in good ways. In others, they have learned to be extraordinary -- as I'm sure Sabrina will as well!


Thanks for sharing!

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