Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Sibling Rivalry

with 13 comments

I am so excited to write my first post about sibling rivalry!  Yes, we have it in our house!  Our atypical kids have the beginnings of an all too typical relationship, and it makes me happy.  You can’t give one something without giving it to the other.  And one always wants what the other has.  Isn’t that so….normal, for want of a better word?  To be jealous of someone, you need to be paying attention.  You need to acknowledge their existence.  You need to come out of your own world, and recognize that there are other people sharing your world with you.

In the beginning, Pudding was quite open to the idea of a baby brother, or so we thought.  It turns out when we would ask if she was happy, we were getting an echolaic response.  We took it for granted anyway.  As she got more and more anxious, it became pretty clear that baby screams are not pleasant to her ears.  I hardly blame her for tuning out more and more.  Babies, I’m the first to admit, are pretty rubbish.  They are takers, not givers, and that doesn’t sit well with a 2 year-old, or a 3 year-old for that matter.  You aren’t ever allowed to punish the baby for taking toys and parents away, which is just not fair.

Still, they do grow up.  They start to get interesting.  They can say your name, and they find you very funny  You can get in trouble together!  Suddenly mummy and daddy aren’t sure who smeared the toothpaste everywhere, or deliberately poured the soy milk on the carpet, or used markers on the sofa (all today, before 7am).  And in that uncertainty, lies the benefit of the doubt.  Kids with pragmatic speech delays are excellent at pleading the 5th.  Having a little brother is not so bad.

If only you didn’t have to share though.  Most toys are for sharing, only a couple of special ones, like Sleeping Beauty or Upsy-Daisy are just for Pudding.  The trouble is, Cubby just doesn’t get that.  He tried to take them all.the.time.  In fact, it seems like he only wants the things because he can’t have them.  His special interests are boy things like trains and trucks (try telling me this boy doesn’t have an ASD) not girl things like dolls and princesses.  Rubbish.


Image via Wikipedia

Enter Elmo.  That cute, red muppet with pronoun problems.  Cubby likes him.  Of course he does, he is an American toddler living in America.  It is in his contract.  Deciding to capitalize on this, yesterday I purchased an inexpensive stuffed Elmo.  For some reason, Cubby also decided he needed a bucket to live in, not sure why, but I know better than to argue over a $1 pail in the middle of Target.  Pudding was initially disappointed with the new addition to the household.  He doesn’t sing, or move, or talk, like so many of the other toys here.  She told me it was broken and I should fix it.  Cubby was happy enough with him though, which was the whole point.  She can play with her Upsy-Daisy, and he can play with Elmo.  Simple.

I know, I know, nothing is ever simple- I’m a fool for thinking so!  Overnight, Elmo became a highly-prized treasure.  He is the most emotional being in this house (quite a feat when we are all feeling so highly-strung) and Pudding is verbalizing how happy/sad/sleepy/hungry Elmo is.  Can I say that again?  Pudding is verbalizing how happy/sad/sleepy/hungry Elmo is. Erm, yes, we’d like to encourage that.  So, we do the old switcharoo, and let her have Elmo, and Cubby took Upsy-Daisy (just Daisy to Cubby, they’re on good terms).  That wasn’t agreeable to Her Royal Highness though, and we quickly had to do a trade before blood was spilled.

I might (frequently) complain about how difficult it is to raise two only children as brother and sister, but for the way it forces them to grow and interact, it is worth it.  Feel free to remind me of this post by Monday, when I’ll have done an about-turn on this opinion.  But for now, I’ll take some sibling rivalry, though I’d rather not experience a Mexican stand-off at 6 am!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 1, 2010 at 7:28 am

13 Responses

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  1. like, like, like. awesome on so many levels and a great way to end the week. I remember one time two of my boys were wrestling in the toy room – really wrestling and laughing – and my husband was about to step in and stop it. I asked him to let it go because this was “normal”. Normal is not a word in my house normally 🙂


    October 1, 2010 at 7:41 am

    • Both of the kids love to wrestle, but I encourage that to be Daddy play. It doesn’t matter, the other day Cubby called out “dogpile” and launched on me. We don’t use the word “normal’ much either, it is occasionally refreshing! 🙂


      October 1, 2010 at 12:14 pm

  2. I like this too. I didn’t think I’d get much sibling rivalry in my house either. Not only are the both on the Spectrum, but they’re almost 5 years apart in age and different genders. What could they possibly have to fight about. 🙂

    They find things. And he does the “tormenting big brother” thing VERY well sometimes. It’s irritating and nice at the same time.



    October 1, 2010 at 8:19 am

    • I fought with my brothers a lot, though we get on okay now. I just think it is a part of the growing up experience, and a good way of figuring out that you can’t always have your own way. Glad you guys have it too. 🙂


      October 1, 2010 at 12:16 pm

  3. One of my very favorite things is watching my boys interact, even if that means they are fighting over a toy. We found a new way they love to interact recently. A sits up on the couch and B crouches down and hides behind the couch. He then will pop up and make odd noises to scare A. A thinks it is hilarious! We call it peek-a-boo, autism style!


    October 1, 2010 at 11:40 am

    • I love it! Also, not too far a step from hide-and-seek, which is both social and uses up energy on rainy days. I’m all for it!


      October 1, 2010 at 12:21 pm

  4. Sibling rivalry can be so important. My sister has special needs and sibling rivalry wasn’t allowed or encouraged and well, completely different circumstances, but left us in a very stilted relationship. As frustrating as SR can be at times, it is a good thing. I am still so envious of those who were allowed more normal relationships with their siblings with special needs.


    October 1, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    • I do think it is healthy, but haven’t read much on the subject, so perhaps a professional might chime in. I think not being allowed might lead to a lot of resentment and jealousy. These days they have sibling support groups, which I think are great for ensuring every child in the family’s needs get met. Shame they didn’t have them, and I’m sorry your relationship hasn’t recovered. You and I should grab a coffee some time (I know, neither of us has time!).


      October 1, 2010 at 1:22 pm

      • Oh, I will gladly find the time…it’s more..how do I describe…my sister was very, very (and still is, to an extent) coddled. I understand it to an extent, but part of me still resents it. It was always obvious, so I feel better in knowing it’s not just something I perceive, but it doesn’t change much. Yes, sadly, I never really found much ‘sibling support’ until later on. Now we are so far away and have such different lives…it’s not bad, per se, just wish it had been different….felt more like a sister and less like a caretaker, if that makes any sense?

        Seriously, though, if you want to grab a coffee sometime, just send an email…would love to meet up with you!


        October 1, 2010 at 2:50 pm

        • It makes perfect sense. That caretaker thing is something I saw a lot of when I worked as a carer.

          I’ll drop you an email about that coffee 🙂


          October 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm

  5. Yep, sibling rivalry and interaction are very important. My two boys have been at it since Perky started being able to crawl and thus snatch Pinky’s stuff. The hard part for these two is that as they have grown bigger, they have been able to inflict more serious damage. Pinky has given Perky a blood nose twice but Perky has bitten and pulled Pinky’s hair countless times. It is all in the mix, but there is a genuine danger as my two get into ‘red mist’ pretty quickly. Once Perky developed decent verbal skills he also started dobbing Pinky in. (which was pretty funny) They are also very good at insulting each other! We continue to use ‘divide and conquer’ as our main parenting strategy. Lately, they have played together well for what I consider decent stretches of time (about an hour once!) with more confidence and ability to self-manage. Perky has been the one to pull back and seek alone time, which is surprising to me because he seems better skilled at this than his older brother. Needless to say, they keep us on our toes most days, just like any brothers a little over 2 years apart in age, I suspect.

    Amy (DQ)

    October 2, 2010 at 6:14 am

    • That is the scary thing- the ‘red mist’. Mine are still a bit too young to inflict real damage, thank goodness. I’d love Pudding to do yoga or something to help calm her, but that requires WAY too much coordination at the moment. I love the dobbing in! Pudding used to always tell us when she did something wrong, and has stopped lately. We genuinely don’t know which of them did something, and she chooses not to incriminate herself. Not quite blaming him yet though.


      October 2, 2010 at 6:54 am

  6. […] has been a normal year.  My kids who previously seemed to be only children started to discover a relationship with each other, and now show affection to each other.  There was the odd bit of toilet […]

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