Hello. I’m Squawkers McCaw, and I am a Sibling of Neurotypicality. While my brother Durwood is the one officially labeled with the disorder, I am here to tell you that the entire family is affected. The impact is especially evident this time of year. Like many NTs, Durwood shows signs of regression and acting out around the holidays. These are technical terms, and I’ll leave it to you to look them up. Let me explain what I’m squawking about…
To most normal birds like me, every day is about the same. Sure, I get a little excited when I think about getting the trench coat I asked Santa to bring me, but that just means that I repeat the words “trench coat” quietly to myself while rocking back and forth. Durwood, on the other hand, has issued a long list of demands, and while he believes in the superstition that being extra “good” will increase his chances of receiving piles of toys, electronic gadgets and gift cards, his ability to be good decreases with each day as the 25th of December draws nearer.
Last night, Durwood went to a Christmas party while I stayed home and read a book about British soldiers in World War I, who were the first to wear trench coats. I was so relieved that I didn’t have to go the party, but I felt bad for my brother. When he came home, he had new toys with him (they all make noise!) and a new list of things he says he will need because, “everyone has them.” It seems that the $100 LookSilly slate blue sneakers he had to have just last month are now “bogus” and will need to be replaced by the new LookSillier version in cobalt. He also reported that last year’s eight wheeled skateboard is now “so not cool” and that he will require the Older But Newer brand Beaky Lasek model. He acted like he was on something (probably sugar), nearly foaming at the mouth as he recalled every detail of the party, including haberdashery habits, courtship behaviors, and the forms of music related movement rituals performed.
It is because of Durwood that bells are hanging everywhere. Every time someone opens the door, I startle; it can take quite awhile to get back to work on my research. Humphrey Bogart wore a trench coat in Casablanca. Also, there is a tree inside our house! It smells…well, like something that should be outdoors. When I step on a pine needle in the middle of my own living room, it feels like I’m being stabbed with a knife. These things don’t bother Durwood; he has sensory deficiencies. To make room for the tree, the humans here moved the sofa 8 inches closer to the door and rotated it 22.5 degrees. It is hard to be comfortable in a place where such meaningless novelties are tolerated.
Worst of all, a neighbor brought by something called a fruitcake last week. I was told I had to try a piece to “be polite” but I don’t think the neighbor was impressed with my manners when I gagged and then regurgitated on her new coat. It was not a trench coat, but I still had to go to my cage for the rest of the night. Durwood got away with wadding his piece up in a ball and throwing it at the wall. It was so playful, so “just like a neurotypical kid” they said. Sometimes I do resent the special accommodations he gets. Just sayin’.
As you can see, these behaviors take a toll not only on parents who must bear the burden of additional expenses, but on normal siblings like me who need peace and quiet to study the advantages of single versus double breasted trench coats. As far as other gifts, please don’t bother. I like the things I’ve always had. They comfort me. This is the end of the holiday letter.