Elmer is 5, and Milo is 2. They are a whirlwind of energy, laughter, tantrums, ideas, chatter, questions and emotion. They are either cuddling up to me when I’m trying to get something done, or running into the distance when I ask for a cuddle. Sometimes the most exquisite moment will occur that will take my breath away, and then five minutes later everyone is in tears. It’s exhausting.
As with most things in life though, it’s the fleeting details that touch me the most. The way Milo will ask for a drink in the morning, still foggy with sleep, his little warm hands clutching mine around the edge of the plastic cup. His crazy bed hair nestling into my chest as he rubs his eyes and turns slowly around to smile at me.
I cut Elmer’s hair last week so of course all of a sudden he looks so much older. But he still has his baby teeth and when he’s asleep he has that composed look he always had as a baby. Elmer would happily cuddle in bed all morning if it wasn’t for his brother… and life, getting in the way. His big toothy grin is the same as always, and when he gets tired and frustrated and starts misbehaving there is always that part of him that is so sensitive he cries not just for himself but for me too.
“I have NO ENERGY today” he will declare, and throw himself on the sofa dramatically. Then two minutes later he wants a party in the kitchen with the music turned up and crazy dancing interspersed with racing to his bedroom and back. Elmer loves to dance. Of course Milo has to be the same as Elmer so after witnessing this he will carefully put his toy train back on the track and keep up as best he can. After a while he will say “Cuddle carry you Mummy?”, which is his odd way of asking to be picked up.
“Do you want a treat Milo?” Milo is not sure how to answer. He looks to Elmer and waits. “YES! I want a treat Mummy!” says Elmer, “Yes! Treat!” confirms Milo, delighted that his first instinct was in fact the right answer. His life is one of careful imitation.
Outside later on Elmer picks a yellow buttercup and gives it to Milo before racing off. Milo considers it for a long time, turning it gently over in his hands. Then he picks the petals off and hurls the remains to the ground. “Come on Milo, it’s bath time, let’s go inside.” I tell him. “I have an idea!” says Elmer, “You go that way Mummy and I’ll go this way and I’ll be faster!!” Milo pauses as he sees us choose the different routes back to the house. “Come on!” I encourage. “NO!” says Milo, very emphatically, “Elmer”. And he makes his way slowly after his brother, concentrating on getting his yellow boots through the long grass.