Monday, September 08, 2008

Brotherly Love

OK. Let's not talk about sleep tonight, shall we?

(But thanks to those who commented or sent e-mails. I don't know why but somehow it helps to know that others have kept these kind of hours and survived. And thanks also for the advice. Yes, we use melatonin. And yes also to the Benedryl. And during periods like this it just doesn't work. We haven't tried anything else but I think I'll look into Tryptophan as soon as I have two brain cells to rub together again.)

What I really want to talk about is what happened this morning pre- Sami's first day of pre-school. It has been obvious for awhile now that having Sami around during our homeschooling and RDI time was less than ideal. Most of the time he jumps in and takes the challenge out of whatever I've set up for Oliver. So I spend a lot of time encouraging Oliver and discouraging Sami. It is quite exhausting. Our local rec center has a great program for three and four year olds, three mornings a week for two and a half hours. And the cost? Get this: it is $105. September to May. So I was first in line when they opened registration.

And Sami? Well, he is way into it. From the first moment school buses entered his consciousness he has wanted to go to school. For some reason he thinks that everyone learns to juggle when they go to school?!? And of course we've been talking it up for the past four months. So this morning finally arrived and the kid looked like Chrismas morning when he woke up. Both boys came running into my room and jumped in bed, Sami was beaming and Oliver looked tired and sullen -- which is quite unusual for Oliver because he is generally a pretty happy guy first thing in the morning -- no matter how much sleep we didn't get.

As we moved through our morning it became more and more obvious that Oliver was out of sorts. He wouldn't eat his favorite breakfast: baked oatmeal. He half-heartedly ate his gummi bear vitamins. He begged me for the playdoh and when I finally gave in he played with it briefly then broke down in sobs. After a half-hour or so of this I told him that he ought to go in his room and lay down until he felt better. I heard him sobbing louder and harder as I brushed Sami's teeth. Then, with only 10 minutes to go until we had to leave I thought: I had better turn this around unless I want the drop off to be a nightmare.

So I sat down next to Oliver and told him that I wished he could try and tell me what was wrong. I say this to him often when he is upset. I know that he can't communicate well but I want him to know that I care but that I can't help if I don't know what is wrong. Normally I get no response. I don't really expect a response, I suppose. But this morning he turned to me and said:

"I want Sami. I want Sami."

Incredulous I asked him, "Are you sad because Sami is going to school?"

"Sad. Yes!"

Now, I can't tell you on how many levels this affected me. He has never said Sami's name before without prompting (as in: I'm sorry I bit you Sami.). And mostly I just thought he put up with Sami. I didn't realize that he might miss the little guy. But also: it never occured to me that he was paying attention to all this talk about Sami going to school. Of course he was!! How angry I get when people discount how very aware Oliver is of everything that goes on around him and yet here I was surprised by that very fact.

After that Sami gave Oliver lots of hugs and kisses, gently rubbing his back saying: "I'll be back, Oliver. I'll be back. Don't be sad." And I told Oliver how it would be a morning of only fun things together with his old mom (and I woke up this morning another year older so I said that with some conviction!!).

The drop-off went smoothly. Sami was only "a little bit nervous but mostly excited." He was also a bit disappointed when he realized that I wasn't just going to drop him at the curb. He kept saying good-bye to me and tried to walk into the building by himself. Three going on thirteen, that boy. Oliver and I want to a local bakery and had coffee (me) and chocolate croissants (hi). Then we went to visit Grandma who was so very happy to do a little doting. After that we went home and I slyly worked in a couple of homeschooling activities (more on that later). But mostly I just spent time with my boy and felt happy that both boys seem to getting what they need for now.

Oh, and just for kicks (or slaps), here's a little dance number that Sami's been working on lately:


  1. Oh so sweet that he will miss his brother. Sometimes it is hard to "miss" little brothers :0). It is touching that it meant so much to him that he found a way to communicate it. I'm glad you and he got to do some fun things of your own (and with Grandma!)

    Hope Sami's first day of pre-school was all he hoped it would be. You should mention his juggling expectation to the program's director - maybe they will accommodate. LOVE the dance!

  2. Carolyn1:58 AM

    Happy Birthday!

  3. Anonymous7:20 AM

    First off ... I forgot to e-mail you and wish you a happy birthday yesterday, so HAPPY Belated BIRTHDAY!

    What a moving story ... it has me grinning ear to ear. Your boys are terrific.

    Hope the first day of preschool went well.

  4. :-)

    You just gotta love brothers. They are so good to one another. You must be so proud of how Oliver expressed himself. He must have felt relieved by finding his words and then getting some comfort. What a happy story.

    Happy birthday my friend!!!

  5. Wow! How awesome that he was able to tell you that he was going to miss Sami when he went to school.

    I do the same thing when Andrew gets upset. I sit with him and tell him that I wish I could help him. That I understand it must be so frustrating not to be able to tell me what is wrong. It kills me when he gets sad like this. And most of the time it is probably something that he has been listening to us talk about.

    Happy Birthday! I am so happy that you were able to enjoy the day with Oliver!!! And I am sure it feels good to know that both boys are getting what they need.

    Was thinking of you last night as I was laying with Andrew awake from 1:00 to 4:00 AM. Not bad really, given the fact that he fell asleep at 5:00 PM. I was prepared and went to bed early myself. I am hoping that we will be back on track tonight.

    Sami is so funny! He reminds me of my goofy seven year old when he was three. Actually, he still is goofy now.

  6. How totally sweet. When our kids can find their voice and let us know what is inside, it feels like magic. You know it is there, they just can't always express it. He must have been so relieved to be able to tell you what was upsetting him.

  7. What an awesome birthday present that was! Happy Belated Birthday! We are seeing similar things going on with Nik; he manages to surprise us with an awareness we didn't know was developing. It's a wonderful thing when it happens.

    LOVE the Sami-Dance! Too cute.

  8. Happy Birthday! That is just so great about Oliver missing Sami. Wow, there's so much going on in there. Including love! I'll remember that the next time I'm prying my Sam off of his brother:)

  9. Happy Birthday Christine! What an awesome day! I can't wait to hear about your homeschooling adventures.

  10. Wow, that post just blew my mind! It's so wonderful that Oliver picked up on what was going on, and especially what he was able to say to you!

    We have sleep issues around here, too, and I have absolutely no advice, but lots of sympathy.