The little things.

One thing, of many, that I love about my son is how easy he is to please.

Is he bored with his toys?  Get a large cardboard box.  He will play in and with it until it is no longer identifiably a box but appears to be just a piece of ratty cardboard.

If you want to make his morning?  Take him for a ride on the bus.

If you need something to amuse him so you can do outdoor chores?  Use the hose to make a puddle on the driveway.

Having trouble getting him to eat1?  Sit on the floor with him and call it a picnic.

He doesn’t want to settle down for the night?  Ask him if he wants to sleep on the floor, it will be lights out in no time.

Blow bubbles, get out the vaccum cleaner, convince one of the dogs (but not both at once!) to play “fetch,” pull up a train video on YouTube, lay on the lawn and watch the airplanes…any one of these things will make his face (and my heart) light up with joy.

It really is all about the little things.  It’s taken me an awful long time to learn this and I might not ever have done so without him showing the way.

  1. This is not a common occurence, the boy loves his food, but when he is stressed by visitors it does happen []

Coping skills.

Monkey has developed a coping skill which I find rather amusing.  I may have mentioned it before in regards to Great Grampy but his is expanding on his repetoire.

When Great Grampy addresses Monkey, or makes eye contact, Monkey will immediately point to the sky.  He used to then sign “airplane” but he can now say “plane.”  He would do this every time he saw Great Grampy whether there was an actual plane visible or not1 This has been going on for ages.

This morning I saw him alter his plan.  We met one of our neighbors at the bus stop as we were on our way to school.  She spoke to him a few times and he hid his head shyly behind me.  While we were waiting he decided to sit on the bench a few feet away from me.  When she addressed him again there was no Umma to hide behind so he shouted “Look!” while pointing behind her.  She turned to look but there was nothing of note there so I asked him what we were looking at and he told us “bird.”  When she turned to him again he repeated the whole process again only this time he said “Look!  Truck!”  and there was indeed a truck.  He’s getting so creative in his coping skills. 

Redirecting people’s attention away from himself is a great way to ease his anxiety and now that he’s actually finding things for them to look at it counts as increased social skills in my book 🙂

  1. More often than not there is a plane visible.  Depending on the weather, planes taking off from Logan will fly over the neighborhood and planes waiting to land will be in holding patterns overhead. []

What is this?

Monkey has passed some sort of developmental milestone(s) recently but I’m not sure I can put the changes into words to explain why I’m just so excited and amazed by him these days.

First, there is the language.  He is repeating just about everything we say these days.  Duhdee called him a “punk” for some little prank he pulled this weekend and Monkey immediately piped in “Punk!”  very clearly.  He is saying words we didn’t even know he knew….words that we don’t typically use.  An example…he walked through the dining room this weekend, looked up at the wall and said “clock” as he passed by…it happens at least once a day.  He is very clearly saying “I want …” 

Beyond the words though there is the inflection.  He is putting an appropriate amount of emotion behind his words.  Example, if there is something under the couch he will say “Look under,” and point.  If we are going over the massive bridge into Maine he will shout and gesture.  “LOOOOK!”  He’s also using more appropriate facial expressions.  There was something on the top of the refrigerator that he wanted and he look at me while he was gesturing to it and raised his eyebrows.  If we are asking him yes or no questions he responds appropriately and he puts varying levels of excitement into his voice depending on what we’re asking. 

This morning, while he was eating breakfast, I pointed at each of the photos in the built-in hutch and asked him who or what questions and he answered them all.   He was so engaged that I grabbed a stack of flash cards (that he has refused to even look at for ages) and we went through the entire stack.  He was answering a variety of questions.  Things he didn’t know he would look at me and wait for me to tell him what it was.  If he told me the wrong answer (fox instead of dog)  I would correct him1 and he’d repeat the right answer.  He never once told me all done.  He was ENJOYING himself and smiling.  He looked quite proud of himself.

He is demonstrating his long term memory.  An example, on Saturday he pointed to the top of Duhdee’s desk and signed “Broken.”  I saw that he was pointing toward his Thomas engine and picked it up, Duhdee confirmed that it was broken.  BUT, he has two so I suggested we go look for the other one.  He has two bins of train gear, one with engines and cars and another with track.  I pointed at the one with the engines in it and asked him if it was in there and he told me no.  I, of course, looked anyway and he was right.  I asked him if it was in the other bin and he just watched me and sure enough it was buried under pieces of track.  Another example, in the past, when he had trouble sleeping, I would bring him to the couch with me and we’d set up camp there with pillows and blankets.  It’s been ages since we have done this. This weekend he turned it into a game.  He told me he wanted me to cover him with his blanket but then ran to his room.  I thought he wanted his big Thomas blanket too and he agreed to that.  I grabbed it and left the room expecting him to follow me but he was no where to be seen.  I went back to his room and he was just ready to leave.  He looked at me and said “Pillow, bear.”  He’d stayed to grab the rest of the necessary gear 🙂  I let him lay down on the couch and he told me to lay down.  I laid down and he looked and told me pillow and blanket.  I went to grab mine and joined him.  Then he told me to close the drapes, lol.   The next day he made Duhdee do all the same things.

So this is all really long winded and a lot of it sounds like pretty basic stuff that he’s done in the past but there is something more.  There seems to be an added purpose in his words and actions.  There seems to be more maturity.  I guess maybe you would have to see it2 to fully appreciate it 🙂

Oh, also, this morning when we were discussing the pictures I pointed to one of my wedding photos.  He said “boat,” which was right but I pointed at my back and said “This is Mama.”  He then repeated, clear as day, “Mama.”  It gave me chills, I don’t mind being Umma…but I do love being Mama.  Duhdee has been working on “Mommy” with him too.  I’ll pass out from the cuteness when he gets that one 😉

  1. There was one I didn’t correct, I showed him a picture of a girl and he said “Umma” 😀 []
  2. or be his Mommy []

A poop dialogue.

The scene:  A lovely Memorial Day morning, Umma and Duhdee are sitting at the dining room table planning the week’s menu.  Monkey walks by pulling down his pants.

Umma:  Do you need help buddy? (Gets up to help Monkey sit down on the toilet.)

Monkey:  Dee!

U:  Duhdee, Monkey wants you.

Duhdee:  Do you want a book?

M:  Yes.

D:  Do you want “Brown Bear?”

M:  No!  All DONE! Egg! (points at bum as he is pooping.)

(Umma returns to her seat and listens)

D:  You pooped!

M:  Egg.

D:  You want an egg1?

M:  Yyyyyyessss!

D:  Ok, you can have an egg after you are done.

M:  Water!

D:  Yes, the poop is in the water.

M:  Splash!

D:  Yes, the it went splash in the water.

M:  Egg.  (Toilet is flushed.)

Fin.

  1. He wants a leftover plastic Easter Egg from his basket.  Yes, he still has leftover candy from Easter…Umma the Easter Bunny goes a little nuts with the candy []

A Monkey thwarted is not pretty.

We have a new development at school.  It appears that Monkey is not a fan of taking turns.  The teachers have spoiled him rotten and now they are paying the consequences.

What has happened is that, when Monkey began his language explosion back in December, the staff in the classroom bent over backwards to respond to his every word.  They did all they could to avoid saying no to him.  Whatever word he used, whatever request he made, was honored.  Now that the newness of that has worn off they are now saying no to him or asking him to wait.  He is not impressed. 

He’s just like Umma too, when he’s mad, he cries…he looks absolutely pitiful.  They’re feeling pretty bad about it but he’s just going to have to get used to a classroom that doesn’t revolve around him 😉

Swine Flu

Our school district has had confirmed cases of swine flu for the last week.  Monkey’s school now has confirmed cases of swine flu.  Today, Monkey had diarrhea so the nurse wants him to stay home from school tomorrow.  I do sort of wish he’d had it at home, though I know for a fact Duhdee is thrilled he didn’t have to clean it up, so we could have seen it for ourselves.  Loose stools in FX are common, Monkey has struggled with it in the past…I wonder if the school nurse is aware of that fact.  Probably not, eh?   Duhdee couldn’t tell if he had a temperature because he’d just come in from the playground and the 80+ degree heat.

Ah, well…we’ll watch him for other symptoms.  I know Monkey doesn’t mind starting the long weekend early…let’s just hope he’s not truly sick.

**Edited to add** He seems fine.  We’ll load him up on fiber and hopefully send him back to school next Tuesday with the BM issue resolved.

***Edited again to add*** He is fine.  He’s home with Duhdee playing in the yard.