So we’ve been housebound most of this week as poor Teddy has had hand foot and mouth.
I noticed a few spots around his mouth on Saturday and he hadn’t been himself for a few days prior to this. By Tuesday his face was infected (due to lots of dribbling and scratching) and so he ended up on antibiotics. He’s just got a few marks left on his face now and we’re thankful that Toby hasn’t come out in it! That’s one good thing about having a child who isn’t a fan of other children – he’s doesn’t get many bugs. He hasn’t ever had chicken pox, or nits or anything really!
However Ted has struggled to adjust when Toby has come home from school. Obviously being poorly he’s had my undivided attention most of the day (we had a few days when he wouldn’t let me leave the room!) and so when Toby has come back, Ted has been pretty jealous of any attention that I have given Toby.
In a lot of areas Ted is overtaking Toby. This is bittersweet as its lovely to see Teddy developing his communication skills, interests, imagination and play however it is also making me see how behind Toby is. Teddy wants to do things such as drawing, baking, playing with playdough, reading stories, building Duplo houses and one of his favourites games this week has been playing with our nativity set – make sure you keep an eye out for more #teddysnativity snaps on Instagram as I’m sure there will be more to come!
We’ve also been collating evidence for a tribunal regarding Toby’s disability living allowance as we believe he meets the criteria for mobility due to having a severe mental impairment. Again this focuses on just how far behind his peers he is. Looking at his EYFS profile in some areas he is functioning at the level of a 16-26 month old. Toby is 52 months old and as Teddy is two (24 months) in a couple of weeks it’s no wonder that he is overtaking Toby developmentally.
This whole sibling rivalry/jealously thing is developmentally normal for Ted and in lots of ways, Teddy is becoming the older sibling as Toby is much more of a ‘baby’ than Ted is now.
One of the main things that needs to change (apart from Teddy becoming extremely jealous of any attention Toby gets!) is our expectations of Ted. Joel often talks about us having two only child’s! This is because Toby isn’t really aware of anyone else, follows his own interests and doesn’t engage with Ted (expect the take the iPad off him if Ted has it!) And although Ted does have an older brother, he isn’t the best role model, Toby doesn’t interact with him or model how to play with anything (other than the iPad) and as Ted is starting to over take Toby developmentally, they are sharing less things in common.
For Joel and I our experience of parenting has been shaped by Toby and his needs. We were in Sainsburys earlier today and we both commented on how strange it would be to have a ‘normal’ four year old who could safely walk from the car into the Supermarket. Toby doesn’t really walk in busy public places – he uses his special buggy or is carried as he becomes overwhelmed and just lays on the floor refusing to walk. He also has no awareness of danger and his behaviour is pretty unpredictable. And because of how our experience has been shaped by Toby, he usually just carry Ted and put him in a trolley.
It’s the same with activities at home. When we need to distract Toby or calm him down we let him have some iPad time. However this doesn’t work for Teddy. Ted becomes very frustrated when he can’t win at Thomas racing or fit the pieces in the jigsaw and he also gets annoyed that he can’t buy extra trains on the extension pack the app! So although it works for Toby it doesn’t for Ted. I know that no two children are the same but adding additional needs in to the mix makes things even more complicated! Ted loves activities such as baking, drawing and play dough. He thrives off the adult interaction and excitement of doing something new. However Toby will not engage with any of the above activities and trying to make him would stress him out even more. Again I’m learning to have different expectations of the boys and I’m trying to find age appropiate ways to stimulate and challenge Teddy which is what he’s craving.
We love both of them whatever age and stage they are at and we need God’s wisdom to parent them both in the best way we possibly can.