Bronwyn, my 5 year-old, has discovered YouTube. For the most part, this is a good thing. She watches kids’ music videos, children’s stories, and monster makeup tutorials made by other kids. She enjoys these “tatorials” so much that I can hear her “filming” her own videos, speaking directly to her audience as she discusses how to do such things as washing one’s own hair, counting to 100 by 5’s, and so forth. It’s cute, but I fear she is going to ask me for her own channel soon. No, she won’t be getting one.
Recently, she asked if she could watch some little girl “pranking” her family members. The pranks were innocent enough, so I allowed it. Big mistake. Now she is stalking our home, lying in wait for some way to prank us all. (You should have seen her delight when her daddy discovered the salt in his morning cup of coffee.) Really, it’s been kind of cute watching her tap into her imagination, although we did have to have a discussion about funny vs. mean pranks.
You probably have guessed where this is going. Yes, my little stinker wants Callum to join in the fun. So I explained to her that her little brother probably wasn’t going to appreciate being pranked and that we should all refrain from doing so. Being a little Choleric, she of course ignored my advice and set about pranking Callum. It didn’t go well. He thought it was funny when she jumped out at him from behind a door, but that’s where the hilarity ended. Hiding his candy, letting the water out of his bathtub, and touching ice to the back of his neck were all spectacular disappointments as well. (Which earned her repeated trips to time out in her room.) So I’m going to go out on a limb here and state emphatically that playing practical jokes on autistic preschoolers is ill-advised. Somebody alert the media.
I must say that I was impressed with Callum’s handling of it all. He may not have much language, but he has communication. And, boy, did he communicate. He yelled, growled his displeasure, and – understandably for any long-suffering little brother – gave her a little shove. A clear case of self-defense, so he escaped prosecution.
As for my daughter’s love of practical jokes, I blame my husband. She inherited it from him – along with his nose, a suspected case of ADHD, and a decidedly grumpy morning demeanor. (It has been suggested to me by her teachers that I have her tested for gifted. Let’s just attribute her staggering intellect to me, shall we?) I’m more like Callum. I don’t like surprises. I have sensory issues. And don’t even think about messing with my food. Nope, I don’t like being on the receiving end of a practical joke at all, though I confess to having orchestrated a few really good ones. (The best one nearly got me killed.)
But you know what I love? The fact that my daughter loves her little brother so much that she constantly tries to find ways to entertain him. Her solutions – at 5 years-old – leave much to be desired. But her little spirit is willing, and – for the most part – so is his.
How I look forward to seeing the trouble these little monsters get into together. J
Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way.
– Pamela Dugdale