Friday, July 31, 2009

Siblings' interactions

I have started about 4 posts in the last few days. None of them have been posted. I get thinking on something then... either I get 1/2 way through it and life happens, or I decide I don't really feel like posting that anymore! LOL

But here's one that I wanted to share :)

When we said we wanted to adopt another child with Down syndrome (yes, at that time it was intended to be A child... singular), we heard a LOT of comments. A few were "of course" and "I've always pictured something like that for you" but most of them were more along the lines of "this is going to take so much away from your other two kids" and "Brianna's still little, you don't know what you're getting in to when the kids get older" and the kicker... "what are you doing to Kristopher to give him 2 disabled siblings?"

Well, let me share a few little stories :)

Brianna says one word about 500,000 times every day (yes, she does say other words tho!)... It's the first out of her mouth in the morning, it's her concern all day long, her joy, her sadness, and her frustration :) It's the last word she says as she goes to bed at night and if she wakes up in the night it's often the word she asks for.


Emma is her best friend, the person she steals toys from and who steals them back, the one who will let her rub her hair and snuggle, and the one that kicks at her when she's not looking. Emma might not appreciate Brianna QUITE as much, but she also doesn't show nearly as much preference for anyone as the other 3 kids do right now.

In addition to now having a best buddy, Brianna is still learning and growing and loving her mom and dad and brothers and sister. Her second favorite word, said in a whining tone as she follows on the heels of the suject of her attention... This one word that means she can be translated and understood...


And I always seem to be there. She's my momma's girl, loves to be held, to snuggle on the couch, to be by my side when I'm cooking or putting away laundry... Yes, she's a momma's girl.

Even just now, Brianna, Kristopher, and Micah are playing with these big magnetic balls and sticks (Magnetix for preschoolers) and she's calling out MOMMY as she hollers at Micah for taking her ball :) Those two are very close too! Yes, he takes her stuff, and lately he's done that a LOT... but she still shares with him and claps for him and cheers for him and praises every good thing he does. Then she yells at him for taking her stuff. And by the way, after being told once to turn the magnetic stick around so it would stick to the next one... and being shown how to do it, she has figured out how to match the poles so that they will all stick to one another. Smart little cookie.

Micah... yep, he's trouble! He is proving he's almost 3! I always thought 3 was harder than 2. And it's proven true with my kiddo w/ Ds just as much as my 'typical' son! And no doubt Micah's experience as a 3 yr old will be trying as well :) He wants to be praised, but trouble is so alluring! He loves to climb, he loves to play, to hang, slide, swing... he's a HAPPY kid. ALWAYS smiling! He just wants everything that anyone else has :) Oh, and... he licks. Everything.

At Sea World on Saturday we put all the kids on the floor of an aquarium area where the floor is glass and the fish swim beneath you. You got it... he wanted to crawl around on his belly and lick the floor. And I thought it grossed me out pretty good at the HOUSE... try a theme park...

Regardless, he's a sweet boy with a smile and a hug and some kisses for everyone! And a daredevil spirit too!

And Kristopher, the big boy of the house... He's his own share of trouble, that's for sure. Part of it is that he's older and he's trying to figure out his own independence and what he can do and not do. Part of it is he likes to test boundaries and is very good at it! But even this morning when we got out of the van after going to Target, Kristopher took my keys and unlocked the house for us. Then he brought the bag I'd asked him to take inside in... and he came back out. He asked if he could help take something else for me. I had Emma on my hip, two Target bags and a Frapp from Starbucks in my hand, and was holding Micah's hand with my other hand as I walked up to the house. He has a sweet spirit and a bold desire to please.

He also has a general idea that right now since he's a lot bigger than the other kids... he must also be able to 'parent' them. Which isn't ok! Just 2 minutes after he helped me get everything in the house, I asked where he'd put my drink down. When he went to retrieve it he came back through the kitchen and decided Micah was doing something he didn't want him to do. So rather than finish bringing the drink that next 10 feet to me, he bent over, pulled on Micah and told him to stop, and promptly spilled my Frapp all over the floor. He also had stopped and picked up his new kitty stuffed animal and the frapp was on that too.

I think the cat actually helped him learn a lesson. He knows he's not supposed to boss the other kids around and he can tell Dad or I about an issue- but WE will take care of it... but for some reason when he took things into his own hands and his beloved cat got a little strawberry and cream bath, he actually thought about what he was doing.

It's all a learning process- for ALL of us! Right now Kristopher is spinning around on the floor holding Micah's hands as they make themselves unbelievably dizzy (no sharp corners or really ANYTHING around, no worries!) and Brianna is spinning next to them as all 3 of them giggle away. This has been going on since the magnets were placed on the couch (away from Micah's prying hands) for safe keeping. I told them no more porch (playroom) time today and they're doing great playing together (Emma's still working on her drink from dinner). Three little laughing spinning bodies- Kristopher leading the bunch and enjoying being the 'big guy' that everyone wants to follow!

Emma- well I posted about her once today, but even as the others are laughing and spinning (something she can't participate in yet even if she wasn't finishing up dinner), she is at the table flailing her arms and smiling, happy with the laughter from the other kids and enjoying watching them.

Emma's such a different personality from the other 3 kids, but really each of them are so different- and EVERY child- that we don't usually pick her out as being all that different. No, she doesn't walk. Or talk. Or spin. Or follow directions most of the time. She doesn't play with other people in the way a person might expect. She doesn't smile and laugh and engage with everyone. BUT she is the first to attack Dad when he lays on the floor (and I gave up laying on the floor a few months ago ;) ). She climbs and laughs and climbs and laughs. He throws her around just like the other kids, and she loves every minute of it.

Emma is the quiet one when it's bed time, unless she's giggling to herself in the darkness! She's a quite one when she wakes up... unless Micah's laughing and giggling, then she'll respond to his sounds. Emma is the one that will go play by herself with a musical toy for HOURS if you let her and would be just as entertained with a frisbee or a round play kitchen plate as she is with an expensive toy. Emma will come and STAND by me at the couch then snuggle in against my protruding belly with her ear against my chest and just listen to my heart beat and be still for the longest time. She'll hold on tight with her arms in a gentle hug when you hold her and will scoot up to almost everyone to say 'hi, hold me now' with her arms extended.

So, you see... each of our kids is so different from another. Some have more challenges to overcome in their own lives, and some bring more challenges to ours :) But each of them we are blessed to call son or daughter, and having their siblings brings JOY to each of them every day.

Our adopted children... our kids with disabilities... the little ones that God has placed in our family... have all been placed here for a purpose. And none of them- not a single one- could step out of our family unit without being deeply and sorely missed by ALL of the family. None of our kids are worse off for their siblings. None of them are lacking for attention, or love, or care, or anything else. They are each perfectly formed to fit together into the unit that God calls FAMILY. He put us together. And it's in His plan and purpose that these specific children are in our home for us to play a role in their lives.


  1. I have 2 that want to parent. Judson AND Ansley. I constantly remind them "You are NOT in charge". "You are NOT the Mommy/Daddy". It's a challenge, for sure.

    You have a sweet family.


  2. I love this post! It is all so very true! The first word out of Caleb's mouth EVERY morning is Elijah.:)

  3. Wow, really nice post!!! Well said!

    (If Reese or Nikolai say the other ones' names in the morning, it is said grumbling and with disdain!! LOL)

  4. Well said. We feel the same way about our family.

  5. Meredith, you have such sweet children! Thanks for this insight into your precious family!

  6. you left out the comment about "are you crazy?" I get that all the time.if being crazy brings those two kids home to a family and a future and out of an orphanage heading for death then really, truly, how can it be wrong? now if only the rest of the paperwork would show up so I could feel a little closer to getting them home. I think people with children WITHOUT differences do not always understand what its like to have a child WITH differences/delays/difficulties. much like parents of one or two have no idea what its like to parent 4 or 6. so if its out of their experience, then, you must be crazy. if only we could all be so crazy.

  7. This is a great post, Meredith. You receive with the same measure you use to give.