We have six kids. With very few exceptions, it’s rare that all of the kids get all the same treats. They are use to this, and they’re (usually) happy for each other even if they don’t receive the same things. Preparation for life! Plus they are all fantastic (with the exception of the three year old dictator) about sharing – they are incredibly generous and big hearted kids.
Our online life currently has lots of Ben related posts, which makes it look like he’s constantly the center of attention. There’s been a lot going on with him lately and thus the skewed view of things. In real life Ben’s #3 out of six kids – he’s just one of the gang. Each of the kids has times when they are singled out and get some extra special attention, but I really do think it all balances out. The older kids let us know when they could use some extra one-on-one time from a parent, the little kids make it known clearly on a daily basis when they want attention! And we work hard to make sure that they do get all their needs – and some of their wants – all met and they feel loved in whatever their love language may be.
Oh, and none of the kids are online so they aren’t seeing all these posts about Ben anyway! They just know that Ben has a vision challenge and we’re all working through how to best support him.
Because Ben’s vision news is recent he is getting a lot of attention and support right now. He’s created his wish list of trips and experiences he wants, but these are activities that ALL of the kids can participate in – not just Ben. We didn’t take only Ben to Harry Potter world or the Apple store, he’ll not be the only kid going when we visit the mountains or the beach or science museum. These trips are fantastic opportunities for all of the kids and they’re enjoying them a lot.
We’ve asked the other kids to tell us about THEIR wish list – where they they would like to go, what they want to try. C wants to ice skate, Mo and E want to visit a restaurant kitchen (they love cooking.) We’ll be working on the sibling wish list. Everyone involved in making Ben’s wishes come true has also gone out of their way to make ALL the kids feel special. That fills me with even more gratitude, that they know siblings of kids with special needs may often have to sacrifice a lot.
Also – Ben has a special need, but we have three other kids all receiving various types of therapy and services with their own special needs and challenges. In fact our littlest, Livy, is the only child who has NOT received therapy for some type of concern! Ben’s is an obvious physical challenge and we’ve asked his permission and he’s comfortable with us sharing his story. The other kids’ challenges are less visible and some have asked us to NOT discuss them online at all. We’re respecting their privacy. On any given day one child or another may need some extra attention, and we rotate through which kid is most worrying us day to day.
Because really, we’ve got a whole list of diagnosis that we’ve unfortunately had to face. We don’t want any of the kids to ever feel labeled or limited by these disabilities. I’m happy to talk with people about these in real life and answer questions, we’re just not disclosing them widely.
Ben is our super hero and we’re so proud of how he’s eager to tackle any hurdle and learn all he can. But we’re equally proud of our other kids – some are facing some really, really hard and overwhelming special needs that have caused a lot of tears for them and for us. One in particular these days is struggling hard and we’re constantly seeking inspiration for how to better help that child, too. Because of the circumstances that little one has asked us to not disclose any details at this point in time, though someday hopefully we can share that story, too.
Anyway, rest assured that Ben’s just one of the gang in real life and all of the children are equally adored and/or neglected depending on how crazy the day is going!