Household Violence

The sibling fights used to be between Ane and Tad.  That seemed normal to me.  They are very close in age, there’s a lot of overlap in the things they do, and they can annoy each other easily.

What I was not prepared for, and am now having to deal with on a daily/hourly/minute-by-minute basis are the fights between Tad and Rerun.

This has just snuck up on me and smacked me dead on in the face.  After all, there are 4 and a half years between the boys.  And yes, they do share a room, which does add to the disputes.  But… but… but…

I didn’t expect it to start happening quite so soon.

I’ve talked it over with Tad’s ABA therapist and his speech therapist, and even his teacher a little bit.  Tad went through an extremely “rigid” phase a few weeks ago (capped off with his first sleepwalking episode in months).  While I can’t be certain as to what triggered it, Rerun has begun to express himself verbally very well, and his other skills seem to be taking off in equal proportion.  Which means that while he is still a few weeks shy of his third birthday, he now can express emotional states.  For example, he came up to me last night in tears and said, “Mama, I so sad!”  I had told Ane to take a toy that was not his away from him and put it up.  He then ran to me to tell me how he felt.

Tad did not do this at not-quite-three years old.  Tad had about 30-50 words at not-quite-three and none of them involved emotions.  They were all nouns, with a handful of verbs.

Does Tad resent Rerun’s communication skills?  I don’t know.  His speech therapist is inclined to think it’s highly likely.  “He notices more than we sometimes give him credit for,” she commented on Monday.

So, add that to Rerun’s increased fine motor skills (he adores LEGOs and wants to play with Tad’s), the fights over toys (Tad’s, Rerun’s, and shared ones), and the increased number of similar interests as Rerun gets older (Batman, Veggie Tales, Star Wars), and we seem to be stuck in a pressure cooker of Tad’s angst and Rerun’s neurotypical development.

One source of fighting between the two of them was the small toy Larry-Mobile (Larry-Boy’s superhero car from Veggie Tales) that we had.  Technically, it was Tad’s toy.  However, when Rerun became addicted to Larry-Boy and Veggie Tales, I got it out for him to play with.  Tad had not touched it in months, maybe even a year.  That didn’t stop him from immediately trying to claim it back.  It got so bad that I was considering hiding it away again, because the toy itself was discontinued years ago.  My saving grace was Friend, who offered up their identical Larry-Mobile car to Rerun.  Now, each boy has his own Larry-Mobile and the fight is over.  (Thank you again, Friend.)

The current fight is, stupidly, which one of them will sing Larry’s part when they listen to the various Silly Songs.  Neither of them wants to sing backup (that is my job – Grandma jokingly called me a Pip) and they are literally coming to blows over who is going to sing the stupid lyric.  I am not kidding.  Last night, Tad, despite my attempt to get him to calm down and relax, could not take it anymore and punched Rerun for singing the part he wanted.  Naturally, Rerun burst into tears and punched him back.  I had to separate them, put Tad on time-out, and get both of them calmed down.  When I pointed out to Tad that he CANNOT hit his brother for singing, and that Rerun is littler than he is, Tad looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “No, he’s NOT LITTLE.”

I tried again with “smaller than you.”  But I think Tad is really beginning to realize that this “little” brother, who he has so long dominated in skills, is starting to encroach on his turf.  And being Tad, he is struggling to channel his emotions properly to deal with that.

Hence, rigidity, frustration, angst, and punching.

Which makes me think that Thumper’s impending arrival may actually solve some problems.  It will completely upset Rerun’s apple cart – he who is used to being “the baby” and getting plenty of attention is now going to be bumped out of place.  Tad, who has been able to recall my pregnancy with Rerun, is quite cognizant of what is going to happen this time.  He’s done it all before and remembers it.  This is a good thing, because it will give him that proverbial leg up on Rerun.  Plus Ane is even older and more helpful this time around, and there are many things that she will be able to do for Rerun when I can’t.  And it will give Tad the opportunity to be “big” once again.

We just have to survive until then.  It will take lots of special attention, prayer, and pleading to just let him sing Larry’s part, please, for the love of all that is holy.

And I bought identical plush Larry-Boy toys for their Easter baskets.

So, with that, Happy Valentine’s Day!  We are working on feeling some brotherly love here.

3 Responses to “Household Violence”

  1. Ressis
    February 14th, 2013 04:06

    Unfortunately, this does sound like normal “brother” stuff. You and I never experienced this in childhood because the Major was the only boy. (However when my girls are having a tiff, I just sigh and reminisce about you beating me up or me beating up Auntie: the circle of sisterhood).

  2. Auntie
    February 14th, 2013 09:08


  3. Deanna's Corner » Blog Archive » Temptation
    March 14th, 2013 00:22

    […] I have blogged about before, the boys are having a really hard time with each other.  This is a consequence of Tad’s autism, Rerun’s toddlerhood, and the fact that their […]