Back to the beginning
I realized I have been sharing current events in our home, and while relevant and important, they are older child struggles. I haven't forgotten where we came from. Will is now 10, but he use to struggle much more with meltdowns. At just one, he obsessively lined up his toys by size, color, shape, and kind and "counted" them. He couldn't speak the number names, but he pointed to each toy and grunted. He screamed at anyone who nudged a toy even a millimeter out of place too. Rory was three, and very conscientious. She wasn't a problem. He screamed once or twice, and she remained watchful. Leigh and I were careful too. If other kids were coming over, we made sure to help him move his toys to a safe space. Will is a child of wonder. He deeply examines everything he sees and hears. He carefully considers every move. When life changes unexpectedly, Will struggles. The change is something else he must process feelings for. The processing is a struggle. Even from infancy, Will cried when we left him in the nursery. And again when we picked him up. The change was problematic. We realized the transition was the issue. We started count downs to prepare him. We continued using count downs until Will was about eight. They helped him move away from one activity and into another. Then, Mack was born. The child we call "entropy". Will adored Mack, eventually. When we first came home, Will acted jealous of Mack. He was angry I couldn't lift him right away. These feelings subsided as Will saw the new normal formulate. Looking back, I think Will was more upset by the change than by Mack's existence. He has always struggled with transitions. Once Mack was mobile, at 5-months-old, Will's lines of toys were no longer safe. We had to adjust the entire house to Mack proof life. Even at 5-months-old, Mack would crawl his chubby body to whatever anyone else was doing and do his best to destroy it completely. The project and person didn't matter. Little entropy boy was going to break everything. We did our best to Mack proof our home and keep him supervised away from home. Will was still often the victim of Mack. Mack broke his toys, messed up his organization, broke his towers, and generally invaded his space.
Will had many meltdowns every day. He couldn't handle the complete path of destruction. We did everything we could to help them both play freely and happily, but keeping the separate was challenging. Having them play together was a recipe in disaster. We had to teach them the fine art of compromise. Will did really well before Mack was really able to communicate. He chose to build towers and ask Mack to break them. Will learned to adapt gradually. Still some things and toys were sacred. Will harbors concern Mack will break his prized possessions. We give Will an out to keep those items safe. Mack has his own special toys he is permitted to keep private too. When they play together now, we make sure we are within ear shot, so we can quickly help them diffuse and work out any issues. They are still learning. Mack is learning gentleness and listening skills. Will is learning compromise and to let go of control. Mack is ready to fly while Will is pondering life. They're buddies now, most of the time. They look out for each other. They clash, though. And have to work hard to get along.