Big Brother

Luke was 2.5 when Wil was born. He was one excited big brother-to-be. He has taken the role of big brother very seriously from the time he found out he would hold the title. For Luke, if he was to be a BIG brother he had to change a few things. Soon after we told Luke that I was pregnant with Wil he announced that he wanted to start using the toilet. And he did. We "trained" a few times and that was it. I don't even recall him being in pull ups for long. BIG boys don't wear diapers OR pull ups, after all. Shortly after that, he announced that he was ready for a BIG boy bed. He transferred with ease and never looked back. Too, he took great interest in everything we were doing to prepare for Wil and told everyone at pre-school that he would soon have a brother.

One of the early thoughts I had after we received Wil's diagnosis was of Luke. And his excitement to have a little brother. To have a playmate. I wondered how Wil's delays would impact him. How would we explain it to him? How could we help him understand what having Down syndrome would mean for Wil when we didn't even understand?

I wondered whether Luke would protect Wil when needed. I wondered if Luke would accept and love Wil like we do, especially as he aged and began to notice the differences between them.

Yesterday, Luke came into the kitchen with a question.

Luke: Mom, when will Wil learn to talk?

Me: I don't know for sure. He is communicating with us now, through signs and some words.

Luke: But will he be able to talk one day?

Me: Yes, I believe he will. Kids with Down syndrome have different abilities when it comes to talking. Some speak a lot like you and me and some don't have as many words. And some have lots of words but might not speak as clearly as we do.

Luke: Will we know what he is saying.

Me: I'm sure we will. We know what he wants to communicate now so I feel sure we will be able to understand him just fine. Others may not always be able to understand him as well so we may have to help him out sometimes.

Luke: Will they make fun of him?

Me: Well, I hope not. But sometimes kids make fun of other kids that are different from them so it may happen from time to time.

Luke: Well, if that happens. . . I'm goin' in!!

Me: You're "goin' in?" Watchya gonna do after that?

Luke: I'm gonna let 'em have it (demonstrating pitiful boxing maneuvers).

Me: Hmmm, well, letting them "have it" may not be the best way to handle it. Maybe you could just tell them about Wil.

Luke: Yeah, I will tell them that Wil is really nice and just because someone has Down syndrome doesn't mean that they aren't really great. And I will tell them that Wil learns differently but he still learns stuff just like we do. And that he is a really good brother.

I don't think I have anything to worry about. Well, unless he "let's 'em have it!"


Greg said...

"I'm going in" will have to become part of my vocabulary.

Louis said...

wow, Luke seems awesome, I'm sure you've learn more from him than you thought possible.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name's Marilyn and I'm from Chile, in this moment I'm caring for My 60 year old sister, Rosa with DS, she is getting over from pneumonia. I was checking about DS life expectancy and I came across with your blog, where you published about an English man who died at 68, I've read about DS life expectancy is between 40 and 50, we should be really proud to have Rosa (Toti) with us.


waldenhouse said...

Greg - ha, I thought you would like that!
Louis - Yes, Luke teaches me a lot. All my boys do. Especially about myself!
Thanks for stopping in Marilyn! You sure are fortunate to have your sister, Rosa. What a blessing. I hope she sets the new record!

Spitmonkey said...

Well, if his boxing moves are so pitiful maybe you don't have anything to worry about. ;-) But then I think of Ralphie on A Christmas Story and when that kid got all riled up... watch out! :D

I love that Luke loves his brother so much, and is so protective of him. :)

jennifergg said...

I love this post! I love the questions, so natural and appropriate, and I love your answers, which are equally natural and appropriate. Most of all, I love the love between your boys.


Anonymous said...

That really touched my heart! coming by via Jeng

Monica said...

What a great big brother he already is. It's good that he has a fighting spirit for his brother -- as long as he uses his words and not his fists :-) Love your blog!

Beth said...

This is so sweet. I love the picture of the two of them.

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