Richard Engel's Younger Son, 1, Takes His First Steps as Big Brother Henry Is 'Cheering' Him On
Theodore Forrest is on the move!
Richard Engel's younger son, who turned 1 last month, recently took his first steps — and his proud parents got the whole thing on video.
"One, two, three, ready?" the NBC News chief foreign correspondent, 46, tells Theo before letting go. The little boy then toddles expertly across the floor, into the arms of mom Mary and big brother Henry Thomas, who turns 5 this month.
"Yay!" Mary praises her baby boy, giving him a kiss on the cheek as Engel comes over to celebrate with the trio, clapping and telling Theo, "Very good!"
The father of two tweeted alongside his Monday clip, "And this happened today! Baby steps. Go Theo! Henry and @MaryKForrest cheering on."
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Richard Engel Says They're in a "Race Against the Clock" to Find a Cure for Son's Rett Syndrome
While the On Assignment with Richard Engel star and his wife couldn't have been happier to welcome Theo into the family, he told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview four months after his younger child's arrival that it will be "difficult" to watch baby Theo pass his big brother with certain developmental milestones.
"We have gained a lot of perspective since Henry has come along," said Engel of his older child, who in 2017 was diagnosed with Rett syndrome, a rare genetic neurological disorder that leads to severe physical and cognitive impairments and, as of now, has no cure.
"We know why there is this differential. And it's going to be hard to watch Theo pass his older brother in terms of capabilities," he told PEOPLE. "That's going to be very difficult for us to see. To see a 1-month-old very soon overcoming his almost-4-year-old brother … that's going to be tough."
"I would think there are certain things he is already doing that Henry doesn't do — the amount of power in his limbs and the control he has with his muscles, even at this tiny age," Engel added. "It's clear they're different. So we are bracing ourselves for the day when this 1-month-old baby is going to do more than our 4-year-old."
Last month, Engel opened up in a candid essay for Today about how Henry is doing amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, admitting that the shake-up in his son's routine has been challenging considering the fact that he "interacts with the world through sight, sound and touch" in normal circumstances.
To help their older child, Engel and Mary "cuddle," "massage," "bathe," "talk to" and "praise" Henry, as well as "shower him with kisses."
"We burn scented candles. I do spa baths, combing his wet hair and giving him a head massage with conditioner," he wrote. "Mary sings to him, sometimes a song she made up about Coco, and works with flash cards to teach him letters, numbers and colors all day long."
And while "it all helps," Henry is "still bored, and his condition seems to be getting worse" — but luckily, the family is able to continue the little boy's therapies at home, with a $100-an-hour private therapist.
"There are risks with having the therapist come, touching and moving Henry, but not doing the therapy has risks too. So we roll the dice, hoping not to hit seven and COVID out," Engel said, acknowledging that they are "lucky" in the sense that "other families can't afford to turn their homes into therapy gyms, and not all community support is strong."
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