We have been going through a bit of a rough patch with Veda and Jude. Veda is the epitome of a mean big sister and Jude is the most sensitive little guy on the planet. He is either giggling to the point of hiccups or having a total cry fest. So, the two of them together is usually a recipe for disaster!
I am extremely close with my siblings and it was always my dream that my kids would be best friends too. When Veda first met Jude in the hospital she kissed his little head and said “Hi brother. I promise”. At that point, it was one of the most complex sentences she had ever said and I had never heard her say the word promise before! I got so teary and all of my mom dreams came true at that moment.
Then we brought him home. He was a fussy baby, and with Veda’s sensitivity to unexpected noises it was pure hell. It was rare that we could even get them in the same room, let alone for her to have fun bonding time with mommy and the new baby. Most times, Jude would cry which would upset Veda, which would make Jude cry louder which would make Veda scream… you get the picture. We got to the point where we just had to keep them separate, which is really what Veda wanted anyway.
I spent the first year of Jude’s life running stairs. Running up the stairs to check on Veda and making sure she wasn’t getting into trouble then down the stairs to check on/feed Jude. Over and over again. Best post-baby workout of my life!! Though I totally don’t recommend it!
I always joke that Veda has been plotting Jude’s demise from day one, but as my dad always says- there is usually a true statement behind sarcasm! Let’s just say that if there were a referee in The Hunger Games that would be me and Ryan. There have been many times that I have thought about that little promise that she made to Jude when she first met him. More often than not, I feel like it was a promise to not let him make it past his first birthday. HA!
The past six months have been slightly better in that Veda has been able to tolerate Jude slightly more. He absolutely idolizes her. We have been very successful recently with morning crib parties. I will get her out of bed and take her in Jude’s room where she will usually request to get in the crib with him and they will jump and jump together. For about five minutes until she smashes his head into the bars like a scene out of WWE.
This week I have been at my wit’s end. It is exhausting trying to keep everyone safe and happy. Also, reasoning with any typical 4-year-old is a joke.. but it is especially difficult to reason with Veda. She is extremely strong-willed (like me) and…well… has autism. It’s like a recipe for TNT brownies. Sweet but also deadly.
I was working on the computer tonight when I found an unnamed file. When I opened it, I found some family photos that we had taken in December 2015, and the photo at the top of this post was the first one that popped up. It felt like an answer to prayers. When this photo was taken, this was the closest that Veda had ever been to Jude since his birth (by her choice). I think about how far we have come in a year. In fact, I even watched Veda feed Jude a tiny piece of her candy bar tonight.
Sometimes, as parents, we get caught up in the present. When you are in the mundane throes of motherly duty it feels like this is how your life will be forever. It feels like it will never change, never get better. But then I see this picture and it feels like it was taken yesterday!
Don’t get me wrong, we have SO many good days. SO many good memories and days that I wish would never end. However, it is easy to get stuck in a rut. This picture is my little answer. Even though a year ago Veda would barely get within two feet of Jude, today we are having 5 minute crib parties. Maybe in a year’s time they will be playing more together, or wanting to snuggle.. haha who am I kidding? But maybe, just maybe, Veda will let Jude be her brother. One day they might just be the best of friends. And that my friends, is something to look forward to!
If you are feeling like you are stuck in a rut- trust in the journey. We all have to taste the bitter to enjoy the sweet. Things will get better, and when they do you will appreciate it more than anyone!