Sunday, July 15, 2012

Not Forgetting the “Middle One”

With all the attention put on our oldest and youngest to help with their challenges, it leaves our middle son (9 years old) watching from the sidelines. I have to say, I’m amazed at how well he’s handling it all. He’s thriving in so many areas of his life and continues to have compassion and forgiveness for his brothers. But my heart is still sensitive to what his needs may be and how we can help him cope with all of this.

So, it was time for another “mommy date”. Since he loves to read, we both grabbed our books and headed to Starbucks to enjoy a warm caramel milk and some small talk. In the past, he tolerates my gushing attention for a bit, then politely asks, “can we read our books now?” But this evening we never picked up our books, instead we engaged in great conversation, mostly about his brothers. I allowed him to express his honest feelings about what was going on in our home, his observations were pretty dead on, “Big brother is doing so much better, but little brother is changing, he’s starting to act like big brother!” He explained how hard it can be living with them and how stressed out it can make him feel. I then asked him what we could do as his parents to help him cope better and as expected, he offered up a good suggestion. He explained that since it’s summer, he never gets a break from his brothers and what he would like would be a mandatory “quiet time” everyday so he can relax a little by himself and not worry about his brothers acting out.

So, that’s just what we’ve done. I know this isn’t easy to accomplish since the other brothers may interpret this time as a punishment, so I’m working hard on convincing them that this alone time is a good thing. We’re three days in and it’s going pretty good. I can see how much our middle son is enjoying this time, he even asks during the day, “Is it quiet time yet?”

I also noticed how much this “mommy date” helped him. The next day he had a spring in his step and commented on our evening several times, I also found a love note he wrote me, which of course put a spring in my step!

As much as my middle son gets stressed out by his brothers, he still has amazing compassion for them. During our talk that night he expressed over and over how sad he was that his brothers had challenges. He said, “I wish I had a magic lamp, if I did I would rub it to make three wishes. The first wish would be for my older brother to be healed, the second wish would be for my younger brother to be healed, and my third wish would be that no one in the world would perish!” Then he thought for a second and said, “Or my third wish might be that we get a water park in our backyard, I’ve always wanted to go to a water park!”

Oh, if only magic lamps were real...


  1. Oh man is he a blessing or what? It is so wonderful that you set aside a special date with him and the fact he can give such a well thought out recommendation to help him cope is astonishing to me. From the mouths of babes. I do hope the quiet time continues to go over well. And who knows maybe one day there will be a cure. We can hope can't we?

  2. I agree, this child is constantly surprising me with his wisdom at such a young age.

  3. Sounds like he provides a nice balance. I've arranged classes and time at camp for my daughter to give her some social time away from my son for the summer. And I devote some of my therapy time to working out how to best meet her needs. It is so easy to shuffle her onto the back burner. I'm glad that you are making an effort to notice your middle son and meet his needs too, even though they aren't as "demanding" as your other two. You're a good mom!