The Monster Turns Nine

The Monster, April 2017

Another three-hundred sixty five days… and the Monster’s at his last birthday where he’s single-digits.

I see him every day – it’s hard to see how much really’s changed between last year and this… and then I go back to read last year’s entry and it’s more apparent.

So… since last year, the Monster’s been retained (which isn’t a huge change because he’s in a non-public placement that’s not quite grade-based) and still at the same school he’d been attending.  He’s doing alright academically in terms of his IEP goals, which is what matters most.  I’m seeing improvements in his reading, with sight words creeping back in, and he’s trying now and again harder to sound things out when encouraged.  He does a lot of his homework now semi-independently, with just guidance to keep him on task when it’s literacy-based, and with more overt help when it’s math.

He’s learned, in the last year, to tie his own shoes (though it’s a work in progress).  He’s doing most of the work of dressing and undressing himself, even if he’s not night-time toilet trained yet (we gave up on that for our sanity).  He can brush his own teeth with some encouragement and someone to put the toothpaste on his brush… and he’s moved on to using a plastic knife with some meals to cut his own food.  So on the self-care front, he’s doing alright.

Of course, though, we also lost Sam during the last year.  In the ten months since then, the Monster’s gotten better about trying to be social towards Cassie and… surprisingly, Cassie’s seemed to be willing to go towards it.  The Monster’s gotten in a habit of saying hi to her when she comes to the table at breakfast (to badger me for her own food), and more often than not, she tolerates him petting her a few times, or at least as much as he can tolerate her letting him pet her.

And then there are the surprising moments right at these times.  Last night, while my wife was at the Parents’ Association meeting, we were watching Moana (yes, we’d not seen it yet) and at the first time she tries to get off the island and capsizes… he popped up with unsolicited narrative that she’d fallen in the water.  (We continued with some guided discussion for a bit after that, to see what he related to on the screen, and it settled back to the usual descriptive use of language.)  There’s not a lot that gets a reaction out of him, but when it happens, it’s surprising to see all of what he can do.  Or over the weekend, when we were looking at pictures from a Frederick Keys game we’d gone to a few weeks ago, that he could enunciate with minimal prompts that we’d been at a baseball game and that he and R had gotten candy.

I’ll take the “we played!” outbursts we usually get as an explanation of his day as fair payback for these little steps forward. 🙂

As to what we’ll do for his birthday, I know my wife’s over at his school today for an activity.  We’ll probably have cupcakes later tonight, maybe something tomorrow when his cousin Z is over… and a BBQ in a few weeks.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Keep on truckin’, Monster.  Happy birthday.

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