While organizing photos of the boys, I came across a few of Hesperos when we brought him home. As many know, Hesperos was an NICU baby, spending the first 10-14 days of his little life in first an incubator, then on respiratory assistance, then on monitoring for breathing difficulties. During those first few days, he was unable to muster enough strength to nurse so he went from his good-sized 8 lb. 8 oz. birth weight to a much smaller 6 lb. 3 oz. size when he came home. In spite of the 3 lb. 5 oz. weight loss, Hesperos was still the largest baby in the NICU, where we had the experience to see first-hand babies with true problems.
The upside to the NICU experience was the extended hospital stay. While no special treat for Mommy (the food really is as bad as everyone says), it afforded opportunities for Helios to take plenty of high-speed rides in the wheelchair, powered by the Daddy engine.
The day Hesperos came home was a happy one, although Helios was a little bewildered by Mommy's slightly smaller stomach and this new little mewling thing which he'd only been able to see for a few moments after Hesperos' birth (children not being allowed into the NICU). Helios spent a lot of his time running to and around Hesperos' bassinet, where he would climb up to look over the edge at the baby sleeping within.
The bassinet had a built-in recording device and we taught Helios how to say "I love you, Hesperos" and record it. So, when Helios was away at daycare, Mommy could push the playback button on the bassinet and Hesperos could hear his brother's voice say "I love you, Hesperos." However, Helios couldn't say Hesperos' real name, so he called him "Poohaf" for the first several months.
Now, Hesperos is, at only 16 months, only 6 or 7 pounds smaller than older brother Helios, and, except for the occasional ear infection or experience with pneumonia, he's as healthy as can be. Helios is certainly no longer bewildered by his little brother and none of us treat Hesperos like a delicate flower. Certainly, to watch the two of them cavort around and rough-house (just tonight, Hesperos would take a running start and then barrel into Helios, knocking them both over into a pile on the floor where they'd laugh themselves silly), you'd be hard-pressed to imagine Hesperos ever being a tiny baby.