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.