When your sibling is only semi-verbal

The end of our family phone conversation this evening was signalled by Lily.


Mom and Dad are trying a new tactic with her: getting her to communicate to us that she’s frustrated when she is frustrated. You know, without cursing, or screaming wordlessly, or screaming words that make the neighbors suspicious. (Lily has the tendency to scream, “Leave me alone!” or, “Don’t touch me!” when she is, in fact, isolated in her room, in Time Out. Totally alone and totally untouched.)

In general, I applaud this effort of my parents. Although, truth be told, I find it all too appropriate that she curses when she’s expressing anger – she learned that from them. I suppose it’s best that we teach her how to conduct herself in polite society, too. Okay, okay, I know it’s best. Still. I curse an awful lot in my daily life, and it’s both a little funny (as the big sister) and sad (more generally) that Lily isn’t afforded that luxury.

It’s hard enough to be verbally expressive in a world that doesn’t think the way I do. I can’t imagine the rage Lily must feel at not even having the words I do.


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