Tag Archives: sister

WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY!

2 Apr

autism awareness 2

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Show your support by wearing blue. This is Kekoa and Ginger showing support for Oli.

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What about me mom?

7 Feb

“A sister is God’s way of proving that He doesn’t want us to walk alone.” -Anonymous

Apparently I have seriously offended one little person in my house by not writing about her yet. When I picked Kekoa up from school yesterday I excitedly told him that I was able to tell a story about him on a website.

“What’s the story about mommy?”

“I just told people what an amazing person you are and how much you love your sister, Oli.”

At this point I hear a little voice pipe up from the back seat.

My 2 year old Ginger, is not about to be left out.

“Me too mom! You wrote a story about me too!”

She is far to grown up and sophisticated to use silly words like ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’. We are mom and dad and sometimes, we are Shannon and Seth.

“Not yet Ginger. I haven’t gotten to that part of the story yet.”

“Awwww….I want a story.”

So now I find myself needing to write about Ginger. Although it in no way follows the normal sequence of Oli’s story, I have to tell you about my little princess. She is not about to be left out, let alone not be the center of attention.

This is Ginger.

Ahhhhh….Ginger. Where do I even begin?

Ginger was born when Oli was 2 months away from being 3 years old. I thought that it would be easy to have another baby at this point because Oli was getting a little bit older.

I was wrong.

To describe Ginger as being a difficult baby really doesn’t accurately portray the first 5 months of her life. I had no idea what I was in for when she was born.

She was a terrible infant. She cried all the time. And I do mean ALL THE TIME. Literally. If she wasn’t eating (which she always did) and she wasn’t sleeping (which she never did) she was crying.

Oli had a really hard time when she was born. She is very sensitive to loud noises and Ginger screamed like she was in a special baby crying contest and was intent on winning first prize. I’m sure my neighbors were convinced that I was somehow torturing my newborn.

We found out when she was 1 year old and stopped nursing that she was allergic to milk. She would break out with a rash all over her face every time I gave it to her.(I’m sure she was sensitive to breast milk too.)

Yeah. . .that would have been good to know when she was a baby.

Oli really wanted nothing to do with her. Every time I would try to put Ginger in Oli’s lap or even next to her, she would push her away immediately. I couldn’t blame her. Sometimes even I couldn’t handle her screaming anymore. But by the time Ginger was 5 months old she was much better.

I couldn’t convince Oli to like her though. I’m sure she had no idea what this little loud thing was. She’d never been around a baby before. So, one minute it was just her and Kekoa and life made sense. She had routines and structure and plenty of mommy time. The next minute she had erratic routines, no structure and mommy time usually meant sitting with me while I had a wiggly little body attached to my boob. It took Oli about 18 months to let Ginger get near her and now she loves her. But that was only because of how Ginger approached and treated her.

The personality differences between my oldest and youngest children are striking. They are polar opposites.

Where Kekoa is quiet and sensitive, Ginger is loud and bossy. Kekoa wants to help other people and never strives to be the center of attention. Ginger just wants everyone to cater to her and will do whatever it takes to make sure that someone is watching her. She is constantly singing, dancing, and performing. And if what she is doing is not immediately grabbing your attention she will get in your face and absolutely demand it. And that is exactly how she approaches Oli.

She just grabs her by the hand and pulls.

“Oli! Come play with me!”

(Oli has a lot of trouble standing up by herself.)

“Ginger, you can’t just pull on Oli. You’re not strong enough to help her get up.”

She will not be detered.

“Yes I am mom. See. Look at my muscles!

Come on Oli! Stand up. Let’s go.”

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She has never ever treated Oli like she is any different from anybody else. I would like to explain this away by her age. She just doesn’t understand yet. (She will be 3 in March.) I don’t think that’s it though. Only because I have always watched how Kekoa interacts with Oli.

Kekoa is more reserved with her and always has been. He is concerned that things are done properly with Oli and he is always cognisant of her visual impairment and her mental age. He has been like that since she was born. He doesn’t ever treat her like she is less than, but he is aware that there are things that she just can’t do or needs help with. I frequently hear him tell Ginger,

“You have to put the toys in her hands Ginger. She can’t see them when you just throw them at her! Put them in her hands!”

Kekoa wants to teach Oli things and makes sure that she gets what she needs.

Ginger wants Oli to pay attention to her. Ginger just wants to make sure that they are friends.

I really love this about her. I don’t have a sister so I know nothing about the special bonds of sisterhood.

I see it in my girls though. Despite their differences I see that bond.

Oli is so lucky to have two people who will always stand by her side. One who will make sure that no harm ever comes to her and the other who will make sure that no one ever leaves her out, pity’s her, or treats her differently.

Growing up with Oli

4 Feb

IMG_1076“You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world.”
― Woodrow Wilson

I have often wondered what it is like to be a sibling of a child with a disability. I know it’s an adjustment for any child when a new baby is brought into the house. But, what about the child whose life is forever changed beyond just having another little person to live with. It is so much more than parents now being more preoccupied with feeding routines, frequent diaper changes and crying episodes. And it’s more than just knowing that you now have to share mommy and daddy’s attention with a new sister when, well lets face it, you probably weren’t all that thrilled about her joining you. Especially since you were an only child up until now.

Your life changes because now life is riding in the car for hours and then sitting in little rooms with crappy toys and being told to “be quiet” while you try to wait patiently. It’s waiting in these rooms several times a week when all you really want to do is go back home and play with your toys and watch the Cars movie…again. It’s sensing the atmosphere change in your house and feeling the weight of a sadness that you don’t understand but, seems to have followed your sister home from the hospital. The weight that seems to intensify after waiting in another one of those little rooms.

As you get older you start to notice that your sister, who you have waited to play with since she was born, never seems to get old enough to play like you. She doesn’t sit up very well when she does learn to sit up and then she can’t see when you try to show her your newest Lightening McQueen car or your new Hot Wheels race track. Mommy tells you to put your toys in her hands to show her things, but frankly this doesn’t make sense either because then she only puts your new toy in her mouth and ruins it with slobber. She never learns to move around the house which means mommy has to carry her every where. The words “Oli just needs more help” are lost on you when you just want to be picked up and carried around like before. You love your sister but, just don’t understand her. You ask questions and want to know why she is so different than you but, mommy’s explanations that God made her different don’t make sense. Why can’t the doctors just make her better. She is obviously sick and this is what doctors do. Why doesn’t she ever get any better? Why do they keep taking her to the doctor if they don’t fix her?

As you grow and change, learn your letters, learn to count and tie you shoes you try to show your sister so she can learn too. But, your attempts are to no avail and she doesn’t seem to get it. She won’t talk to you and now you are drifting farther and farther apart. She starts to do strange things like flap her arms, hum loudly and shake her head. You try to play like her to connect with her in some way but, what seems to amuse her is just boring to you.

You never give up though. You never give up trying to form that connection with her.

She is your sister despite your differences. Mommy and Daddy have always taught you to love her and help her and that is exactly what you do. Not so much out of a feeling of obligation but, because that is just who you are.

Kekoa you are such a special little boy. I love that you just love her and even though it’s been 5 years since everything in your life changed, it has never dampened your spirit or your love of your family and life. Please keep your kind heart and don’t pay any attention to people who may try to lead you down a different path.

You, my son, are going to change the world.

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