Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Clash of the titans or Aspie Kid meets Toddler Boy

Who says you can't eat your sausage in a bag?
There may well be a rumble in the jungle but it isn't a patch on the noise that's being generated in this house.

Boy One, 11 years old and in his Asperger's way a bit of a stickler, and Boy Three, two years old and an exceptionally stroppy free spirit, have been at loggerheads lately.

Boy One sees the theoretical possibility of danger everywhere and he likes a good rule. One day he may be of great benefit to the health and safety industry. Boy Three is using risk-taking to explore the limits of his physical and creative world.

So Boy One tries to get Boy Three to toe the line. Boy Three sees the line and throws yogurt at it. Boy One restrains Boy Three for his own safety but Boy Three reacts by turning into a red-faced ball of snot-crusted fury.

Boy Three doesn't understand why his explorations - largely encouraged as good for his development - can't continue into the cave of sensory delights that is his biggest brother's bedroom. Boy One cannot bear the thought of the touching and moving and breaking that would follow.

Now this would be more or less fine if they would just retreat to other ends of the house with a barricade of dirty laundry and empty cereal boxes between them.

However, Boy One loves his baby brother with a passion. Boy Three loves anyone who will give him things and indulge him. He has a lot of fun with Boy Two (nine years old and like a Tunnock's teacake - a flimsy hard shell with a very soft gooey inside). They romp and fart and giggle together.

Boy One sees this and wants a slice of the fun. He tries to entice Boy Three by thrusting a plaything in his face or tickling him. Thing is, in a typically AS way, he's just not reading Boy Three  at all before invading his personal space.

Personal space for a toddler might seem like an odd concept, given his blatant disregard for others (manifested this morning by him sitting on my head), but Boy Three already has clear ideas about who can come close and when.

He's also talking well - "my mummy", "go away now", "have it to me", "too big", "oh my goodness" and "I like bagels". But his speech is still only a very small part of his communications, eloquent as they are. He gets his message across with volume, gesture, missiles, expression and a few words. But Boy One struggles to read anything but the words.

Poor Boy Once can't understand why his baby brother says to him "go away now", "bye bye" or why almost every encounter ends in shrieks of frustration.

Once I realised what was happening, I've tried to explain and, even, use Boy Three as a toddling tutorial on non-verbal communication. Hopefully it'll work and peace will break out.

Tips and suggestions would be most welcome, only write them down because there's too much roaring going on here for me to hear myself think.


  1. Ah! Bless them both. I was just thinking when I was up that Boy Three is coming up to the age C was when she did Boy One's head in! Tell him it doesn't last long, she wouldn't find it funny to leg it up and down the living room throwing herself on the sofa any more (although that probably seems ages ago to him now!).


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  3. I'm surprised you can't here me from way over here going off on one every night between 4 and 9 when I have to share the same living space as a 14yo boy and a 5yo boy - I've come to the conclusion whatever the circumstances it's never a good mix. Never.

  4. Jo, That's a good thing to remind him, thanks.

    Nikkii, I was rather hoping you'd tell me that by then boys with that age gap had become the best of friends!

  5. Ellen, I love reading your accounts of your boys! I think I'd very much enjoy being a fly on the wall in your house! x

  6. Great blog; I smile at the description of the boys, and feel you exasperation! As one of the previous comments says, the 10 year gap between the two would almost certainly be a bit of a problem in any family, at certain more difficult stages in the lives of each or either of them! Very convoluted sentence, that, but I expect you get the gist. Hang in there - this too will pass.

  7. They sound very much like myself and my sister. Except we're aged 27 and 23 (going on 28 and 24) and really should know better. x

  8. mothersalwaysright, Funny. I bet you secretly adore her. When my younger siblings grew up they became my best friends too.

  9. Reading this Ellen - well, it's exactly like my house used to be! And still is somedays, still is! :-)

    My boys are a bit older: 17, 13 and 7. Time has softened and steadied them, ageing has reduced the bounciness and the constant need to challenge and test...

    Eldest - from being the youngest's sternest critic - is now the one who understands him best and brilliantly answers his non-stop questions - with enthusiasm and patience.

    I also have a "Tunnocks Teacake" middle son :-). I know what you mean.

    Seperate mac computers have helped bring peace and understanding enormously. (They've also caused massive fights!) But generally they share knowledge of the operating system, teach other how to win at the games and each spends his own idle time at his own pace.

    Lovely piece - well-written and truthful.

    Merry Kate (Twitter)

  10. Merry,
    Thanks for your comment. I'm so pleased to hear that age and time have improved matters. It gives me hope.

    And I love the idea of a Tunnock's Teacake middle one!


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