Monday, February 9, 2009

the smell of drool and other mountains to climb

I realized the other day that I'd been rather subconsciously waiting for SOMETHING to blog about here. And then I remembered that the main point of this blog was to record thoughts and feelings and ideas relating to Carver - everything I don't want to forget. I'm committing to be better at that!

Right now what's on my mind is social interaction. Carver started primary at our church and attends a class for 3 year olds, "sunbeams." The first hour they sit on chairs with lots of other kids, sing songs, listen to a lesson. The next hour is in a little classroom with only his class. This is a HUGE change from the "nursery" he attended before, a 2 hour block with toys and books and snacks. The transition hasn't been easy for us. He wasn't excited to leave nursery, but he likes being with his big sister for the first part, sharing time. And he has lots of friends in his class. His dad sits with him during sharing time and helps him stay on his chair, not run around the classroom, etc... I think the first or second week, he zipped right up the aisle to try and touch the pretend birthday cake on the table in the front of the room. :) Week by week, he's more excited about sunbeams and he likes that Daddy comes with him. He's adjusting.

It's actually much harder for me because I feel like he's outgrowing life as a toddler. He's expected to do more preschooler type activities and his peers are noticing his differences more and more. I've had kids say that he smells bad - either his breath or they say he needs his diaper changed. Now, I'm not losing sleep over what other 3 year olds think - BUT it clues me into what's coming ahead. And honestly, drool smells bad. His shirts sometimes do smell like that. I try and try to get them clean, but we just can't help it. And his peers are all into who's potty-trained and who's not. That's a very normal issue and Carver could care less what the other kids are doing. But someday, some of that is going to sink in.

Last week we went to the park after the bus stop and there were lots of kids from the neighborhood there. Not any truly big kids, everyone was under 10 or so. Carver had the HARDEST time. He couldn't run around and have his space to play on his own, kids kept banging on the metal slide and scaring him (not on purpose) and it was just too much for him. He cried and cried. Sometimes he stopped dead in his tracks and cried. At one point, he came sobbing to me and put his face hard on my shoulder, while I held him and hurt for how frustrated he must be. One of the neighborhood moms asked how old he was. I knew what the underlying question was and told her he was 3, but he has some speech and sensory integration issues. I got an "oh" and then she didn't know what to say, although I could tell it confirmed her suspicions. I don't blame her at all - it's the right kind of question if you want to know what's up with a kid that's not acting his age. But the whole experience left me feeling exhausted and discouraged.

Looking through a different angle, I've seen Carver grow more and more capable of helping around the house. He cleans up his toys better - he especially loves to help rescue all his bath toys as the water goes down the drain. He washes the dishes a little when he plays in the bubbles. The other day he came off the bus holding his little baggie of gum and a chewy tube that he takes to school. He told me, "homework!" He wants to be just like his sisters. That same day when THEY came home, he went running for his backpack to find homework to do with them. I picked up a new alphabet coloring book for him at the store so he has his own homework book. The funny part is that he has very little patience for coloring and table work like that. But the desire to be included is real.

Carver is learning letters - M, O, S, are his best ones. He knows some of the sounds to those and K and T and P. Thanks to the "Letter Factory" for hours and hours of repetition. :) I've been working on counting and wondered if we'd EVER get past 2. Really, he still uses 2 words together MOST often so that makes sense. We've occasionally heard him say "3" and the other day at the park, a QUIET day before the kids came home from school, I was pushing him on the swing and counting each push. He not only said the numbers with me but anticipated a couple of them! WOW! I figured that the movement of the swing was regulating to him, enough to help him get those words out in the right order. It was very cool.

Carver's preschool class has grown and split! He is in with a new teacher, who I've met and really liked. He doesn't mind at all. He's with a friend, Jordan, a little girl that his old teacher told me about. She said that they run around together and are such cute little buddies - pulling on each other's arms to go play. When she first emailed me, she said to ask him about her. I did and his face really did light right up! He said, "snap, snap" like an alligator and I think he was trying to tell me what they played together. I'm so grateful for preschool!

AND Carver has been really growing in his friendship with his little sister, Grace. They play in the bathtub together and get into mischief, too, these days. A couple nights ago after the school science fair, we came in and Grace was super tired and cranky. She sat and cried by the door while I looked for a pacifier. Carver took the one out of his mouth and popped it in hers to calm her down. I LOVE that. He is such a sweet boy!


Alice Wills Gold said...

Someday you are going to notice the advancements he's made in his "Social life" just like you've had with the ones he's made at home...those days will be just as priceless I am sure.

What a sweet kid. And what a gifted mom. God knew that you could do this...don't forget that.

Steve and Hailey said...

I am always so grateful for this blog. I feel like I can better understand what you learn as Carver's mom. I'm so glad that you kept asking the right questions to get Carver help from the right people.

Sometimes I have wondered if it is easier to have one child with special needs when you have three healthy children...nope. I'm sure that doesn't lessen the heartache that you may feel. Yet, the story of Carver sharing his pacifier with Grace shows just the sweetness that is part of Carver too.