Somehow, he’s seemed two for a long time. He’s always been a bit of an old soul. A funny, sweet, darling old soul.
At two, Milo is obsessed with anything with wheels or a motor. He lives for playing outside, and loves exploring. He’s also content to sit in your lap and read a book (provided that book is about one of his favorite topics). He’s smart and precocious.
Milo has been eye opening for me. Because my first baby was significantly speech delayed and developmentally delayed, Milo feels like a child prodigy genius in so many ways. He talks! He sings! He uses phrases! He knew all his animal sounds a year ago! He gives eye contact and turns when you call his name. He can go up and down the stairs like a pro and can jump. He can also play with the same toy for more than 2 minutes. He has favorite books and can tell me about them. He knows my name. He can tell me when he’s hungry or thirsty or hurt. He can communicate what he’s feeling a lot of the time.
All of these things feel like miracles for both kids, but as this is my first time with a neurotypical two year old, it’s been extraordinary to watch how easily some things just come.
I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but Milo is 100% of whatever emotion he’s feeling at the moment. Sometimes that’s rage against The Thing That Isn’t Going His Way, or frustration that “mom never lets me lick the outlets.” But sometimes it’s all love and snuggles (*swoon*). Or glee at playing with trains. Or concentration as he explores something outside. He speaks at FULL VOLUME. All the time. It’s endearing. Also sometimes a bit much. For everyone.
That 100% enthusiasm also applies toward sharing joy. Milo loves to share anything happy or awesome. “Look Suffie–issa GAHBAGE TWAAAAACK!” or “Mama! We eatin’ CHIPS!” or even saying “happy birthday!” to everyone on HIS birthday. He loves to invite you to “sit-a me onna couch” or “let’s play trains!” He might be a bit timid around strangers, but he warms up nicely.
He’s got the sweetest little heart. He’s willing (with a little prompting) to share toys. He cries when he accidentally knocks over another child’s block tower. He also looks at me with heartbroken eyes when Sophie is crying and says “Suffie sad.” As a sibling of a child with disabilities, Milo is aware of other children in ways that seem more grown up than his tiny age. He greets other people with “hi, friend!” He knows when Sophie’s getting close to a meltdown and finds ways to help or finds a way to stay busy so that I can help. He’s a gem through hours of therapy appointments. (Truthfully, he doesn’t know that they’re not for him, too. He LOVES our therapists, asks about them, and excitedly shows them toys he likes or tells them things.)
He also tries to help Sophie during therapy, which is heartbreaking and adorable at the same time. If a therapist gives a prompt, and Sophie doesn’t respond, he tries to show her how or tells her the answer. He knows that she isn’t as affectionate as most people, so he gives her space and then just basks in the moment when she gives him a hug or a rare kiss.
When I was pregnant with him, and we were in the thick of getting Sophie diagnosed, a lot of the doctors gently told me that siblings of children with autism have a 20% chance of also having autism. I was so overwhelmed at the time, swimming in information, researching diet changes, spending hours on the phone with therapy agencies, doctors, and insurance companies. I didn’t know how I was going to get through it all for Sophie, and I prayed that this tiny little life would be the kind of brother we needed.
Milo has risen to the challenge again and again. He loves Sophie with such a devoted, unconditional, singular kind of love. I can’t even really put it into words. But sometimes at night when the specks of doubt are floating around me, worrying what junior high or high school could be like for Sophie, I picture Milo. And the doubt vanishes, and I know he’ll be there for her. He’ll be the boy who defends her. He’ll be kind and friendly to children with a wide range of needs and abilities. I can picture him taking her to her prom if she doesn’t get asked and treating her like a queen. I can see him making sure she has somewhere to sit at lunch, and cheering for her at the finish line of every emotional, mental, or physical race she runs. And I know it will somehow, some way, be okay.
He is goodness to the core. And he’s going to do great things in this world. We’re lucky to have him.