Everyday starts the same way, we have a routine that we follow. My sister and twin brother have it down. Every morning is a new day for me. I don’t remember what we did yesterday. I don’t know why my brother knows what to do and I don’t. I’m always so confused. Mommy gets so frustrated with me, she doesn’t know how to help. I try to get dressed on my own. I watch my brother do it, it looks so easy. Every time I try, I do it wrong. I sit on the floor and cry most mornings. My brother and sister yell at me to hurry up, they are tired of having to always wait for me. They wait for me a lot. Mommy doesn’t have time to help me dress so she asks my brother to do it. I sit down on the floor and cry because it’s humiliating to have him dress me. I want to try and do it myself but I can’t. It makes me frustrated when I can’t do things for myself the way my brother does.
When we finally get downstairs for breakfast, the other kids get to pick what they want. I try to tell Mommy which one I want but she looks at me funny. I know she doesn’t understand me. I try to point but in the end, I just settle for whatever my brother is having, whether I want it or not. I’ve learned to clean up after myself and put my dish in the sink when I’m done. Sometimes I am clumsy and I make a mess, I don’t mean to but it’s hard for me to climb up to the sink and hold things at the same time. I’m not very good at figuring out how to do things. My brother usually has to show me when I’m doing it wrong or he will take it and do it for me. I want to do it for myself and be a big boy like him. I want to make Mommy proud.
After breakfast we go out and get some fresh air. I like going out to the store and running errands with Mommy. I don’t like going to the park. Today, we are going to the park to play. My brother and sister are very excited, they are rushing me to get my jacket and shoes on. They are already dressed and waiting by the door. Mommy doesn’t want to help me, she says I have to learn to do it for myself. I’ve tried three times already to put my jacket on before my brother comes to dress me, he’s tired of waiting. Mommy makes a sad face as she watches us. I know I’m not making her proud of me, I hang my head down as I walk to the car.
At the playground, my brother and sister run off and leave me behind. They make new friends so easily. I don’t play with the other kids. I can’t talk to them, they don’t understand me when I try to say, Hi. I go and find a stick and walk around alone. Mommy comes to play with me for a little bit before she has to chase after my brother and sister. I won’t look at her, she always looks so sad when she watches me. I stop every few minutes to smile and wave hello, she always smiles back but I know that she is sad. I hate the playground.
It’s not long before we are home and I can finally have lunch and take a nap. By now I am exhausted but my brother is still running around. I don’t know how he does it. I grab my blanket and go to my room to sleep. When I wake up, it will be time for dinner and I will get to watch TV. I love watching TV, I don’t have to talk and I do it right. All I have to do is sit and watch the pretty pictures. Mommy bought me a video to teach me lots of new words. My brother learned to say them all and I did not. We do flash cards and he yells out the names of the pictures before I even have a chance to focus on what I’m looking at. My brother is so smart, he makes Mommy proud. I wish I made Mommy proud.
Nighttime is coming, after we have our baths and Mommy helps me with my pajamas, we read a book. I love snuggling up with Mommy and reading a story. It’s hard for me to pay attention to the story. I try to repeat what Mommy is saying and my brother and sister yell at me. They want to hear the story and they can’t because of me. My sister told me she hates me and Mommy said that wasn’t nice. I hope she doesn’t hate me forever. I try to do what I am told and I try to be a good brother. I am always very nice but sometimes they are not nice to me. They get frustrated with me too, they are tired of always having to help me. It’s time to sleep and I am tired. Mommy gives kisses and hugs, she tells me she loves me. I try to say it back but she doesn’t understand. Mommy, can you help me say I love you?
* I wrote this post for my son Quinn, who is currently without any diagnosis. I spent many years in denial that there was a problem even when the disparity between him and his twin became more apparent. He is currently under evaluation to find out why and hopefully a fix or a strategy to help him will result. This is what his days were like before I sat back and looked at the world through his eyes. Now, I help him with patience and a kind heart because I know that he’s not lazy, he just doesn’t understand what he’s been told to do. I teach his siblings kindness and helpfulness. Most importantly, I tell him everyday how proud he makes me and that I’m going to keep helping him until he can say, I love you.