May 22, 2009

Ladybugs, Little Boys & Language

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I opened the window that morning to sunshine and I knew this was it - spring was finally arriving. The neighbors were emerging, mowing, gardening, watering. Sam and I ventured outside in only t-shirts. We tossed our shoes aside and let the grass tickle our feet as we chased each other and kicked the ball around. A sense of relief washed over me - that relief you don't feel until spring. Knowing that soon, we'll be able to be outside most days and that months of being stuck indoors the majority of the time are coming to an end.

It was a gorgeous day. I watched Sam run around outside, remembering last spring and how much he's changed since then. Amazed by his smile and his words. Last year at this time, Sam wasn't talking at all. Now he tells me he wants to 'play on the grass'. We sat down on it's vibrant green softness and I looked down. One by one, they appeared to me. Ladybugs, crawling up and down the blades, probably feasting on something too small for me to see. I pointed, 'Look Sam!'. I caught one and he stared, tried to touch it. He tried to pick it up with pincher fingers and it fell. I showed him how to hold his finger close to the grass and just wait for the little red bugs to crawl aboard.

I'm not sure how long we sat there, coaxing ladybugs onto our fingers and watching them crawl up our arms. I only know it was the best first day of spring ever.

***

He likes riding in the stroller now. He loves to run around, but there must be something he likes about just being able to sit and take the whole world in. He holds his hand out over the side now, reaching for sings, plants, anything he can run his fingers over. Sometimes, he names the things he sees, and I hear his voice say Mama. Other times, he rides in silence, but I know that his brain is working and I wonder how the world looks through curious little boy eyes.

It's been sunny nearly every day this week and we've been walking to playgrounds and downtown. I get my exercise and Sam gets out of the house. It's wonderful. The days go by faster and with less whining, less TV and more smiles. I love our walks.

***

I shuffle into the bedroom to wake Justin up, and climb up onto our bed. I lie down and we chat, then Sam comes into the room. He has two dolls with him and is walking them down his Daddy's leg. Suddenly, we hear him utter "What the heck?" in his high, 3 year old little voice. We can't stop laughing.

***

Sometimes I tell him things over and over. "Milk" "Milk, please." I say. We go back and forth. I finally give up, and I don't know if he's listening. Then one day, all on his own, he shows me that he is listening and is ready. It starts with the bath, one of his favorite pastimes. He asks and Daddy says no. He asks again, then suddenly, "Dada, bath, pease!". The next day? "Milk, pease.". And from then on, it's the the way things are.

***

When I first started thinking this post up, and after I talked to my Mom about how far behind Sam was I did something dangerous. That's right, I started looking stuff up on the internet. About 3 year olds, and what they should be able to do. What's "normal". I copied and pasted a bunch of information here, but I just deleted all of it. I know that Sam is behind, and we're already doing things about it, so why read all that stuff?

Sam had his 3 year check-up on Monday, and did absolutely amazing. I couldn't tell if he remembered the doctors office or not. They have a fish tank in their waiting room, and he loves to look at the fish. We went back to the exam room, and he did well. He wouldn't stand on the scale, but he got into the baby scale and weighed in at a whopping 30 lbs 11 oz. He's in the 60th percentile for weight, which is great, and in the 25th percentile for height. He's just so skinny, his pants still fall off him, but I guess that's just normal for a three year old! He let the doctor look in his nose and ears, and didn't even whine about the blood pressure taking! The best part though? At the end of the appointment he had to get his 2nd Hep A vaccination and he didn't cry. He whined a little, but not about the shot. Because he was annoyed we'd pulled his pants down. Two seconds later he was happily running towards the waiting room to look at the fishes again. I'd say that it was successful.

The part of the appointment that was hard for me was filling out the ages and stages questionnaire for 36 months. He didn't score so well. He did great on gross motor, but speech, fine motor... not as much. He's definitely behind, and I think he's more behind than I thought. But some of the things on there? He just doesn't do them because we haven't taught him. Things like lining up a certain number of blocks in a row and asking him to do it. Or drawing a straight line and asking him to draw a line in the same direction. I didn't realize I was supposed to be doing these things and took him to the playground instead. Oops. Ha.

In any case, the doctor wants him re-evaluated at the same place we took him last year, so I need to set that up. Then we'll know exactly how far behind he is and what kind of stuff we can be doing to help him catch up. I'm not SUPER concerned about it because he's growing a lot, and he is developing and learning. I just want to make sure he gets caught up by the time he gets to kindergarten. I called the school district about getting him evaluated and they said it's too late and that we have to wait until fall, so we're on a list for them to call in August. I want to get him in to their 3-5 program not only because he'll get speech therapy, but also because it's a free program where he can get some preschool, which would be great since we can't afford regular preschool, and I think he'd really like being around some other kids.

We don't have any plan for summer yet, we'll just have to wait and see. I am not hugely concerned about all this stuff because I know that he's a SMART kid. What he may not have in these areas he makes up in others as far as I'm concerned. He is a very quick learner, and is amazingly happy and full of affection. He's my little boy, and he's truly amazing.

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