When Ethan was diagnosed with autism the thought of having another child was the furthest thought from our minds. We were scared that another child would mean another diagnosis as there is a one in five chance that another child would also be on the spectrum. It took time but we always saw ourselves as a four and we decided not to give up on that dream.
When we discussed this with Ethan’s pediatrician she actually advised us not to have any more children. Her reasons being that Ethan wouldn’t notice another sibling because he lives in his own little world. He can’t or wouldn’t show any empathy and don’t even mention the word love. Her parting comment was that she didn’t think I would cope with two children on the spectrum!
Her comments knocked us for six and for a while we listened to her chilling words.
We always discussed our decision and it worried me that we would regret not knowing what our family would be like as a four.
Our family became a four last July, a year ago on Saturday in-fact, and there have been bumpy moments. Ethan cried when Little E was brought home from the hospital but thankfully the next day he wouldn’t leave her alone. Showing her lots of affection whilst we lived on our nerves making sure he wasn’t going to accidentally hurt her.
Their relationship has evolved over this year and Ethan can very much take or leave his sister. Their relationship is very much on his terms but as Little E is getting more mobile she really does make herself known to Ethan. She is always in his space, at times climbing all over him, and he takes it all in his stride.
He won’t give his iPad to her and I can see that causing tension in the future. He also doesn’t like it when he thinks that she is doing something wrong and he is quick to tell on her. This is very funny and even though this has the potential to cause meltdowns I can see that this will teach Ethan a few life lessons along the way.
The best part of being a four is watching the interaction between them. In our eyes a sibling has been the greatest gift to Ethan. The heat-wave confirmed this when we brought out the paddling pool. Last week there was some fantastic interaction and I would even say they ‘played’ together!
His relationship and bond with his sister was really highlighted to us on Sunday when I was able to capture this heartwarming moment.