From day one the triplets have bonded…Theo with Gretchen almost immediately. They just love each other. Olena, well, she always seemed to tolerate the other two. Where as Gretchen would move mountains for her brother, Olena would be content just waving to him or greeting him with a simple “hey, Theo…” (reminds me of Arrested Development’s Buster).
But then they go ahead and surprise you!
Olena: “Mom, why doesn’t Theo talk?”
Me: “Well, someday he will honey. I hope he does. But it’s OK if he doesn’t.”
“Yeah, mom, he does take you by the hand and show you what he wants.” (Smart girl.)
“Yes he does.”
“Why doesn’t he talk though.”
(How do you explain this to a little kid? Do I go in-depth? How much information do I give? OK. I am over thinking this….)
“Well, honey, Theo is built a little different. He can hear you and you can certainly talk to him. He laughs when something is funny just like you and cries when he’s no happy. It’s just taking him longer to do the things you already do. And that’s part of the reason he goes to a different school.”
(Insert long pause here… waiting to see if I have to answer more questions…. and…AAAND???)
“Oh. OK!” and she runs away.
Olena “Mom, sometimes the kids laugh at Theo.”
“What?” (I was caught off guard. While I can certainly picture Gretchen pummeling anyone who would do that…but what about Olena? And I don’t think that happens too often, but maybe it does…)
“They laugh at him. But he’s not funny mom. He’s just Theo.”
“Well, honey, they just don’t understand. And sometimes Theo does funny things. But it’s ok. It’s not bothering Theo.”
“But they laugh. And he’s not funny.”
“I know honey. Just tell them he is your brother and they wouldn’t want someone to laugh at them.”
I got a pause, and a look that said “I know…” But it was dropped. I think I explained that enough at this point. I mean, what else do you say?
That’s my Brother
While I wasn’t ready for that conversation tonight I know it will happen again, and again, and again. Like I said… some people just don’t understand. But I think more people have an understanding of what Theo and kids like him do. At least I hope that’s the truth…
But I can’t focus on other people, or their kids, at least not right now.
And it doesn’t matter because day after day I see my girls sit with him, help him pick up toys or find a favorite when he’s anxious, hold his hand, gather in his bedroom to hear a night-time story. They talk constantly about him at school. Just on Friday when we celebrated their 5th birthday at school, they reminded everyone that it was Theo’s day too.
They love their brother, and he loves them too — quirks and all — and nothing can ever break that bond.