Monday, November 23, 2015

Help has arrived and his name is Max

Nobody ever sets out to raise a child who thinks the world revolves around them. But when you have a child with special needs, the world often does revolve around them. Our kids tend to need tremendous amounts of attention, and then some. They need people to do things for them that they can't yet handle on their own. They may not think about how they can help others because they're so accustomed to being the ones receiving help.

I never worried much about Max growing up to be self-centered because I was too busy worrying about his development, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, speech, seizures and yada yada. We've given him chores like putting laundry into the machine and tidying his room, which he cheerfully does. But he hardly ever spontaneously offered to lend a hand until these past few months. I don't think it's anything we've done, just maturity.

Max helps Dave take out the recycling to the curb every Sunday evening—and starts reminding him that he wants to do it early in the day. He helps me put the groceries away. He takes the broom out of my hand and sweeps himself. When Dave brings me a cup of water in the morning, Max walks in carefully carrying it with a big grin. I know he's really proud of himself for pitching in. I think I'll ask the occupational therapist to work with him on making pan-seared salmon with wild mushroom risotto and a nice apple crisp for dessert. Kid-ding! (Kinda sorta.)

The baby's brought out the helper instinct in Sabrina, who really enjoys bathing and dressing Ben. So far she has opted out of diapering, although I suspect if I scribbled Ralph Lauren on some diapers with a Sharpie she'd be into it.

Max and Sabrina especially like pushing Ben around in his stroller together, which makes me out-of-my-head happy. My three kids. Sometimes, just Dave and the boys will go out and I'll watch them walking past the house, Max wheeling Ben. For a kid who's needed so much help throughout his life, it's spectacular to see him taking care of his baby brother.


  1. I knew Ben would be the catalyst of something good.

  2. What a sweet story! I love reading about Max and Ben's close relationship, even this early on!

    Melissa | So About What I Said

  3. So awesome. It's so great when you can witness your kids rocking at life so much.

  4. Awww that just made my day!!

  5. Beautiful story! Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  6. People with special needs can be great helpers, just like anyone else. Still reeling from the church school teacher in the class I help with say " Pray for being able to play because there are kids without arms and legs, kids in wheelchairs, kids who can't walk, kids who can't talk, kind who can't see, kids who can't hear and kids who have problems with their brains. And they can't play." I didn't like that she said that they can't play, everyone can play in their own way and the whole message was to pity those kids. I actually got tears in my eyes, I was so upset. What kind of message was she spreading to a bunch of first graders?

    1. I was in a similar situation in my freshman year of high school when my faith teacher (I go to a Christian school.) read a poem called "God, Forgive Me When I Whine." I am sure the woman with a crutch, the blind man working at the store, and the deaf kid all had something to be grateful for. One of my classmates mentioned that it would be awkward if a blind student were in the class at the time of the reading. I abhor the misleading message about being unable to play on the sole basis of disability. Sure, some kids, disabled or not, are unable to access safe areas to play or are in some other unfair circumstance that prevents play, but kids of all abilities and disabilities are generally able to play. Anyway, I raised my hand and spoke up about how the three people mentioned had things to be grateful for, not just the presumably able-bodied and neurotypical persona. I'm sure the woman with one leg was grateful for something because she smiled, that the blind man was glad to have a job where he can interact with others and be nice to them, and that the deaf kid was grateful to watch his peers play if he wanted no part in their activities. I do not like misleading information, even if "good intentions" are behind it. I put good intentions in quotes because, if these people truly had good intentions, they would check their information and not perpetuate a harmful message.

    2. Exactly. I got the fact about being thankful and playing is something a bunch of 6 and 7 year old can relate to. It just could have been done more tastefully.

  7. Love, love, love this, Ellen! Pure joy!


Thanks for sharing!

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