|Who says you can't eat your sausage in a bag?|
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.