Saige came home from school one day this week and the following conversation ensued...
Saige: "Mom, I was telling my friend today that Wyatt gets speech therapy and she said that means he's dumb" Me: "Really? What did you say to her?" Saige: "I said that he's not dumb"
So then we had a talk about Wyatt's challenges, about not ever calling someone dumb or stupid or making fun of anyone that is different, about why kids sometimes make fun of other kids just to make themselves feel better, and of course we told her how proud we were of her for standing up for her brother.
The next day she came home and this is how our conversation went...
Saige: "Remember that girl that said that thing about Wyatt?" (gotta love the details an 8 year old gives you) Me: "Yes" Saige: "Well, I had a talk with her today" (Oh boy) Me: "What did you say?" Saige: "Well, lots of stuff. I don't really remember." (Again, gotta love the details an 8 year old girls gives you) Me: "Oh, well what did she say?" Saige: "She apologized to me and said that she was sorry for calling my brother dumb."
I wish I had a few more of the details of the conversation, but I'm proud of her nonetheless for being such a great big sister and a great advocate for kids with challenges. Way to go Saige!
I know I do. I don't know why I don't, she's a perfectly adorable "almost 8" year old. I sometimes focus too much time on Wyatt. It's understandable, this is a busy season in his life too. But sometime I worry that Saige gets lost. But not Monday night. Monday night is when Saige has her dance class. Saige shines at dance, her class is doing a dance to "It's a hard knock life" from Annie. I love it! Saige and I saw Annie on Broadway, okay not in New York, but it was at the Music Hall down town, almost as nice as New York.
Monday night she didn't shine at dance class because she got every move right, or because she was necessarily the best in the class, but it was what happened after dance that made her shine. John got held up at work, so Saige, Wyatt and I ventured to dance class on our own. I don't like taking Wyatt. The waiting room for parents is about 12 feet by 12 feet. There is nothing for him to do there, nothing for him to really play with (at least nothing he is supposed to play with). When this has happened in the past, I usually send Saige in on her own and Wyatt and I watch a movie in the van in the parking lot. But I needed to pay our bill for that month, so we all went in. I started talking to some of the other parents, Wyatt was doing okay, so we stayed in the waiting room. He was doing so well, I was chatting, watching Saige in between conversations, all was good.
As the dancers and their parents from the class after Saige's started arriving, the number of the people in the room increased, the volume in the room increased, the commotion increased. For typical kids...no big deal. For kids with Autism....BIG DEAL! I noticed Wyatt concentrating more and more on the two little toys in his hands. If I so much as touched them, he would groan. This is not like him. I knew what was happening. The sensory stimulus in the room became too great, so he was fixating on the toys in his hands, trying his best to block out all the other noises, sounds, lights, etc that he just couldn't deal with.
I knew the scene that was about to unfold. I helped Saige gather up her things, told her I would need her to be responsible for carrying her own stuff which included a dance bag and two boxes with her new ballet and tap shoes in them. I scooped Wyatt up, he let out an extremely loud yell and immediately did what we call "the dead man's drop"...his arms go straight up in the air so I have nothing to hold on to in order to carry him out. With the continuous and loud yell, all eyes are now on Wyatt, on me, and probably a few on Saige. Normally in a situation like this I probably would have had a few of the ..."just wait till we get home" thoughts run through my head along with a long list of punishments to be implemented, but with Wyatt I know he can not help it.
I take a deep breath, scoop all 40 pounds of him up off the floor kicking and screaming, losing shoes, toys, and who knows what else in the process and make a B-line for the door. I tried to hold his feet close to me to keep him from kicking anyone, I'm not sure if i was successful or not, all I knew was we needed to get out that door. He wouldn't be better until we were out.
We made it out, only to have Wyatt scream and scream and scream in our van. I had to wait him out, he wouldn't let me buckle him in.
I digress...the point of the story...Saige not once looked embarassed, Saige not once got upset, Saige not once seemed a bit frustrated with Wyatt. Saige loves her brother. She kept trying to talk to him, kept asking me what was wrong with Wyatt. Kept trying to make it all better. Sweet girl. So proud of her, she did truly shine that night.