Two Boys and a Sister on the Way!

My son Nolan was born May 2007.  He was the easiest baby who came with a painless, smooth delivery.  He made parenthood a breeze.

There was no hesitation in giving him a sibling right away.

Mylan was born December 2008, and Nolan wanted nothing to do with him.  He would hide his head or leave the room entirely if Mylan cried.

I could never get that beautiful proud picture of big brother holding newborn brother.

I was horrified that the loves of my life were not like the online photos I’ve seen.  He didn’t warm up for a couple months.

Nolan was not speaking appropriately for an almost two-year-old.  Limited vocabulary.  Repetition.

He didn’t play with other children, nor play properly with toys.  He wouldn’t color, draw nor paint.

He never cared for the toy section in a store; his head was fixated on the ceiling fans.  He did take to his wooden train set.

Friends speculated he was Autistic, so I put him on the wait list for testing.

I didn’t know if subsequent children would automatically be affected.  I knew nothing of this “Autism” thing.

So, I put Mylan, at age 5 months, on the wait-list too.

Fast forward.  Nolan was diagnosed with high functioning autism.

He can speak.  He still has problems articulating everything he is trying to say.  Sometimes he can’t process what is being said to him fast enough.

He is modified at school for his abilities, and is thriving. He is polite, friendly, knows the rules, is truly honest, and discipline has never been an issue for him at school and home.

Never one meltdown, never any resistance. He is a beautiful, gentle soul.

He has an amazing memory and he displays his emotions without the stereotypical autistic stoic face.

Before I could get that diagnosis for Nolan, or even see the warning signs that he may be Autistic, I was already expecting the second child.  I didn’t have time to debate any “what ifs” before proceeding with another pregnancy.

I didn’t even know that this current lifestyle of mine was even a possibility.  But it did not get any easier, as my worst fear was realized – once I even knew there was such a fear.

Mylan has low functioning autism. Yes, his diagnosis was even worse than before!

He has never said a word. He has spent years in behavioural, speech, musical and occupational therapy.

His fine motor skills are lacking; he can’t point nor do sign language. He doesn’t grasp the concept of moving his head to answer with a “yes” or “no”.

He’s in diapers, as he’s inconsistent with the washroom.  We dress him. But he can strip to nothing in a split second!

He melts down without warning.  He can be destructive, but he doesn’t hurt anybody else.

He squeals and makes constant noise.  His smile and giggles are infectious.

He won’t do crowds, and social settings with family and friends are determined by the exact moment.

He will either withdraw and be miserable, or stay close yet do his own thing.  Somebody has to be on standby to leave with him, or to watch him because he knows no danger.

Nolan misses out on certain activities because of Mylan, but we try to normalize things and spend time with him separately.

Nolan is an amazing help with Mylan.  He watches over him.

At first, I felt that it was not fair.  I later realized, after sitting back and observing, that he does it on his own free will out of love and pride.

He helps dress him.  He tells him to sit back down and finish his dinner while my mouth is full.

He will take his iPad and sit in the washroom while Mylan’s playing in the tub, so I can clean up the mess that required Mylan to be in the tub mid-day in the first place!

When Nolan goes to play in the trampoline or pool, he always asks Mylan to join him.  He gets frustrated sometimes when Mylan’s noises overpower everything else, but aside from that, there is no animosity between them.

It was Nolan’s generosity that made the surprise news of baby number three easy to take.

We know what the worst scenario can be.  We are ready.

We had some people question the choice of having this baby, and I just wanted to scream at them.  They don’t come and offer respite, they do not take Mylan out to do things.

Everyone is nice to Mylan but nobody “wants” him.

So I was angry at these people, because what difference does it make if our daughter ends up having Autism?  It won’t change anything in their lives.

It’s my life that will have to alter again.  And of course, that made me so sad to realize that Mylan has an adoration of fans, but nobody is requesting to spend time with him.

My side of the family never used to baby-sit for us.

Countless times I would be in trouble at work due to inadequate child care because nobody would step up and help me, and I took the lumps as they came and cried about it at night to my pillow.

We resorted to using a child-care agency that specialized with Autism.  We’ve had handfuls of strangers come and go into our home.  This is our reality.

Having another baby has made me realize I’m a warrior.

All my children will be loved equally, regardless if there’s more Autism or not.

It essentially comes down to those within our walls; we are the ones on this journey.

We can handle it, we always have, and we always will.

Written by, Trisha Holroyd

I’m a full-time mom, with a full-time career, and two boys on the spectrum.  Nolan is 11, and Mylan will be 10.  Baby girl on the way this fall! I’m a wife, and I have a step-son with two little children.  We have three dogs and two cats!

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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