Milo: One Year Later

On the Plane!A year ago today we boarded a plane in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and returned home with our son, Milo. Our 19-month adoption journey had finally come to an end.

He’s looking pretty wide-eyed and freaked out in the picture, probably because he threw up an entire bottle all over Abby shortly after we took this picture. Yeah, nothing like gearing up for an 18-hour flight with that soaking into everything. All the burp rags we brought for the entire flight were instantly soaked.

Of course if that’s the only complaint you have on a crowded transatlantic flight, consider yourself lucky. We did. Aside from the gag reflex, we were sitting in the bulkhead seats with plenty of leg room and a bassinet for Milo. It doesn’t get much better than that.

A lot changes in a year.

I Got a BallToday Milo is an amazing little goofball. He loves to laugh, be tickled and throw things down the stairs. Seriously, he emptied the entire contents of our old Tupperware drawer down the basement stairs today. We’ve now designated it the Milo drawer and stopped storing the Tupperware we actually use in there.

He wanders the house with a random spoon or fork in his hand. The cloth diapers we use as burp rags are his teddy bear—he won’t sleep without one. The other night he was crying and I came down to comfort him.  I picked up the burp rag he’d thrown out of his crib and gave it back to him, but before I could reach over to pick him up he’d rolled over with the rag and fallen back asleep. I stood there in shock, expecting him to start crying again, but he was out.

When I set him loose in my office he likes to pull copies of Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow off the shelf. When I yell at him for that, he goes to the other end of the office and starts in on the John Updike shelf. He likes music and spins in a circle when he hears it. Yesterday we danced to Rancid’s “Time Bomb.”

His words are slowly coming out, though he speaks in the typical mush-mouth of a toddler boy. There’s none of the exactness and clarity that Lexi had. We’ve resorted to sign language in the past month or so to help him communicate and avoid the frustrated screams. It helps everyone’s sanity. He plays with the dogs in a way I never remember Lexi doing. Sometimes it’s bad, like when he chases them down or grabs limbs. But it’s also hilarious when he spots any dog and starts shouting, “May-zee! May-zee! May-zee!” A few weeks back he’d given up on names entirely and decided to call everyone “May-zee.”

We had a day in the sunny sixties last week and I took Milo and Lexi outside. We hadn’t been outside to play in a while and Milo wasn’t so sure about the grass. His ball sat within reach of the sidewalk but firmly in the grass and Milo refused to step off the sidewalk to get it. At one point I sat him in the grass to roll a ball back and forth and he refused to move. He’d throw the ball if he could reach it, but if he had to crawl, walk or otherwise move in the grass, it wasn’t going to happen.

Much of my day involves telling Lexi to stop taking toys away from Milo and then telling Milo to stop beating on Lexi with toys. Lexi and Milo share a room together and when we put them to bed there’s at least an hour of happy screams and giggles back and forth as the two play. One of my favorite sibling moments comes during church when Lexi and Milo join the service just before communion. We break out the snacks because normally they’d be eating lunch at that time and it’s touching to watch Lexi dig out a bunny cracker and hand it to Milo before eating one herself.

It’s kind of wild how your family can change in a year. And of course from here the question becomes what’s next? Lexi was a little past 18 months old when we made the official decision to pursue adoption. Milo will be 18 months old next month. It’s hard to imagine what another year will bring.

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