Ha Ha! Jonathan IS a Little Brother
from Autism @ About.com
This morning there was a brief skirmish over the VCR. Not an atypical
situation in a family of children, of course, but this skirmish had an
interesting twist to it.
This weekend the local videotape rental store had a customer
appreciation day. So of course, being our civic duty, we trooped down
and picked up six videotapes; three for the kids and three for me. The
kids selected "Shrek", "Princess Diaries" and "Paulie." I selected my
three, amongst them "What Dreams May Come." I am sure readers of this
site will understand why I wanted to watch that film again.
At any rate, Jon went through his films last night and this morning.
Apparently one viewing of "Shrek" was enough for him (I can certainly
understand why), and "Princess Diaries" did not appeal to his newfound
sense of masculinity. Being that we have a parrot, perhaps "Paulie"
just didn't hold any intrigue. But Jon did want to watch a movie and
he selected "What Dreams May Come."
To give a little history on this, I was watching that film last night.
Hannah, Jon's sister who is older by less than one year, had attempted
to come downstairs and watch it with me. It was around 10:00pm and
quite frankly this was a movie I needed to watch alone and I shooed
her out and sent her to bed. She of course, interpreted that to mean
that it was a movie not appropriate for her age of 11. Whether the
movie is or is not appropriate is not the point of this article but
the resulting actions of this morning certainly are.
Jon went through the stack of six movies we had rented and selected
"What Dreams May Come." I was upstairs working on my laptop and Hannah
decided in her older sister wisdom that this was no more appropriate
for him than it had been for her the previous evening. And of course,
a scuffle broke out.
All I knew for sure was there was a lot of hollering going on
downstairs and when I called Hannah to find out what on earth was
going on THIS time, she came up with the tape saying that Jon was
watching the film that I wouldn't let her watch. She of course had no
idea of the reason I hadn't wanted her to watch it. But she did know
that she needed to protect her brother from himself - something that
is just part of the life of a child with an Autistic sibling.
When she brought the "offending" tape upstairs to inform me that Jon
was watching this movie and of course "told on him", Jon was right
behind her. He didn't look happy. In fact, he looked quite peeved and
was he verbal I am sure there would have been a heated exchange
between the two kids. Being nonverbal, he resorted to a lot of foot
stamping and a pretty mean glare at his sister.
I considered the film for a moment and decided that it was okay for
Jon to watch it. I said to Hannah, "It's okay, he can watch it." Of
course that had to result in a small argument with Hannah and me but
after explaining to her that it wasn't that I was keeping the film
from her but wanted my own private time last night, I think she
understood. I handed the film back to Jon and told him to go back
downstairs and watch the movie. Then Jon delivered the line that
absolutely made my morning.
He looked directly at his sister and said, "Ha Ha." As clear as a
bell. Not laughter. Not giggling without meaning. But a sarcastic and
triumphant "Ha Ha". And she was left speechless. As was I. Until he
left and I busted up laughing. (Hannah has yet to see the humor in
But today Jonathan cemented himself as a true "little brother." He
took on his sister in a disagreement, he and she brought it to me, I
ruled in his favor and he got a chance to deliver a verbal dig. What
more is a little brother supposed to do in life? It seems to me that
he performed his job quite well.
Perhaps at times in trying to accommodate for Autism, we overlook the
issues that are just normal for kids. Kids are going to argue if they
are siblings. They are going to look for every chance they can to get
the other one in trouble. They are going to forge a lifetime bond
while they are trying to totally make each other miserable. That is
part of life. It is part of being siblings. True, you must watch for
those times when it gets out of control but by allowing kids to solve
their own problems allows non-Autistic children to accept Autism for
what it is and you also allow the Autistic child to interact on that
level that all siblings interact on.
Today Hannah lost an argument with her brother. Today she learned he
can hold his own a little better than she thought. Today she learned
she is not the only one who has opinions. Today we all learned that
Jonathan can stand up for himself a little better than we realized.
And to quote my son: HA HA!