Sunday, July 21, 2013

"A" is for "Annie," who is Almost Always Awesome!!!

I'm sure you've figured out by now, Laurie has an amazing big sister...Annie!  I think that Annie is Laurie's biggest champion.  She is just always helping out with Laurie, and usually doesn't complain a whole lot about that.  Annie gets Laurie snacks and drinks, helps to change her, tries to convince her to try new foods, plays the Wii with her, builds towers and counts blocks with her, and teaches her very important life skills, such as the fine art of cup stacking.  She's just awesome!


I knew she was going to be a fabulous big sister for Laurie when, shortly after the diagnosis, I walked into our living room to see her sitting on the floor with Laurie (Laurie was 2, Annie was 5).  She sprang up from her seat with arms wide open, and so very happily and innocently yelled, "Laurie has autism and I......DON'T!"  To her, that was a celebration of their differences.

Annie really tries to get Laurie to interact with her.  Most of the time she is successful, though it's not in the typical way.  They don't play typical games together, because Laurie doesn't understand turn-taking. They can't really play the Wii together, because Laurie doesn't understand how to play those games (though she can mimic the movements on Just Dance Kids for Wii).  Annie doesn't even read stories to Laurie, because Laurie won't sit still for very long so you can read to her.  But Annie really tries...she stacks blocks and works on counting & ABCs with Laurie.  She pushes Laurie when she's on the swing and works on getting her to request to be pushed (Ready....Set...GO!!!).  And she tries to get Laurie to look at the camera (read: bodily forces her to look toward the camera) when I want to get a photo of them together (inevitably it looks like Laurie is a hostage victim, but hey, Annie works hard for those photos!).


Annie is a great artist, and a compassionate soul.  When she's bored, she draws things like this:


In school, she journals about her time at the farm:


And she helps out around the barn...actually volunteers to muck the stalls!


Annie is Laurie's biggest cheerleader...she goes to the pool when Laurie has lessons, and takes photos of her (she's a pretty good photographer!).


When she's not cheering on Laurie, we can be found cheering on Annie!  Last year at the 5K & Walk for Alive! with Autism, she ran in her first 5K.


Throughout the school year, she cheers and plays basketball & softball.

   

Annie participates in the school's annual musical and is an active Brownie (soon to be Junior!) Girl Scout.


Laurie loves to watch Annie participate in her various activities, whether Laurie is present at the "live" versions of them, or is just watching them later on video.  She gets so excited to see her big sister in action.

Sounds all sweetness and light, doesn't it?  Well, Annie does get frustrated with Laurie at times, and I'm sure that Laurie gets frustrated with Annie as well.  However, they don't fight.  They don't bicker (kind of impossible when one kid can't really talk). They just have seem to have some sort of understanding that I don't really get.  Another perk of the autism, I suppose.

Annie sounds like a kid who is just too good to be true.  Well, she's just like any kid who whines and gets upset when she doesn't get her own way.  She has her own struggles, just like any kid.  There are days when she makes me want to pull my hair out.  She is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but she is definitely the perfect big sister for Laurie.

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