What My Daughter's Autism Means to Her Older Sister

August 13, 2014 4:52 PM

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What My Daughter's Autism Means to Her Older Sister

The girls spent most of the day playing together all over the house. Phaedra put on a little show they call "Circus" for Bella while she took her bath. They sifted through the enormous pile of little figures and dolls and found the Special Agent Oso toys, reenacting an episode together before bedtime, each girl cracking up at the other one's silly song or plot twist. When I asked Phaedra to clean up her room before bedtime, she decided she wanted to make Bella's bed for her. She spread the blanket, arranged the pillows just so, and placed a few of Bella's favorite stuffed animals on top of the pillows. She couldn't wait for Bella to see it. When bedtime came, they asked to sleep together in Phaedra's bed. Although I vetoed it (because I prefer that they fall asleep before 2 a.m.), I nearly changed my mind when they walked hand-in-hand to Bella's room for the big reveal.

Bella was tired, and she's going through a bad cycle, as autistic kids tend to do, where things that were previously not that big of a deal are suddenly an enormous, tear-filled battle. Just getting her up the stairs to the bathroom to brush her teeth was a 10-minute ordeal filled with pleading, caj...

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