Monday, June 25, 2012

King of the Sideline Siblings

A friend told me each week she has one of her kids plan out the dinner menu and make that dinner for the family.  I loved her idea and designated Caleb as the first chef.  For his meal he selected hamburgers, oven baked fries, apple slices, and carrot  sticks.

It was interesting cooking with him.  He opened my eyes to how sensory stimulating the whole cooking experience can be to an Asperger's child.  Even though it was painful at times to work with him, he seemed very pleased with his finished product (and so was I).

Every morning, Connor has swim team practice.  As Connor is perfecting his strokes in the water, I spend my time poolside keeping his brothers occupied.  The boys have developed a routine.  Caleb melts into a lounge chair and quickly becomes engrossed in books.  The younger boys rush to the play set located next to the baby pool where they are always greeted by the same kiddos.  Their playmates are all younger siblings that constantly get dragged to an older sibling's practice, recital, and game.  This crew is used to keeping themselves occupied on the sidelines and quickly learned the sibling rules for spectator etiquette.  They know they can play by a soccer field, but they don't dare cross over the sideline.  They can explore the deck of a pool, but can never actually dive into the water.  They can listen to a school concert, but not ever jump on stage.

Cooper's quickly become the king of the sideline siblings and has begun entertaining his "court" with daily performances.  I've coined it the "Cooper Show."  As soon as all the kids have descended on the play set, Cooper climbs to the highest portion of the set.  This is the signal for the other kids to select their "seats."   They form a circle at Cooper's feet gazing upward, eager to see what incredible feat Cooper will be performing that morning.  Cooper doesn't want to disappoint and certainly tries to provide his audience with a spectacular, cutting edge performance.  Once on the top of the play set, he stands, swings, jumps, and balances on tiny metal bars.  During all his moves, Cooper flashes his signature smile at the audience and the kids ooh and aah in response.

I allow some of the performances to go on, but Cooper always takes it one step too far.  (Like the times he grasped for a nearby tree branch ten feet off the ground.  I imagine he hopped to incorporate a Tarzan-like move into his performance.)  And so his shows always seem to end the same way with me yelling "Cooper, get down this very instance before you break every single bone in your body."  He climbs down and the crowd disperses.  But I can see the wheels in his head turning as I imagine he's planning dazzling performances to come.

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