Eight weeks ago we were blessed with our beautiful baby boy. He is healthy and gorgeous and I'm so in love.
Life always takes some adjusting to when a baby comes along, especially when there's a sassy two year old little girl and little man takes a spill and busts his leg.
That's right. Full leg cast through the summer. Poor guy.
He's coping surprisingly well though. I was very worried about what things were going to be like for him. Considering he has an electronic addiction (no seriously, Betty Ford here we come) which we try to moderate most of the time, it was really quite easy to keep him happy. I felt awful putting a limit on time with an iPod. I mean really, "ok no more iPod today, now sit there... For the next twelve hours"
Sometimes you just need to bend the rules, makes me feel like I'm still in touch with my rebellious side anyway. Now I imagine that iPod detox is gonna be a hoot after all this, but he'll survive.
Now as you can imagine, pain, immobility, a new brother, and the loss of his main way of stimming (running), things were rough at first. He was just starting to get used to the new baby when he wound up in a cast.
When parents of autistic children expand their family further they are extra worried and stressed for the future. You have a newborn and any parent knows how demanding and energy consuming that can be, and you have an autistic child who probably requires a substantial amount of hands on time. Also worrying about how brother or sister will cope with such an enormous change to home dynamic is at the forefront of your mind all the time. For little man, home is a sanctuary filled with familiar sounds, faces, energy. We have a chaotic home, but its chaos that he's used to. He is free to be himself without odd looks being thrown his way. He is happy here. So when you throw it all out of whack, it's bound to affect my rigid little angel.
The only piece of advice I can offer is don't put too much pressure on them. Autistic children need time to warm up to change, new people, new sounds, and a baby brings all those things. We talked while I was pregnant with him about how he was going to get a brother and used our "this is so awesome" voices to invoke excitement. By the time the baby arrived little man was flappy at the thought of meeting his new brother and all smiles.
When he came to the hospital however, he was completely thrown. He wasn't comfortable with any of it. We introduced him and he seemed uninterested (his typical attitude about something too big to deal with) and then we didn't mention it again. Once babe and I came home we did reintroductions several times a day, but were very nonchalant about it. Eventually he wanted to sit beside him. Then it turned into making silly faces at him. Finally he asked to hold him. He was so proud. He was ok with it because he reached that point on his own and was ready. He held him for about two minutes and then ignored him the rest of the day, but it was clear that he really liked his new brother and thought it was pretty cool. He still randomly asks to hold him and says "I have a brober" and just beams while he's with him.
We are very proud of how well he handled everything, and tomorrow the cast comes off. It's funny, you spend so much energy in worrying about how things are going to turn out. Energy that bought you nothing but anxiety filled nights and distracted days. It does seem to work out though. Baby Ronin is a happy, calm little slice of serenity, and Little man is a loving and caring older brother. Now all I have to worry about is the two little firecrackers in pretty pink dresses.