Ruggles. They are the bomb.
How can I ever make another parent, who has never crawled through the muddy barbwire trenches of raising a disabled child, understand?
16-month-old Ryan is my guiltiest pleasure. (Replacing my former guilty pleasure: eating condensed milk straight from the tin.) Watching his little feet fly so effortlessly across the grass makes my heart soar! His infectious smile. Peekaboo! His puppy dog expression "Oh-oh!" when I catch him doing a big naughty...
He's just such a clever monkey. "Ryan, bring me your yellow ball." And he does. (Well "Duh!" you might say... But five-year-old Travis has yet to respond even once to a simple instruction.)
Ryan has outstripped his big brother in so many developmental areas already. He feeds himself with a spoon. Holds his own plastic mug. Already I abandon him to his own devices so that I can focus on my Lionheart: "Pass Ryan a spoon so he can eat his dinner while I feed Travis."
Sometime I resent how easy it all is for baby Ryan. How naturally everything comes to him. How the tiny cogs and springs of his mind click along perfectly... Do you know that when the Mighty Squish wants to reach a kitchen counter or climb onto a bed, he drags a foot stool with that he can clamber onto so that he can reach? Smarty pants.
It's a parenting minefield, raising a ruggle and a Lionheart side by side. I can't over-praise Ryan without being sure to immediately ruffle his big brother's hair or give him a hug to reassure him of my unconditional affection. And I can't favour Travis over Ryan too often, lest my ruggle starts to believe that his brother's special needs are more important than his own.
Yup, a minefield.
But this morning I was reminded just how much pleasure regular-as-they-come Ryan gives me, and how I should celebrate it. Here he is, pretending to use my hair dryer and making humming sounds...
Aah, the Mighty Squish. The healing balm of sunshine on my tear-soaked cheeks.
I love this kid.