Oh, Internet. You’re so full of assholes.

So it turns out that the only possible reason for Sam not being very verbal and not understanding 100% what it means to have an impending sibling is that he is autistic.


How silly of me not to see it. I only spend all of my time with him, whereas the person who told me this has never seen him or in fact heard of him before.

That’ll teach me to ask for recommendations for books/videos/etc. about having a new baby in the family. If he hasn’t absorbed the knowledge by osmosis and magic then he needs a specialist! I will get right on that.

(If anyone has recommendations for preparing an older sibling that don’t involve criticizing me, I am all ears. Or eyes, as the case may be.)

16 thoughts on “Oh, Internet. You’re so full of assholes.

  1. Mary

    November 21, 2009 at 4:40pm

    It is chock-full of them, isn’t it? Now, if you had mentioned your child was avoiding eye contact, not being very verbal, and a couple other traits of autism- then I could see someone misguidedly trying to give helpful advice. BUT being less verbal than some at his age does not mean autism. There are always people trying to long-distance diagnose on the web. It’s never a good idea!

    I don’t know of any good books or videos to help Sam with the new sibling coming but I wanted to mention that my friend took her little girl to a program that the hospital provided. They got to hold baby dolls, change their diapers, things of that sort. It looked pretty neat. Your hospital may have something like that, too.

  2. Katherine

    November 21, 2009 at 4:46pm

    Well, I think a good way to talk about it is to talk about the real life examples of siblings that he knows. That way he’ll kind of get the relationship.

    The actual baby part… you just have to keep talking about it. Does he feel your tummy when the baby is moving around? That’s the part I remember most with my brother & sister. I hung out with my dad a lot which made the transition easier, I think.

    I personally think the “autism spectrum” thing is kind of bullshit – some people are socially awkward and introverted. Some people are developmentally delayed. Some people are autistic, i.e., they have significant delays in neural development and cognition or alternate development. Sam displays none of these issues. He can be quite reserved in certain situations, which I find to be perfectly normal. I think “autism” is diagnosed in a lot of children who 20 years ago would have been called “late bloomers” or “shy” because parents have become insane. I think a lot of adults who struggle socially seek out Asperger diagnoses so that they don’t feel like failures.

    I’m kind of bitch about this stuff.

  3. B

    November 21, 2009 at 4:49pm

    I did the same search (well not the same because I didn’t come across some asshole claiming my kid is autistic) for books about being an older sibling earlier in the year and came up with Nothing. Everything was geared toward a much older audience or just really really lame.

    I did try and talk to Katie about my sister and brother (who she knows somewhat though we don’t live all that close to them or see them all that much), and her cousins who are siblings to each other. And that she would be like them with the baby that was in my belly.

    I played up the Big Sister role and she digs that.

    I think it helped that Katie loves Caillou and he has a baby sister…so it seemed natural to her that she have one too? But Caillou is an acquired taste (I know a ton of parents hate him but Katie loves him and who am I to judge? I mean, as long as it’s not Barney).

    So I’m not saying “Oooh Caillou!” but maybe you already have videos that you can use that Sam already loves, where you can play up the sibling relationships? Rather than buying/renting/borrowing some thing that tries to explain it to kids? Because all I found was that stuff just sucked.

  4. KS

    November 21, 2009 at 4:54pm

    I have A Child is Born, which is the one with all the photos taken inside the uterus. My kids could look at that book for days! Bonus: photos of egg and sperm, also crowning shots. I also found a few good books at our library, but often had to edit for content. However, there are also a number of books about animals having babies which we read as well. I also just talked about it a lot, to include what the birth would be like and what sounds I might make. Lastly, I went on YouTube and searched on homebirth and unassisted homebirth (I recommend this regardless of your birth choices unless you want to wade through a ton of c-section videos) and we watched them while I explained what was going on.

    As far as post birth prep, I’m not sure there is much to do when going from one kid to two. In one sense, Sam has no frame of reference for having a sibling. Perhaps just pointing out every baby you see and talking about how you’ll be having one of those, etc. I think the most important thing is to discuss/mention it frequently (multiple times per day) in a really matter-of-fact way, so he gets used to the idea.

  5. Delle

    November 22, 2009 at 8:29am

    My sister had a book called “There’s a house in mummy’s tummy”, which was kind of cute (though I objected to the bit that suggested a third child – this mummy’s house will be closed for business after baby 2). Honestly though, my sister didn’t connect being pregnant with having a baby (with Rhiannon or Phoebe), so I don’t see why it’s a big deal if Sam doesn’t fully.

    Ro, on the other hand, still thinks there is a baby in my tummy. I think he’ll be confused when my stomach finally starts getting larger (if I ever manage to get pregnant again).

  6. Lucretia

    November 22, 2009 at 9:33am

    Just out of curiosity, would Sam be at the birth, if it were possible for him?

  7. Annika

    November 22, 2009 at 11:26am

    If everything works out, Sam will be there, but will have the option to not be in the room if he is uncomfortable.

  8. yojo

    November 22, 2009 at 12:27pm

    I think it’s super cool that Sam can be there at the birth (depending on his comfort level of course), not being a parent or parent type, I never really thought about that.

  9. Summer

    November 22, 2009 at 12:47pm

    In addition to some videos on home birth (which we’re planning), we’ve been telling our toddler son his own birth story a lot. We have pictures of his first few minutes and days which I think is helping to prepare him for how the new baby will look and what sort of things he can expect to see at the birth (if he chooses to be there).

    River has really responded to the stories and seems very excited about the new baby (though, of course, he won’t understand the full extent of what it all means until we’re in the thick of it).

  10. Cazzle

    November 22, 2009 at 2:32pm

    Bunch of wankers!

    Obv. I still have no first-hand experience, but a few good (and popular) books are:

    There’s A House Inside My Mummy by Giles Andreae (which I think may be the same one Delle’s referring to)
    The New Baby – one of the Usbourne “First Experiences” books
    Sophie and the New Baby – Catherine and Laurence Anholt (gorgeous illustrations too)
    and, because it wouldn’t be complete without bunnies:
    Miffy and the New Baby by Dick Bruna.

    Also, those people are arseholes! Hurrah!

  11. courtney

    November 22, 2009 at 6:42pm

    What. In. The. Eff. Internet. I mean, I know it’s the internet but WTF INTERNET. The person that said that to you must get lots of exercise jumping to ridiculously stupid conclusions.

  12. Annika

    November 22, 2009 at 9:30pm

    The person who said that has two autistic children of her own, which I think explains absolutely everything.

    On the other hand, I have a few friends with autistic children and none of them are diagnosing my kid.

    So we’re back to the asshole theory.

  13. existentialwaitress

    November 23, 2009 at 1:31pm

    People ARE total assholes. My son was a late-talker as well and I too recieved lots of unsolicited advice about what might be wrong with him (which is absolutely nothing of course). People need to get a life and mind their own damn business.

  14. Stephanie

    November 23, 2009 at 1:48pm

    These are really great suggestions!

    And yeah, sheesh – people *can* be real assholes.

  15. The Daily Randi

    November 24, 2009 at 7:14am

    Annika —

    There are a lot of great books out there. Go to the library and ask the children’s librarian for some recommendations. She will point you in the right direction.

    Also, do a Google search for some simple creative projects. Ask Sam to draw you a picture with crayons of the new family or ask him to draw you a picture of what he thinks the new baby will look like. See if you can find some coloring pages of big brothers and babies on the internet.

    Hope that helps!


  16. Julia

    November 25, 2009 at 6:42am

    Not only is your son autistic, but he should probably be heavily medicated and sent to a special school as soon as possible to help him adjust to the trauma that is a younger sibling.

    Sorry that you had to deal with internet lameness!

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