Remember the Art Linkletter show and later hosted by Bill Cosby, “Kids Say the Darnedest Things.” The host would ask the little children big questions, trying to get their perspective on grown up type things. The children would be asked about current events, marriage, people, pop culture, and more. The children would give their insight. It was always amusing and humorous to hear their thoughts and how they process the world around them.
I have been asked several times lately how Carter and Luke handle Brayden’s circumstances. I am not always sure how much they understand or how much we should explain to them. They love him and treat him like their brother that needs special help. They know all about the feeding tubes, seizures and can recognize them, the vomiting, mommy doing laundry because of the vomiting, the KidKart, they know all the therapists by name and most doctors.
Have are a few glimpses of the way their little minds are trying to understand:
Carter (at the time was 5 years old) and his friend were in the house playing. The little boy asked Carter, “How old is your brother?” Carter said, “He is one.” The little boy replied, “My cousin is one and he can walk.” Carter casually said, “He isn’t walking ‘cause he is missing a bone inside his head.” The little boy exclaimed with excitement, as if they discovered a dinosaur bone, “Really!?” Carter said, “Yep!” And they were off the play.
Luke (our 3 year old) has always been curious about Brayden’s eating habits. Probably to detract attention from his bad eating (he prefers to make the dinner, rather than eat). When Brayden came home after getting his first feeding tube, Luke was all about it. He immediately remembered it was called a Mic-Key button because at the time he liked watching Mickey Mouse. Now that Brayden has the G-J tube, Luke remembers the J-tube because J is for Jenkins. Just last week a friend was passing us in the halls of Luke’s preschool and asked how Brayden was doing. Luke answered before I could, “Brayden has a J-tube now, not a Mickey button.” The person just smiled and nodded not sure what to make of Luke’s assessment. Luke knew more medical terms than this adult.
Carter loves Brayden and seems as thought the two of them have their own conversations. Of course Brayden is so agreeable and likes the same things Carter likes (according to Carter). Carter just calls him “my buddy.” Today in the car, "Buddy this is your favorite song, just like me."
Luke is just starting to process everything going on. Carter understands most of the circumstances. Luke says things in passing, not really to anyone in particular. Last week, he passed Brayden and announced, “Brayden, you not walk yet but Brookie (Brooklyn, the boys’ cousin who is the same age as Brayden) can walk.”
Carter is protective of both his little brothers. When it comes to Brayden, Carter is quick to tell someone to be gentle or watch out for his feeding tube. Carter’s explanation of the feeding is interesting, especially when explained to his friends… “He has a thing that puts the stuff right into his belly. You have to be careful when he is eating.” The children look so perplexed by Carter’s explanation.
Luke’s preschool has been having Safety week, with visits from the local fire department and EMTs. We were pulling away from school and Luke declared, “Ambulances came to school today not the house this time!” We have only had to call 911 two times, both happened this summer.
The first time we call 911, Carter was listening as we discussed the plan to call for an ambulance. As we hung up the phone he came running into the room and was very upset and agitated. “Mommy, you cannot call 911 unless the house is burning. The house is not burning!”
Kids say the darnedest things.