Why does my brother have to ruin everything?

The nativity was done, the presents bought and the food all ready. When your twins are six they ought to be excited about Christmas Day. One of mine was. The other was totally oblivious to it all.

But we bought him gifts regardless.

The day started badly. Pretty badly to be honest. Isaac refused to come downstairs even though we had changed and dressed him (in his school t-shirt and jumper as he still refuses to wear anything else). So while Naomi was embracing the magic of it all and loving the fact she had received the very toy she wanted, there was a noticeable absence in the room. I should have suspected something. But I didn’t want to miss that magic of seeing my daughters face when she opened her gifts. Plus she wanted me there.
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It was all too late. Isaac was busy upstairs, in my bed by now, having a party of his own. His ‘gift’ was of his own making and the smell was overpowering. The bedding, his clothes, his body from head to toe, and anything else nearby needed urgent attention. So while I attended to a screaming, fighting child, a filthy room, and smelly clothes, I was missing out on my daughter’s special moments. Moments I will never get back. And her happiness at getting presents was tarred by the fact her mum was not in the room to share it with her.

‘Mummy, why does he do that?’

Stress, lack of attention, sensory seeking? Who knows really. He can’t say and I can’t mind read. It wasn’t a good start though.

He came down and saw her new toys and tried to attack her. Despite him having plenty of his own he showed no interest in any of it and started screaming again. Naomi wanted to defend her toys but having sustained quite an injury from her twin less than a fortnight ago (which still has yet to fully heal) she was scared. So she started crying.

‘Mummy, why won’t he leave my things alone?’

Jealously, lack of understanding, curiosity? Who knows. He can’t say and I can’t mind read. How do you support siblings when a child can be so unpredictable and violent?

Later on we went out to grans for dinner. He ate a bit then climbed on a bed in a room, as he always does. He was extreme sensory seeking (use your imagination here) and was not going to be stopped for anything. Finally he returned to us covered in sweat and pulled me to the kitchen. By process of illumination we found he wanted a pineapple. As he pulled the leaves off and played with them, despite having lovely new toys there to play with, his twin sister once again was curious.
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‘Mummy, why can’t he like toys like I do?’

Lack of imagination, developmental delay, sensory issues? Who knows. I can’t always answer as eloquently as I should.

We returned home and I prepared a light tea for everyone. Lots of snack foods and treats. But no meal is complete for Isaac without mashed potato and gravy. And I had not made any of that. And because it was laid out as a buffet his plate was sitting empty (so to him he wasn’t getting any. Why did I not think about that?). He went crazy! Cue screaming, crying, food flying, crockery smashing and a huge amount of stress. So maybe I should have made mash and gravy but he had already had it twice that day and it was all food he usually loves. Surely we can have one mealtime without mash and gravy? I was exhausted, angry, stressed and frustrated. I walked away.
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The son screamed and lashed out more. The daughter cried. The husband’s stress levels were at boiling point.

I returned to comfort my daughter. Through tears she snuffled,

‘Why does my brother have to ruin everything?’

I met that question with silence.

We tried. We failed. I’ve came to the conclusion tonight that Christmas may be best done in private with my daughter in her room. It isn’t fair on her, on us, or on her brother. I have 365 days to work out how to make it better for her.

It starts with the tree coming down tomorrow.

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10 thoughts on “Why does my brother have to ruin everything?

  1. I feel your pain – our Christmas wasn’t as difficult as that, but it was not as it would have been had we two neurotypical children. Stay strong, tomorrow is another day …

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  2. Twins are hard enough – never mind when one (or both) are on the spectrum. Some days (and it always seems like many) are so hard on all of you. But hang in there…it does get easier as they get older (mine are 12yrs now). Let the night’s sleep cleanse you of your horrid day & start again fresh tomorrow with hope. I wish I could say more to help, but know there are many of us out here. ❤

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  3. Sending you hugs and caring understanding. During our Christmas meal this evening, we had one in the lounge, stripping off her clothes, while the other focused on turkey at the table. Fast -forward an hour, one fully clothed and happy, the other frantic and crying loudly. As you say “He can’t say and I can’t mind read”. Such is life in my daughter’s home, and I continue to be proud of her patience and the amazing two sister-siblings of these two precious non-verbal kiddos – sisters who love and support their sibs with autism. Their lives are constantly disrupted but both are wonderful advocates for their brother and sister. We, as a family, are truly blessed.

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  4. When it goes well it’s hard work, very hard work, when it goes badly it’s hell on earth. We have three kids, 20, 15 and 13. The NT one is in the middle. Christmas day was calm, but that was a brief reprieve. I’ve been assaulted by my youngest several times these holidays, her stress levels are very high…

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  5. Sorry you had such an awful day, this year was good for us but we spent the last year working towards it in a way, I know how hard it is when you have other children and their needs to consider too,

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  6. You are not alone. I dont know if it is harder when it comes from a sibling, or when it comes from others. My nieces ask that same question about my 3 year old. They ask me, and they ask their mom. I have to admit it hurts my feelings and many times I cry behind closed doors. It is extremely hard. Hang in there… hoping it gets easier for you.

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  7. Sometimes as parents we demand that our kids behave the best way possible, but dealing with ADHD is not easy. Its a matter of understanding and you should try, together with your husband to deal with it. I suggest that you figure out to whom your lovely boy is closer and be the link to the outside world. Be calm and positive (even though you feel to scream and kick everything). And dont forget to involve the little girl, she needs to understand that its not her brother the problem but the Condition affecting him. All ADHD kids want is love and alot of patience. I raise a loving boy with severe ADHD and I can understand your sufferings. Be positive and strong

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  8. This is so hard. And i am so sorry you are dealing with this as a parent. Theres no easy advice when dealing with what you have been, only support and hugs and i am hoping that things may change for you and your son by next year. A year is a long time, and a lot can happen. Even if its small steps. Sending you all the hugs i can muster! And hugs to your family too xx

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