Good Day to all of you!
Growing up an only child, I often wondered and envied those who had a brother or a sister.
I wondered what it would be like to have someone to talk to, play with and share things and yes, even to do battle with over the normal sibling issues.
My parents always seemed contented in just having me, so I never got the chance.
So, you can imagine my shock in meeting my future husband who brought with him eight siblings, plus spouses and children!
I was introduced to each and every one of them on our first date, at a wedding.
I came from a quiet, peaceful environment, my world surrounded by only my mother and father to being tossed helpless into an environment where their were bodies everywhere, all packed into one tiny house, with loud conversation competing with the music blasting from some radio.
I swore, that if I were going to ever have a baby with this man, this one of a sea of loud and boisterous humans, that we were going to have just one.
Being quiet and reserved, my love promised the same.
For eight years after we were married, we kept that promise, happy and blessed to have just Christian.
With the struggles we were having with Christian from infancy, just one was all we could handle.
But sometimes a woman's own body, own emotions, betray good intentions and what she believes she wants.
During this time, several friends and family members had given birth, and I was quickly surrounded by babies.
Beautiful, cuddly, smell so sweet, little miracles.
Of course, it did not help that I also worked at a daycare, so my days were filled with children!
It did not take long for the baby craving to prove to be too much.
Brandon Gerard Avery Traverse was born on December 5, 2009.
At first, as expected, Christian did not take joy in becoming a brother.
He, after all had been an only child for eight years, having me and his father all to himself.
However, Christian's reaction to his baby brother was not just unfavourable, it was violent.
His moods would change in a heartbeat. One moment he was kissing his baby brother, the next he was trying to smoother him the moment he started to cry.
Christian will hold his brother in his lap, with supervision, then try to throw him to the floor the moment we stopped looking.
This flip the switch behaviour with Brandon was frighting and left my husband and I at our wits end.
My husband and I understood that it is very natural for one child to be jealous of another, especially when that child has been the only for so long, but Christian's behaviour was extreme, in our opinion.
It was not until the diagnosis of autism, and learning that that condition meant, did all our confusions become clear.
Simply put, as I stated previously, Christian's sensory issues made him want to smother his baby brother when he cried because his cries were too painful for him to endure, and he wanted him to simply stop.
Also, the new baby had interrupted his peaceful day to day routine, making him feel frustrated and confused as to why his life could not continue to be the same as before.
Christian's behaviours, though disturbing to us at the time, were not acts of cruelty but they were the only ways he could understand how to cope.
Christian is now 11, and Brandon is 3 and my heart fills with love and joy as I see the bond blooming between them.
Brandon loves Christian like only a little brother can, with awe, Christian is Brandon's hero.
He follows him around, he walks with him to the front door when he leaves for school and is there at the top of the stairs shouting "Welcome home, Christian, I missed you!"
Christian is a very loving and protective big brother.
He will kiss and hug him every chance he got, especially when Brandon is sick or crying and often hands him his favourite toy to make him feel better.
Christian even now picks out Brandon's clothes after a bath, and helps dress him.
He reads him bedtime stories and always plays toys with Brandon.
Of course, he still gets angry with Brandon when he yells too loud, breaks one of his toys or eats all his favourite food.
But, that is a part of the brother experience.