Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Little Boy Is Growing Up...

So yesterday Mister Man learned how to use the brakes on his bike. Today, he did a playdate by himself.

As you may or may not know, my son is slightly special needs. He was very delayed in his speech and started speech therapy when he was 17 months old and still made no sounds. We found that part of the reason he didn’t talk was his low muscle tone, which prevented him from supporting himself enough to control his breath to babble and talk.

Today, he still doesn’t have the full strength that most kids his age do, but he’s made leaps and bounds improvements. His speech has no issues at this point, and he no longer gets speech therapy, but his fine motor is somewhat delayed, so he gets OT and PT once a week at his preschool. He’s been making leaps and bounds improvements over the last month and a half though,

One effect of his delayed speech – or potentially something that’s part of his personality that may be an issue his whole life – is that socially he doesn’t quite “get” it. When the two year olds were negotiating and learning how to interact, he was figuring out how to start talking. From that point, he was always a little delayed socially and frequently just had no interest in interacting with other kids.

His preschool has made a world of difference. He started November 1, 2006, and over winter break that year, he asked a friend’s 7 year old daughter if she wanted to play Candyland. He’d never asked someone a question like that before. Over the last year and a half, he’s continued to make progress, but I can still see differences between him and other kids. Mister Man will get too close when talking, he bounces when he’s excited, he walks away while he’s talking to people, and so forth.

We saw a pediatric neurologist in February to help try to rule in or rule out Aspergers for him. At this point, she had no interest in putting any labels on him which relieved my mind. Her point is that many kids who are gifted academically are frequently socially behind and are weak with fine motor skills at this age. Many outgrow it by age 8 or 9, and that’s her hope for him. One of her recommendations is that he should have more playdates to help him socially. (She’s also who suggested looking into kindergarten for him next year, ironically – more to come on that at some point, I promise!)

I know, I know…. Playdates for my kids should be high on my list, but I haven’t been nearly as good at putting them together as I should. Weekends are family time. Monday through Friday, he’s in preschool; the bus picks him up at 8:20 and drops him off at 12:15. Mondays he’s at daycare, and some weeks I have a playgroup with friends (four girls though). Tuesdays, he does Language Stars in the afternoons. Thursdays he has swimming lessons. Wednesdays I’m in the office at work and he’s in daycare. Since he still naps, and so does Little Miss, after naptime, we usually eat dinner and the kids then start getting ready for bed. But I know it needs to be a priority.

Spring break has been perfect though. Monday we had a friend over and then had our playgroup. Tuesday was the Children’s Museum. Today, we had a friend come over in the morning, and he went to a friend’s house after naptime.

It really warmed my heart to watch him today. He played with the boy who came over this morning. They chased each other. They got little cars and drove them all over the floor. They went into the basement together and played. They played trains up in his room. There were no arguments, and I never had to remind him to play with his friend. For all those of you with “normal” kids, you have no idea what this feels like. My boy is making progress!

This afternoon, I took Timothy to another friend’s house, and the mom expected that I was going to leave him there. So I did. (All the kids in Mister Man’s preschool class this year are either already 5 or turning 5 and headed to kindergarten next year, so the moms are more used to this, I guess!) In fact, before I even got out the door, Mister Man and his friend had run upstairs and were off playing.

I felt a little guilty, but I got my car washed and the inside cleaned. I stopped at a couple local businesses to solicit for Mister Man’s preschool fundraiser (if anyone’s near Barrington, I’ll be posting a thank you to all the businesses who donated – please patronize them! And if anyone wants to enter the raffle, tickets will be $1 each, I believe and we have some rocking prizes!). I felt guilty just leaving him there, but when I went to pick him up at 5, he was having a great time! He had colored and cut and played and interacted and the other boy liked him. The other little boy even wanted Mister Man to stay overnight! And they all – including the mom – wanted him to come back again!

Mister Man has started saying things like (names changed) Victor likes me now. Erik wants to play with me. Roger wants to be my friend now. Two months ago, he would be sad because those boys didn’t want to be his friends. I don’t know what it is, but something is finally clicking with him. He gets it! He’s making friends.

And I have a feeling that we have a lot more playdates in our future!


Steph March 27, 2008 at 8:15 AM  

Wow sounds like he has imporved by leaps and bounds! Thanks for sharing, and thank you for stopping by my blog today!

Mabunny March 27, 2008 at 2:27 PM  

Hey there Michelle! Thanks for visiting my blog. Thought I'd pop over here for a quick look at your words of wisdom. ( you know, in between all the laundry piled up to be folded and the dishes in the sink, lol)
Will definitely bookmark this page and come back when I have more time to read.
Keep cehcking back in with me though I will be having a contest soon!

Swishy March 27, 2008 at 3:22 PM  

Ohhhh! That is so great. Very happy and excited for you and your little man!

Michelle March 27, 2008 at 8:01 PM  

Thanks, guys! It is definitely something that makes me smile to see!

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