Attention is not evenly distributed when you’re a special needs parent. When you have more than one child, and especially when you have less than two parents, things tend to get very lopsided. I still haven’t figured out how to fix that. “You always pay more attention to him than me.”
Guilty as charged.
Even when I had two kids with IEPs, one’s needs were more demanding than the other’s. One child needed home visits as part of his EI plan; the other did not. One child needed constant supervision; the other did not. One child needed to be homeschooled; the other did not. The list goes on. And you can’t expect the child with fewer needs to be understanding. After all, that child is just as much your child as the one with greater needs.
So you try to do special things for and with the child who feels like he’s not as important. You tell him that he is just as important as the one who requires so much more of your time and attention. You write posts about him on your blog and let him read them. And speaking of the blog, whenever you’re working on it in your office and he comes in for some reason, you always minimize the screen out of sensitivity for his feelings, so that it doesn’t seem to him that you’re always writing about his brother. Even though over 90% of the time, you are.
And when he comes into the kitchen the night that you are taking a picture of the photo album, open to a spread of his brother as a baby, and he asks what you’re doing and you tell him that you’re working on an idea for a blog post, it doesn’t surprise you that he just says “Oh” in an unimpressed, disappointed tone and walks out.
And it reminds you of how damn lopsided it’s always been, and that for every post you write about his brother, you want to write one about how proud you are of him, the one with fewer needs. And not because he has fewer needs, of course, but because he is so very important to you, and you’re so sorry that it doesn’t always appear that way. And you want to tell him that you look at his baby pictures just as much, and that they are just as meaningful to you, just as beautiful. Just as special.
Even though he’s wearing his brother’s shirt 😉