My two-year old knows something’s wrong with May

Posted on Nov 25, 2013 | 5 comments

A few mornings ago, my husband was taking a shower and so didn’t hear May have a seizure. She cries in a thin and tremulous voice, and it is filled with terror. She still has at least one seizure like this a day, which is much better than it used to be.

Ieuan and May together on Halloween

Ieuan and May together on Halloween

My husband was letting me sleep in, so I didn’t hear it either. Very softly, there was a knock at my door. “Mama?” a little voice said. “May-May’s crying.” I rushed out and held her in time to comfort her.

Later that morning, Ieuan made himself shake. Just like May, his arms went rigid and his fingers wide. He made a crying, tremulous sound. He stopped, then started again. “You don’t need to do that, honey,” I said gathering him to me. “You are fine. May gets upset like that, but you don’t have to.”

Ieuan knows something is wrong with May. He wants to comfort her. He brings her toys, her bottle and other things he knows she likes – but May can’t hold them or use them without assistance. The other day I found him in the living room feeding her a bottle as she sat in her chair.

I find this both sweet and unsettling. He is old enough to know something is up, but not old enough to make sense of it. That will come though. We will walk a fine line throughout his childhood of allowing him to care about her and not asking him to take care of her. I used to think I wouldn’t have him help at all, to preserve his childhood. But he loves May, and I don’t think he can help but want to take part.


  1. He will learn his way through the maze of May. He is a caring little boy already.

  2. Ieuan is a loving caring child. That makes him all the more special!We all love him so! May is lucky to have him as her brother. We miss you and love you. Love you, Ellen

  3. It makes total sense he would want to help her. Just like if May was the baby sister (special needs or no) and he would want to help feed her or change her or make her happy when she cried. You’re right, there is a fine line of caring for her and taking care of her. But that’s what families do, they take care of each other.

  4. It took a while for Hannah, who is five and a half years older, to understand her brother Liam was different as well. (He’s autistic PDD-NOS) She protects him, teases him, hugs him close and get annoyed by her little brother now that she’s a teenager, just like any other sibling would. She knows he’s autistic and she expects the same of him as we do, she want him to thrive like we do. Ieuan is a smart kid who sees his big sister needing more help than other kids his age and I’m sure he wonders why. He’ll understand soon enough that May needs help because her body works differently but that she’s just like him in many other ways. Siblings get it and we, as parents, work hard to make sure that all our kids feel our love and attention. It’s hard! And worth it.

    • Thanks for sharing your children’s story! I love hearing about siblings like May and Ieuan and how they get along. It’s all about the love!

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