Every time we get in the car, Baby J asks (excitedly!) if we are going to the hospital. This happened yesterday when he and I were on our way to shop for Husband's birthday. Baby J was disappointed when I told him we were going to the mall. When we got there, though, he got excited again and told me we were at the hospital (pronounced as hops-ti-tal in his world.) he thinks all large, square-ish structures are hospitals or doctors' offices.
This is just one example of the ways that Baby J, a "typically" developing child, is affected by having a sibling with special needs.
We spend so much time in therapy and at Dr. appointments at Children's for Bean that it has become Baby J's world. He's 3-years old but can name his brother's doctors and tell you who his favorites are. He gets excited to see Bean's therapists and cries when they leave.
Baby J is still so young. I worry that a (hopefully brief) time will come that he will resent his brother for all the attention he receives.
Husband and I try hard to do things with Baby J to broaden his world. He did a preschool preparedness class last year. We go to the playground frequently. We're going to the beach next month. We try to get him around peers as much as possible. We make it a point to take him out for one-on-one time and plan special activities at home for him. Still, there's a twinge of guilt when I realize how much his life is affected by his brother's needs. And then I feel guilty for feeling guilty...
I don't know what the answer is, if there even is an answer. I guess it, like everything else, is about finding balance. For now, I am just grateful that he is finding fun in all of the activities that we do with Bean and that he actually gets excited about going to the hospital - since we spend so much time there.
At least after yesterday, I'm pretty sure that he knows what the mall is now and he knows he likes it. I'm in trouble!