Birthdays in Our House

These beautiful babies are about to turn ten and eight.  This brings me to a time of serious reflection.  I’ve been watching the endless slideshow of photos on our computer, sobbing, remembering, loving, feeling grateful, all those emotions and more at once.
It makes me remember our constitutional towards an autism diagnosis for BigBrudder.  You may or may not know BigBrudder was born with a cleft lip and palate. We thought this would be our primary area of concern for him.  For a long time it was.  It still certainly occupies quite a bit of our parental thoughts and concerns, but little did we know that autism would become our main focus.
BigBrudder from very early on only liked to be held in a certain way.  I would describe it as snug. He loved being swaddled and held firmly. He was always alert. Looking around and sometimes through you it seemed. He progressed normally and hit his milestones on time, mostly.  Except language. Here he was hyper verbal. He didn’t really babble much, perhaps because of the speech therapy he received for his cleft lip and palate. Or, it could be that we didn’t baby talk. He spoke in complete sentences and loved showing what he “knew,” which was a lot.
Beginning at his two year well check, I asked every year about autism. He was a toe walker, he had a compulsion about lining up his toys a certain way, he would get lost in his own little world for hours at a time and not hear us, his food aversions were severe, and the meltdowns…they could last for days.  I was told every year “He’s too social.” They didn’t see him at home. Yes, he interacted with us, but it wasn’t reciprocal.  Until we had the WeeOne.
The other day, the WeeOne was in the midst of a rough patch (thanks full, super, harvest moon). We talked through it, and then I told him this: “You know how BigBrudder sometimes (okay a lot of times) seems lost in his own thoughts.  Well, when he was almost two and you weren’t quite born yet, it was much more severe.  We could call his name, we could talk to him and it was as if he couldn’t hear us.  All of that changed when you came in to the world.  Suddenly, BigBrudder was connected to someone in a way we hadn’t seen yet. He loved you more than he loved anyone before.  I tell you this not to give you a burden but a gift.  That is how much you are loved.”  The WeeOne had tears rolling down his cherubic cheeks.  I said, “Baby, what’s wrong?”  The WeeOne Replied, “They are tears of joy.  I want to tell this story to BigBrudder.”  To him I said, “Baby, this story is for you to hold in your heart. Hold it close now and always. Remember it when BigBrudder doesn’t seem to be listening.  You are his best friend, forever.”
Happy Almost Birthday, my loves.

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