It's Wine O'Clock on a Friday night and I am sitting here proud as punch of my youngest child. I say "youngest" because those ten minutes count for something in the sibling pecking order, and can frequently be used against you by an over-controlling elder brother with zero empathy. (See "Sibling Rivalry" )
Being the only girl in a family with three boys can be tough. Initially held in awe and wonder by two adoring older brothers when she was a baby, the novelty wore off once her desire to take on the role as "Mummy's Deputy" kicked in. With one incredibly disorganised brother and two who try hard but often need a little help the temptation was too much to resist. K used to even dress her twin brother on occasion, and has been known to wash his hair and clean his teeth even recently. She is naturally maternal and caring and has a large family of dolls on whom she lavishes her affection, and I still receive daily drawings of cute puppies to try and break down my refusal to allow her one. But this care and concern for her brothers incited huge resentment from H. Being autistic he struggled to relate to twins, needing to "divide and conquer" to have any chance of social success with either. And what is easier than to ally yourself with the sibling you have more in common with? So for years K has endured daily ridicule and a verbal onslaught from H which we have tried to limit and control.
Added to this she has had to cope with her twin excelling in pretty much everything he tries, particularly in the classroom. But the situation is changing, and I couldn't be more pleased. Our little Rose (and that is her middle name too) is showing herself to be quite the artist, more precise and particular than her twin brother who loves making and is extremely good at construction, but she has a real eye for colour, detail and the ability to visualise from 2D to 3D with ease. She also dances beautifully and can sing in tune - which her brothers find more difficult. But none of this impresses H who is far more concerned with Minecraft, Java and the last episode of Tracy Beaker, and has continued to put her down relentlessly.
But today she earned his respect. H has always loved swimming and is pretty good in the water, and although he is perhaps overly optimistic he has aspirations to be the next Michael Phelps. So on learning that in today's Year 1 swimming gala K helped her class win (over the parallel class favourites) as one of the fastest swimmers H stopped in his tracks.
"Really? But you're so little!" he exclaimed.
and then the best bit......
"That's amazing. Wow - you must be really good. Like me! Respect. Much respect."
Indeed. Much respect, and much happiness on hearing her older brother consider and value her achievement. Happy day.